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Archive for June, 2008

Thursday, June 25

This afternoon at work I joined my coworkers out on our deck to plant flowers, tomatoes, basil, strawberries and squash in two wine barrels.  We’re all pretty psyched about the mini garden.  After, we all went to an open house at a new tasting room in downtown Newberg.  It’s a beautiful spot and it was good to chat with colleagues.  I decided to forgo the wine and appetizers and opted for a glass of water.  I left after fifteen minutes in attempt to make a 6:30 p.m. Vinyassa class at Yoga Pearl. 

I stopped home first to change into my yoga gear and to grab my mat.  But I hit all kinds of crazy traffic.  I arrived at 6:36 and missed the class.  A woman there, eating at the Blossoming Lotus Cafe, which is adjacent to the studio, came over and told me I could possibly make it to Yoga Union, up in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood (up Hawthorne), for the 7:15 p.m. class.  I was on my way.  I rushed into the studio with a kind of energy that I know was scorned by the uber relaxed staff who were chilling out exponentially, and trying to get me to chill out without telling me in a rude tone to chill out.  That’s more a jab at myself, not the staff.  They were all very pleasant.  I got all signed up and was offered a free class, since it was my first one there.  That was very kind! 

Tonight’s 7:15 class was hot yoga – and it was wonderful.  I spent 90 minutes challenging my body and sweating like crazy.  It was a rigorous class and I could feel every muscle benefit, I could feel my breath improving, I could feel all of my body systems benefitting from this incredible workout.  There’s really nothing like yoga – it’s truly a mind, body, soul workout.  I loved this studio, the instructor was kind, funny and for sure a spiritual guide.  I would definitely return soon for another class.

Class was over by 8:45 p.m., and by the time I’d get home to eat dinner that would mean a late digestion.  So, I decided to stop by a Thai/Vietnamese place, and ordered a papaya salad to start, followed by a medium bowl of pho soup.  I was 99% sure I was safe from gluten contamination.  The papaya salad was really good, I only ate a small helping.  I figured I’d take the leftovers home for lunch.  The pho was okay, not quite as good as a Vietnamese only restaurant.  Still, it hit the spot.

On my way out, a homeless guy who had been loitering outside of the restaurant had asked me if I had any leftovers, which I obviously did, as I was holding the box on my way out.  My compassion brimmed and I handed him the box that was filled with my leftover papaya salad.  I got into my car and as I turned back onto Hawthorne, I noticed the guy tossed the leftover papaya salad into the trash.  I was pissed.  I love papaya salad and would have been super happy to have it for lunch.  But, I wanted to do the right thing and offer it to someone who seemed to need it more that I did.  The guy was ungrateful for my charity.  When do beggars become choosers?  Okay, this guy was hungry and I gave him food and it wasn’t good enough?  I’m sorry that it wasn’t chicken chow mein or beef rangoon, but give me a flippin’ break.  It was free food!  And healthy.  And delicious!  This was my first experience with an ungrateful homeless person.  And it made me more sad than angry.  I couldn’t believe this dude wasted the food and threw it away!!  Seriously??

When I got home I had to rinse off.  I sweat profusely at yoga.  I stared off by using my dry skin brush to detoxify and stimulate the lymph system.  This removes dead skin cells and promote’s the skin’s process of excreting toxins through the skin.  It’s recommended to do it immediately before showering or bathing, starting with the feet and working up the body towards the heart.

I took a refreshing shower with a refreshing ginger salt scrub by Origins followed by a rosemary-mint shower gel on a loofah.  I love Origins and Aveda, and I am on this serious kick to put only natural products on my hair and skin that I could eat – I mean, why would you put chemicals on your body that absorb? 

While I cleansed my skin, I reflected on why I loved yoga so much, how it makes you slow down and focus on breath and your body.  After I towel dried off, my skin was baby smooth.  The toxins had been released from yoga and dry brushing, while the dead skin had been sloughed off. 

I put on some loose, organic cotton pajama pants with a tank top, and went downstairs to drink more water, a cup of Yogi chamomile tea, and I truly felt cleared, balanced and happy.

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Wednesday, June 24

This morning I headed over to the Hyundai dealership in Hillsboro to get my car serviced.  I was about 300 miles overdue for an oil change.  The service team gauged my tires (to help with better gas mileage), checked my lights, filters, breaks, etc.  Oh, and for good measure they put my Oregon plates on!  I had been driving around for about a month with my ‘new’ plates on my back seat.  I didn’t have a Phillips screwdriver the right size for the plates.  They also washed Goldie Hawn, the name I gave my little SUV when I bought her.  

I am very impressed with the level of service I get at the Hyundai dealership.  My regular oil changes and service is free of charge.  I do pay for special service at certain miles, but this is actually excellent maintenance and makes me feel assured about the safety of my little SUV.

After work, I finally got to the gym!  I was desperately needing to work out!  The previous few days of Pinot Camp basically killed my regimen.  I ran on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  It felt great to stretch my legs and get a good sweat.

After, I stretched and walked home.  I made a vegetarian taco salad for dinner, my latest favorite dinner to make.  While I ate, I watched Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette online.  I realize that it’s kind of lame that I like this show – I just find it entertaining and curious, like an anthropological study.  But I am also a romantic.  And I think, to some extent, many single women live vicariously through the brave bachelorette, DeAnna, who actually has a nice male harem to get to know. 

I admire her determination to find love.  Sure, the show is unconventional.  But, to the program’s credit, it’s the women as bachelorettes who actually have enduring relationships over the men who sign up for The Bachelor.  DeAnna is intent on finding a good man to spend the rest of her life with, and her odds are pretty good, mainly because she has made it clear as day what she wants and needs.  Her experience, in many ways, is good for many women to consider, not actually going on television in search of love, but, rather, she had her heart broken in front of millions and it’s pretty terrible that she laid her heart out on a platter for a man who, in the end, sent the platter back.  I have a feeling she’s going to have a very different experience this time around.  She seemed to have done a good job of weeding out the guys who could potentially hurt her in this round of love, further adding to her success potential.  I sincerely hope she finds love and ends up with her happily ever after.  In our cynical world, I think we need our happy endings more than ever.

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Tuesday, June 23

Once again, I slept in a little.  I worked about 12 hours yesterday.  I haven’t been having trouble with sleeping in awhile, which has wonderful.  And I haven’t been congested in over two weeks – which has been amazing.  Life changing, really.  I don’t want to jinx myself!  I wondered if, perhaps, the last cold I had did something to my nasal passages or sinuses that blew them open and cleared them.  Had I been mysteriously healed?  Or, did this have anything to do with my Celiac disease and immune system getting stronger?

I recently went to a naturopath and found out that my vitamin levels have been really off because of mal-absorption, which was an indicator that I haven’t been gluten free, hence I’m not able to absorb nutrients from my diet.  This would explain my swelling and swings in anxiety and depression – which, while it hasn’t been crushing, it had been scratching just below the surface for me.  Anyway.  Vitamin shots were the way to go.  I’m now taking special vitamin supplements to balance my diet.  And I was already feeling much better just days later.

I definitely got gluten contamination this week, though.  I started taking my GlutenEase supplements, which did not shield from the dangers of gluten contamination, but helped to ease the severity of symptoms.  Plus, I had been drinking Yogi Stomach Ease tea.  That, and a lot of glasses of water, were flushing me out.

Which seems all good and great, except for the fact that I blew it again this evening.  We had the final Oregon Pinot Camp event at a vineyard in Cornelius, near Hillsboro, an amazing site with gorgeous views of the Cascade peaks.  A few chefs from Portland were cooking up some amazing courses on a grill.  I took a bite into the first course without even thinking.  There was barley.  I almost spit and coughed up the barley that got into my mouth, but instead I swallowed it, knowing I was going to get very sick.  I asked the chefs if they could make me gluten free versions, and they were able to accommodate me.  Still, I forked a mouthful of barley like an idiot.  This is my problem.  I sometimes blank on my disease and recklessly eat.
 

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Monday, June 23

I slept in a little since I had a long day and late night of work on Saturday, and then a really early work day on Sunday.  I was pretty tired.  When I got to work I scrambled to meet some deadlines on a handful of projects in my queue.  We ordered Thai food for lunch and, unfortunately, I ordered and ate a stirfry with basil, peppers, onions and a brown sauce that was undoubtedly made with soy sauce.  I didn’t think about it while I was eating it.  I was starving.  It wasn’t until after I ate, that it dawned on me I had just ingested gluten.

After lunch I drove up to a winery in the Dundee Hills and helped the Oregon Pinot Camp staff set tables for the traditional salmon bake dinner.  It was fun – I sang show tunes with one of the staffers, including “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from My Fair Lady.  We goofed off while beautifying the tables.  We put out the table cloths, the napkins and silverware, the glassware and the flowers.  Again, I love setting dinner tables and making them lovely.  After two hours, though, I had to go.

I dashed off to downtown McMinnville, on historic and quaint 3rd Street.  I went into a Cowgirls shop looking for a sweater to wear that evening.  I knew it would get cold and I left my jacket at home.  I saw some cool cowgirl boots, but nothing that would work for that evening.  So, I went into one of my favorite boutiques, Mes Amis.  There, I found a nice three-quarters sleeved white shirt, a colorful turquoise and pink Pucci-esque scarf and an adorable white jacket that would work perfectly with my sear sucker pants.    The owner, Naomi, was super accomodating.  She allowed me to get ready in her shop.  I brought in my sear sucker pants, put on a pair of heeled sandals, the new white shirt and scarf, and then I put on my straw cowgirl hat (see photo below).

I met the Gold bus at the Red Lion in McMinnville and we headed for the dinner location in Dundee.  When we arrived, we went to the wine tasting first.  It was nice to catch up with industry friends, to taste through some interesting wines and to interact with campers.  I spent a good amount of time with a nice fellow who works at one of my favorite wine shops in Shirlington, Virginia, called the Curious Grape.  It was cool to hang out with folks from my hometown.  I also ran into an old acquaintence who I had come to know when I worked at Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia. 

After the tasting, I headed over to tent for dinner.  I sat at a table with a handful of industry friends and a few campers.   We had a tasty dinner of salmon and lite salads and sides.  Gorgeous Pinot Noirs were flowing.  It was a lovely evening.

 

I got better acquainted with a couple of industry folks that I hadn’t known super well prior to OPC – which was really nice.  And then there was the fire pit with S’mores.  I just toasted a couple of marshmallows with a small piece of Hershey’s chocolate.  Before long, we loaded the campers on the bus and headed back to the hotels.

After, several people went to Lumpy’s Landing, the infamous dive bar in Dundee.  I played a few rounds of pool with some friends, including a cool sales rep I got to know when I went to Colorado in November.  I left relatively early, as I was exhausted.  It was a long day and I was already reeking of cigarette smoke from the bar. 

Irrespective of the tar and smoke stench in my hair and on my clothes, I was feeling pretty good.  In fact, all the while home I was smiling.  I knew it was going to be a good summer.

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Sunday, June 22

Oh, it was a painful morning!  There’s nothing more annoying than knowing you have to get up really early in the morning and then tossing and turning and waking up at alternate hours in a subconscious fear for missing the alarm or something.  No matter.  I got up with the alarm and dressed for my day as a bus camp counselor.  I dressed in a purple shirt because I was the counselor for the purple bus.  The bus wasn’t really purple, in fact, it was a school bus.  But the inside was decorated with purple streamers, mardi gras beads and we gave everyone a purple lei to wear.  I had a really great co-counselor, an assistant winemaker from another winery, to share the day with.  She was a very cool partner.

We left the Best Western in Newberg and headed for the Evergreen Aviation museum in McMinnville.  Our bus was the last to arrive, as we had a couple of stragglers.  After a welcome breakfast, introductions of winery principals, and a DVD viewing of the history of the wine industry, we boarded our buses and ours headed to a winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.  On the way, I led the bus in coming up with a chant that would be theirs for the remainder of camp.  Half the bus yelled “purple” while the other half followed with “grrrrrrrapes” (like Tony the Tiger’s “they’re grrrrrreat!”).  It was pretty funny.  One fellow from Louisiana really got into it!

We arrived at the first winery for a seminar on cool climate white wines.  The panel included our winemaker.  It was very engaging.  After the seminar, we had lunch.  It was a pleasant day, the overcast clouds were starting to clear for an afternoon sunbreak.

We went to a winery in the Dundee Hills AVA next.  Two other buses were already there and my bus pulled down the windows and, making their counselors proud, chanted “purple grapes” three times in a row.  Yes, we made an entrance!  Throughout the day we have a lively rivalry with the green bus.

The three-part seminars were really engaging.  Our vineyard manager had dug a soil pit for everyone to look into and experience the terroir of the Dundee Hills.  It was amazing.  The day was gorgeous at this point, sunny, warm and clear.

We loaded the bus one last time and returned to the Best Western.  I was happy to head home.  I changed and ran over to Bridgeport Village to pick up some Aveda hair products at Dosha Salon.  I then went to Tualatin to the driving range to use a coupon for a free medium bucket of balls.  It wasn’t my best day, as I was really tired.  But I had a few great tee shots with my 3 wood – I sent a few balls at least 275 yards.  After, I went to Safeway to pick up some fresh fruit, and stuff to make a vegetarian taco salad. 

I was really relaxed but very tired.  I thought about the dream I had a few nights ago, the one where my grandmother had visited me.  And I thought about the nature of dreams.  I have a dream dictionary that I used to pull out when I woke up fresh from very memorable dreams.  I had this tendency to believe our dreams were not random at all, but were filled with symbolism and messages that we would otherwise block out in our state of consiousness.  In a strange way, this was comforting to me.  I wanted to find comfort in my recent dream with my grandmother, including her advice to allow myself to fall in love with my ex from Paris, France.  A part of me was nostalgic for a relationship that seemed to have been plucked right from a novel or movie script.  It was complicated, it was crazy and it was so unreal.  I thought about the serendipity of reconnecting on Facebook.  He seemed still amorous.  But the reality is that I didn’t see a life for us, I never did.  He belonged in Paris and I belong here.  Perhaps the significance wasn’t about who my grandmother suggested I love.  That was just too weird, anyway.   But, rather, it could be that my dream was my subconscience’s way of telling me I’m ready and open to love again.  And that would seem more like the message my grandmother would bestow on me.

The more I thought about this, the more it made sense.  I am really happy.  I love my life.  And I am ready to share it with someone great.  Which makes me excited, hopeful and optimistic.

I listen to my friends worry about not finding love, about the lack of single men in this town.  And, I’m just not there.  I am pretty relaxed and confident about my situation.  It’s all about being ready and open, and timing.  I suspect my friends have some things to learn and figure out, still, to land in their own happy places.  While I have ranted on dating and men at times in this blog, it’s often to explore the dynamics of singles and potential mates.  And I often find humor in the little things that often seem like big differences.  But, obviously, there’s a heck of a lot more to love than sorting out the good and bad behaviors of the opposite sex! 

Anyway.  I’ve gained some clarity about what I want.  I mean, what I really want.  And I can’t believe it’s been taken me so long to figure it all out.  I’ve actually known all along what I want.  Such is my journey, to take me full circle.  But I’m not going to reveal it all here right now.  I still have eighty days to find love in all of its manifestations – love as it’s intended for me.  Whether its in my work, with my friends, with my cats, family, art, books, food, gluten-free journey, myself and even a sweetheart – love is blooming all around me every day.  It is my work to identify it in every detail of my being, to slow down for once and to pay better attention, and to recognize the blessings in the most difficult things in my life.  It’s love illuminated.

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Saturday, June 21

I woke up and had very little time to myself, but I made the most of my morning for that reason.  I had to run some errands to pick up a few things for our dinner at the winery, kicking off Oregon Pinot Camp for the trade.  Oregon Pinot Camp, or OPC, is my favorite wine industry event for sentimental reasons – I came to Oregon for the first time as an OPC class of ’04 camper.  It was then, about two hours into getting acquainted with beautiful Oregon, that I knew I had found my home.  I felt, for the first time, that I had found the place where I was meant to be.  It was overwhelming, but also so affirming.

Anyway, for this evening my role was to set things up – put the tables together, the flower arrangements, get the wines ready – I had a lot of work to do.  I needed to pick up a few things before I could make everything pretty.  I went to Target and picked up unscented white pillar candles,  and I found some beautiful Smith & Hawken decorative smooth stones and gems for vases and hurricane lanterns.  I went to Fred Myer and picked out two bunches of flowers that I would turn into arrangements and then a bunch of green leafy planted herbs that were beautiful and not too fragrant to distract.  I found two lovely round glass vases to place pieces of the greenery, which would look like bonsais.  The vases matched the Crate & Barrel hurricane lamps I picked up a couple of weeks ago and I would place the pillar candles set in the stone and gem decorations. 

I really love making flower arrangments and decorating tables.  There’s something very therapeutic in that kind of work.  And I love creative work.  My boss joked with me and asked if I learned that at Sweet Briar.  I explained that I learned that from my mother.  Her holiday decorations and arrangements, in particular, make Martha Stewart look like she needs some creativity!

 

When I got to the winery and put it all together, it looked really beautiful.  My co-workers were upstairs in the kitchen cooking dinner with our boss.  They prepared an impressive dinner for our guests.

It was a wonderful evening, but lots of work.  I juggled networking with helping out as needed and then cleaning up.  I found out mid-evening that a camp counselor had cancelled at the last minute and I was asked to step in, since I had three years experience as a counselor.  But, that meant getting up really early and arriving at the Best Western in Newberg at 7:45 a.m.  And I didn’t leave the winery this evening until 11:30ish. 

I was in a time warp.  It was Saturday heading into Sunday and it felt like a Wednesday.  But I was happy that it was OPC time.  I was thrilled that the weather had been cooperating.  And I was excited for camp duties.

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Friday, June 20

I started the day at work with an Under $20 Pinot noir staff tasting.  We tasted through 3 flights of Pinots from Oregon in that price point.  We do staff tastings every month or so as a group, which is a great way to keep the palate strong, keep the thumb on the pulse of certain wine categories, etc.   But, it was kind of early to evaluate wine at 9:00 a.m., at least for me.  I am already not a morning person.  But, it’s not usual that we’d meet so early to taste through wine flights – it was a reschedule.

Anyway.  After work I joined two co-workers at Mazatlan Mexican restaurant in Tigard to meet a former co-worker.  It was nice to catch up and to hang out with this group. 

I got home and did some strength training, to include 250 crunches, leg lifts,  push ups and other hand weight and ankle weight exercises.  I’ve been feeling like I haven’t been getting intense workouts.  I go in phases.

Anyway.  I haven’t been feeling great.  I have been bloated again.  My legs and arms feel swollen.  My stomach has been grumbly, not terribly achey, but there’s been discomfort.  My energy has been low again.  I’m worried that I haven’t been cautious enough with my gluten-free diet.  It’s a constant issue for me. 

My friend Carolyn met me at the office, randomly, today and we ran over to Golden Leaf Thai for lunch.  We stopped by a couple of lunch options, but had to leave because there weren’t gluten-free options.  I felt like such a pain, and it was one of those classic living gluten-free moments when I  was the ‘difficult’ luncher.  We agreed on Thai, and I ordered a shrimp salad, which was totally safe. 

But, when I went to Mazatlan this evening with my co-workers, I took a gamble.  I ordered shrimp again with onions, mushrooms, garlic and a sauce that was questionable.  It very well could have had gluten.  But my worry wasn’t just about dinner tonight.  I have had a few questionable bites throughout the week.  The dead give-away is my swollen stomach.  It’s so bizarre.  That and my exhaustion.  Like today, at 4:00 p.m. I felt like I had hit a wall.  I wanted to put my head down and take a nap.

When I got home this evening, I flipped through Shauna James Ahern’s book Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found The Food That Loves Me Back…& How You Can Too.  I re-read the part when she was finally diagnosed with Celiac.  And I’m quoting an informative paragraph without permission:

“Celiac disease is still a bit of a mystery.  Why do some people develop it as infants, upon their first feeding of wheat, and others have a sudden, acute onset as adults?  Scientists are not entirely sure.  Those of us who have celiac disease are genetically disposed to it, but we are not born with active celiac disease.  Some scientists are now theorizing that it may be a viral infection of the gastro-intestinal system that causes celiac disease to awaken in the body. … It is clear that a trauma to the body of some sort – injury, miscarriage, or even stress – can trigger the body into full-blown celiac disease.”

It makes me think about my own diagnosis, when I learned about having Celiac and how I cut out gluten and dairy for two months until my gut healed again.  I had lesions on my small intestine from my immune system attacking all the pre-gluten-free contamination.  AFter cutting both gluten and dairy out of my diet, well, that’s the best I had felt in years!

I eventually re-introduced dairy back into my diet and I’m not convinced it’s been a good decision.  I love cheese, ice cream, yogurt – dairy.  But I’m not sure my gut does.

I am pretty sure I have had smaller episodes from my pre-disposition for Celiac as a youth, teen and even during college.  I used to get sore throats a lot, strep, ear aches, bronchitis.  I always felt really sick after drinking one beer or drinks with vodka, gin, etc.  I had heart palpitations in college, mostly from stress and anxiety.  I didn’t know what was going on.

It wasn’t until I moved to Oregon, though, that my symptoms came on full force and I started swelling up.  In fact, the move was so stressful that I felt intense anxiety while I was packing up my things.  While I was excited for my move and new life, I was terrified, anxious, and stressed out of my mind.  I had never been so far from my family.  I went on a business trip to California right after I moved out here and I was so swollen that I didn’t feel right putting on my bikini when I went to the pool.  I have never had an issue with my figure.  I have always been athletic and toned.  I had self esteem about my body image.  But, something was very wrong.  I wasn’t fat, but I was extremely bloated and swollen.  I was totally self conscious of it.  It made me insecure and intensified my depression.

Also, a year later, when my ex-boyfriend and I broke up following the second chapter in our relationship, I was devastated.  My symptoms went absolutely crazy.  I would say that since I moved to Dundee, Oregon back in October 2004 I was dealing with regular bouts of IBS, headaches, anxiety, unexplained bouts of crying, depression – beyond the usual heartbreak.  I felt pretty bad.  And that’s when my congestion really started coming on.  I thought it was allergies, but twice I tested negative for allergic reaction.  My immune system has been out of wack for years now because of an autoimmune disease, beacuse of Celiac.

Every day I learn more about my disease and how it has affected me before and after diagnosis.  I am constantly learning about how Celiac challenged my well being.  And I am not 100% better yet.  I am still trying to manage this diet without getting depressed.  It’s an isolated world, living with Celiac.  I constantly feel awkward when I eat out with friends and often make mistakes with my diet because I get tired of dealing with it.  Which is bad!

Since I started swelling again, I’ve decided I need to try harder with my diet.  I’m tired of not feeling great, and I have no energy.  And I have to accept that missing out on certain foods I love isn’t as bad as feeling my myriad of symptoms that range from uncomfortable to unbearable.  If that’s not reason enough to get more disciplined, I don’t know what is!

 

 

 

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