gremlins, itchies & glutenfree


Actually, only one gremlin. I have been dealing with stomach issues for almost two years. I get this pain in my left side, up near my ribs. At first, I thought it was an ulcer because spicy food caused me immediate pain. It wasn’t an ulcer. After a year of dealing with this pain, I finally went to a GI doc. My GP put me on an acid controller but that didn’t really do anything.

The GI put me through every test he had: colonoscopy, endocscopy, CT scans, ultrasounds, stomach emptying scans, blood tests and maybe more. The results: nothing, nada. No physical reason for these pains I continue to experience.  Yes, this is great news! I don’t have any craziness going on internally – no cancer or tumors or damage. For this I am thankful. However, one year (of doctors and tests) later and I still have no answers.

Since I don’t have a name for what is going on in my stomach, I call it my gremlin. When I get pangs of pain I say, “my gremlin is pissed off” or something similar.  My gremlin has been a thorn in my side for well over two years. Sometimes, the gremlin is accompanied with bloating and gas and cramps but there is almost always a bruise-like feeling in my upper left stomach quadrant.

Its not the cute fuzzy gremlin, its the gremlin after a midnight feeding.


Because having my very own gremlin isn’t enough, I decided to get itchy. All over itchy. At first I just thought I had a bad case of dry skin, of season changed dry skin. I have used the same laundry soap, shampoo & conditioner, and body wash for years so I know its not that causing itching. I don’t use a lot of lotions or perfumes and the ones I use are very mellow.  I’ve seen my doctor and now I am seeing an allergist.

Guess what?!?

Once again, all the tests come back negative. However, I react as soon as I am touched with the allergy test pin. My skin is so irritated. I will spare you the pictures because it is just icky. My lower leg/ankles are tore up like I walked through a field of chiggers except I didn’t. I will spare you any more details but let’s just say I itch everywhere. All the time.

And it is so not sexy to itch all the time. Itching so much has definitely messed with my head and I often feel like I am going crazy. It is hard to be on your game when you itch all the time. I have gained a lot of weight back in the last three years (ankle/knee injury, surgery, recovery, gremlins & itchies).

Gluten Free

As a last ditch effort to hopefully heal my gremlin and itchies, I have decided to try a gluten free experiment.  I have already tried eliminating nightshades and other major allergens, all to no relief. I have held off on gluten free because it just seems so trendy. I did complete a round of Whole30 but I just could not sustain that for longer than 30 days. I did that for weightloss and not health reasons.

I am hoping, this is GF experiment is different. I am only focused on feeling better and I am not going to be restricting anything other than gluten.

I am seeking health.  I don’t want stomach issues or itchies anymore. Please let this help.

I will be using to track my food but weight loss is not my focus. I set my calories pretty high after research pointed me in that direction. To heal a gut, the body needs plenty of calories not to be restricted. I am only focusing on gluten free. I am not going to go crazy and buy all sorts of GF flours but rather, I am going to keep food as simple as possible. Produce and meats, rice and the occasional sweet. My coffee will remain GF as its been all along (who knew?!?) with creamer & splenda.

I figure this is an experiment so I will ease into it. For right now, I am keeping it simple but as the weeks progress I may need a bread alternative. Or I may cut back on sugar or sweets or potatoes or beans…whatever. I am not planning that far ahead. I have created a board on Pinterest and since I love cooking, I am going to make this experiment as fun  and sustainable as possible.

So this is where I have been. I hid a lot of this from the world. I didn’t want to admit to myself what problem this actually been. I’m out now. I’m ready to find a happy place,


I had the absolute, most fantastic weekend. My beastie (yes, beastie. I call my bestie my beastie because its funny. My cellphone always changed bestie to beastie; we both found it amusing so it stuck.) hopped on the train to visit me for a sleepover. A grown up sleepover.

I can’t even tell you just how good for my soul it was to spend 26ish hours with Heather. We talked, we laughed, we drank beer, we yoga-ed, we walked, and we ate bagels. We may have been short on time but we made the most of it.

Sunday morning I took Heather to the best bagel shop and then to my favorite park. We sat in t he car eating our bagels and then set off for walking the trails. Along the way we stopped a few times at perfect yoga spots. I think we stopped in three separate spots for yoga: once with a still lake in the backdrop, once on a concrete slab in the middle of the woods (the park at one time a long time ago was a brick factory) and once inside the covered bridge.

I may need to start more Sundays just like this.


I have been struggling as of late.  uncofThe itchies and my gremlin have left me miserable. I am itchy all the time. My stomach gremlin gets all pissy and screams frequently. I have been an inflamed mess. I’ve gained a bunch of weight, I am tired most of the time, and I am just uncomfortable in my skin.

But walking in the woods at my favorite park with my beastie, yoga-ing with my beastie, enjoying nature’s beauty with my beastie….all good for my soul. I walked out of the woods feeling renewed, jazzed and relaxed, energized and peaceful. All at the same time.

I have been neglecting my yoga practice. I guess when I started feeling really terrible, it started to become hard to focus on my body and how it feels during yoga. It was easier to neglect my yoga and ignore my body. This weekend, I remembered just why I need yoga in my life. I wish I could have my beastie with me every day so we could practice yoga together often but that is not likely to happen. Hopefully, our yoga on the woods adventure was enough to hold me over.  It certainly was enough to revive my love, to push back some of the negativity that has been holding me back and to entice me back to my yoga.

I leave you, and myself, with this beautiful image. A reminder to seek beauty and to seek your own way. I will come back  to this place when I am in need of a dose of rejuvenation.


Crying at yin

Last night I went back to yin yoga. I took a two week break after my car accident. The first week after the car accident, I wasn’t up for class and the second week it was just very difficult juggling my doctors appointments, Q’s physical therapy, work and school with one vehicle. And to be honest, after my accident I was not comfortable driving the truck. I drive a little Hyundai that could probably fit in the bed of my husband’s pickup truck.
Back to last night…
I was late leaving school. It happens sometimes but yesterday, it made me a bit edgy. Feeling jumpy, I thought maybe a hot shower would release some stress and it did its job. For a short period of time. As the clock drew closer to 5pm or the time I should be ready to walk out of my house, I could feel nerves starting to jump again.
I didn’t really want to go to yoga. I didn’t want to drive back over to Ventnor. More, I didn’t want to drive home from Ventnor where three weeks prior I had my car accident.
I got in the car and drove to class more white knuckled than I’d like to admit. I drove slow and I left my house late so I arrived at class 5 minutes late. I forced myself out of my car, into the building, up the stair and into the classroom. I found a nice spot in the back corner and I quickly set up my mat. I almost did not go into class. I almost chickened out.


One of the first poses of the evening was cow face pose. I tried to get into this pose and realized it was not gonna happen. I tried to fond a comfortable modification but I could not. I felt defeated and broken and fat. My body was not comfortable, my head was not comfortable, and my soul was not comfortable. Sometime during this pose, I felt tears burning my eyes. We switched sides, then added the arms, and by the second side arms, I was full blown crying and trying to not blubber and snot all over myself. We moved on to different poses but I never found my happy place. That place where my brain turns off and I feel the release of the pose. If you have never tried yin yoga, you melt into and stay in the poses for 3-5 minutes.
Letting go is big part of yin. I was so uptight throughout my yin class. At one point I actually checked my watch to see how much time was left in class. and blissfully, as if the teacher read my mind, we moved into heart lung bench pose. This is one of my favorite yin poses. And it was a precursor to corpse or svasana aka the end.
I’ve loved yin from the very first class over a year ago. Last night’s class was difficult and emotional. My body didn’t want to move into or stay in the poses. My neck, shoulders and lower back  have not been happy happy nice my car accident but I didn’t know just how much that bothered me until last night. Driving home, I kept thinking I should just quit yoga. My body is not designed for yoga. I can’t do it, I can’t do it right so why bother.
I’m no good at yoga.
My body is no good.
My mind swirled with these thoughts. I thought I would think about it all night long. But I walked into my house to the smell of dinner and my husband and daughter sitting at the table waiting for me. They make it easy to forget the touch stuff.
But only for so long.
Not long after dinner, I was feeling very emotional. Then came the headache and neck pain. I took some advil and iced my neck but the pressure never really released. This upset me because it was just one more sign if my body hating me. Yep, that’s where my head was last night.
Today, I’m feeling a bit more rational but not a whole lot less emotional. I hoped journaling this out would make me feel better. It did but I’m still not sure what to do. I’m going to sit with the emotions for a while.


February walking with Jost

This post should have been written and posted last week but I was in a car accident last week and that threw a big monkey wrench into my plans.  {This post is NOT about my car accident or anything that happened after …that is its own blog post} This post is about my monthly walking goals and my JostRunning commitment.



I started out February with the goal of walking the equivalent of all four races for a total of 48.6 miles. February’s weather was crazy and we wound up with a lot more snow here than we have had for a bunch of years. The smallest bit of snow shuts down everything around here. Added to that, February brought a few opportunities to earn some extra money by teaching a student at his house a few days a week. I jumped on the chance to make extra money.

I did not budget my time very wisely and I realized I was not getting enough miles in each day/week. By the middle of the second week in February I realized I was not going to meet my mileage goal. In the past, this would have caused a complete shutdown and I wouldn’t even try to get more miles. This time I did it differently. When I realized I wasn’t going to hit my goal, I stepped back and evaluated what I could do. I decided I could walk the equivalent of one 5K, one 10K, and one half marathon.

22.4 miles

I walked inside and outside. Yep, I managed to get two lovely walks outside in February.

JostRunning has given me an incredible opportunity. Blogging for JR has helped me get back into a rhythm with exercise. This experience with Jost has revived my love for walking as exercise, walking as meditation and walking as therapy. I am looking forward to warmer months so I can take my walks outside more often, not that I don’t love my indoor walking.

The last 3 months with Jost have been AMAZING!! I am back to walking with more regularity than I have in the past year. I have a few kinks to work out since I was in a car accident but at least I found my walking mojo before that happened!

It’s March and I think I am blogging one final month for Jost. They have a new website…go check it out at JostRunning. Anywho, I will use this month to focus on making sure my mind and body are right after the accident. I will keep you posted!!





disclaimer: JostRunning has  waived registration fees and provided me with free medals in exchange for a blog of my experiences. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are all mine. 

march goaling




I have a love/hate relationship with goals. I set them and then seem to sabotage myself. I don’t set goals saying I will wing it….and I sabotage myself. Last night I sat in my chair with a blank notepad and a sharpie pen. I wrote down what I want to do with this month. I want to walk more, yoga more, strength train more, blog more. I want less stress and less harshness….mostly the stress and harshness I bring on myself. I want less of the ALL or Nothing that I am usually so good with doing.

Last night I sat with my notepad and my pen and wrote out the thing I want to accomplish this month. And since yesterday was a snow day and the weekend was a bust, I am stating my moth for goal setting purposes starts March 4th and ends March 30th. This is a total of 28 days.

In these 28 days, I want and will do:

  • daily yoga pose – I have chosen a super easy pose but one that will allow me to sit in the pose and do some daily soul-searching or meditation. I have chosen Reclined Bound Angle pose and I will do this every day, either first thing in the morning or before bed on days I don’t do any other yoga practice. Oh yeah, there will probably be no pictures of this…it isn’t about seeding a difference after 28 days, it IS about feeling a difference.
  • sign up for and attend YIN yoga every week. As a birthday gift from my homegirls, Heather and Deb, I am signing up for an 8-week YIN yoga class
  • Attend ONE free yoga class at the Hindu temple
  • #walkathome for a total of 25 miles
  • walk outside (or on treadmill if weather sucks) for a total of 21+ miles (or 3 5Ks, and one 10K)
  • Get Stronger – I recently purchased a book called “100 No-Equipment Workouts” and you guessed it, there are 100 different workouts. To get stronger, I will do a minimum of 12 NEWs (No-Equipment Workouts)
  • Food Journal - no calorie counting, no guilt, just a log of what I am eating. It is time to seriously find out how my belly reacts to foods and to also figure out what is going on with my itchies and my gremlin.
  • 10K Steps per day. I am human and while I want to get to 10K every day, life does happen. These goals are not about perfection. These goals are about progress so I am aiming for 21/28 days with 10K steps.
  • Enbrace #wycwyc – let go of guilt and let go of perfection. Add in movement where and when I can. Bring down my kettlebell. Add in pushups, squats, pullups, planks, bridges, KB swings whenever possible. I want to make #wycwyc a habit…a random habit, but a habit nonetheless.
  • Blog ~ I think 8 blog posts in 28 days is a reasonable goal.
  • Do one active activity each weekend day. This active activity does not need to be exercise for exercise sake (but that would count) but activity for the sake of getting off my ass and doing something, anything!
  • Practice my new ukulele. My daughter gifted me a ukulele for my birthday and I want to learn to play the dern thing.
  • LOOP GOAL – I wear my loop every day but I don’t hit goal nearly enough. I am aiming for 14/28 days at GOAL.
  • Each of the above bullets correspond with a point earned towards my big Rummy points goal.

So there are some goals for the next 28 days. I need to get off my tushy, stop typing and go get moving! It’s time for some walking!!

FMM on Friday


I am not consistent in blogging the “right” post on the “right”day. I never remember to do the Monday one on Monday.  I say I’ll get to it next week but that rarely happens.  Kenlie’s Friend Makin’ Monday is one I wish I made more of a consistent effort to participate. Oh, I’ve done a few but never with much regularity. I happened to catch on that my girl Sarah was taking over for Kenlie and this week was her first post. Even though its Friday and obviously not Monday, I am jumping in with my girls.


1. Introduce yourself in under 10 words. mother, wife, teacher, student, reader, sensitive, hugger, oversharer, lover, sorta-crazy

2. How did you find Friend Makin Mondays? I’ve been friends with Kenlie for a long time. We shared our first hug at Fitbloggin many moons ago.  When I specifically found FMM, I am not exactly sure. I don’t always participate but I do read.

3. Have you ever met any of your blog readers? I have met a ton of bloggy friends. I am not sure if we met before or after we followed each other through our blogs. I attended the first Fitbloggin and that was my first experience meeting so many wonderful bloggy friends.

4. How many states have you visited? Do all the states between NJ and Florida count?!? If so, I have driven between the two many, many times. I have also spent time in Louisiana, Colorado, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Texas (if you count the Houston airport). When I was a kid we roadtripped to Ohio and to New England. I have visited a bunch of states but not all of them!

5. What did you have for lunch yesterday? Rice & Chicken

6. How many different places have you lived in? Too many to count. As a kid we moved apartments almost every year. I had a place with my mom and one with my dad. Then when I left home, I bounced around a lot. I spent winters in Florida and summers in NJ. I’ve been back in NJ for 13 years and lived in 4 houses. Q and I have lived in the same house for over 10 years now.

7. What’s your favorite color? purples and blues, black and white

8. Do you have any pets? Lucy is my almost 4-year old black Lab, two kitties names Charlie and Whiskey, and two red-eared sliders named Bonnie and Clyde

9. What would your ideal job be? I would run an at-risk residential school/working farm in the middle of nowhere.

10. Do you have any tattoos? 4 – left calf, right ankle, right hip and neck.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts.

Now it’s your turn!

yesterday was my birthday


Yesterday was my birthday and I am now 36 years young! My wonderful husband and amazing daughter treated me like a princess.

You see, AJ and I have been talking about planning a trip up to Lancaster and the outlets. We figured we would go sometime in March when we both could spare a day off and away. We were discussing this with Q on Saturday and she said, “mom, why don’t you go tomorrow? You already took Monday off for your birthday? It’s perfect, you should go.”  I have such a SMART kid!

Saturday was a bit of a whirlwind. Q had physical therapy and softball/hitting practice added on top of the normal Saturday chores.  AJ just went back to work (Saturday was his second day since Thanksgiving) so that left me on my own to do chores during the day. However, AJ did accompany me to the grocery store later that night.

Sunday after packing up the car we hit the road. Our first stop was  our local bagel shop for a breakfast sandwich to eat on the road. I LOVE our local bagels!! The picture above was taken while we were driving through Philly, specifically this is Boathouse Row on the Schuylkill River. Traffic was light and we cruised through Philly and were in Lancaster a few hours after we left home. We checked out the layout of the outlets and did a bit of shopping before heading to Ruby Tuesday for some lunch and a beer before we got to shopping.


After some shopping, we headed towards the hotel in a cute little town called Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania. On the way to the hotel we passed many horse & buggies. I love the sound of clippety clopping. When we got checked in ad settled into our room, I found a birthday card from the staff at the hotel.  How awesome is that?!? A birthday card and chocolates waiting for me. It was such a  nice personal touch! If you are ever in the Lancaster area and want a hotel with an indoor pool, I would highly recommend the Bird in Hand Family Inn! We were very close to the pools and we took advantage of said pools. There is nothing better than a very warm pool in the middle of winter. Especially when you don’t normally have access to a pool 9 months out of the year.

Waking up in a hotel on your birthday is absolutely luxurious. Waking up in a hotel, going out to breakfast and then shopping til you drop on your birthday is beyond amazeballs luxurious.

I don’t usually have a lot of extra money so there is not a lot of shopping except grocery shopping that happens around here. But it being my birthday and our taxes being deposited, my husband made sure I splurged on myself.

We shopped for clothes and shoes and kitchen stuff. Then we went in search of Amish goodies. We found our way to Stoltzfus Meats and purchases homemade dried beef and smoked sausage and a sausage pie.

And then we headed home. Q made me an awesome birthday cake: cookies & cream!! Cookies and cream anything is my favorite and Q made me the most delicious cake!

I feel so loved.



36 is going to be a great year!

It has to be….it started off so absolutely awesome!!!

January Walks and Medals


Do you see that happy face?!?
I am super stoked!!
I set a goal of 48.6 miles walked in January.
I did it! I did it!!
I so super proud of myself. I haven’t been the best goal achiever lately and I needed this win.

JostRunning has been great for me. Walking and blogging and earning medals was just the motivation I needed to get back in the game. The get healthy, get fit, get back to living game.
January started much the way December started and ended. With me very sick and loaded up with more meds. Plus going back to school and the exhaustion of being sick and teaching all day. Naps were better for me than walking. I didn’t log my first mile until January 10th. At that point I worried I would not hit my goal.
48.6 miles
Or one of each:
Half marathon
Full marathon


With JostRunning Virtual Races each month they set one of the above races each week. You register for your race and complete your miles in the course of that week. The best part, you do your miles your way. All at once or a little bit at a time. Walk, run, ride, roller skate, hop, skip or jump. JR encourages you to do your race your way.
I walked. I walked outside only three times this month. I don’t know about your neck of the woods but in south jersey, we are having an actual winter complete with snow. We’ve had two snow days in January. We didn’t even have two snow days all last year, just for comparison. I walked inside a lot more than outside. Leslie Sansone is quite the genius and has created an empire on walking at home.

I used the runkeeper app on my phone to log my miles. And since I also used this app to set my 500 mile goal, all miles are applied to my goal. Makes it easier for me to keep track. I’m not good at running numbers. ;) I did, however, take the time to add up just how many hours and minutes I walked this month. Over 7 hours of walking.
I am going to continue my goal of 48.6 miles walked for at least the next two months. At that point I will reevaluate my goals for the year and determine I want more or less miles for April. Maybe by April I might be ready to train for an event. Half marathon in one session. We shall see. Right now, I am enjoying walking in the moment, walking for health.
I want to continue enjoying walking inside but I do look forward to more walks outside as we get ever-closer to spring but for right now I am finding my happy place in my Leslie walks in my bedroom. I watch Leslie on one screen and I watch some random TV shows on another. Mindless TV helps the miles go by but I’m using more muscles than I would if I was walking outside or on a treadmill. And I’m for damn sure using more muscles than if I was just watching the mindless TV.





disclaimer: JostRunning has  waived registration fees and provided me with free medals in exchange for a blog of my experiences. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are all mine. 

enjoying snow days

Another Wednesday Snow Day! School was canceled because of snow the past two Wednesdays.  In South Jersey, especially my neck of the woods beach, snow rarely effects us. We get cold and rainy weather but not so much of the snow. This year had been a bit different.  Now, the snow doesn’t usually last too long because it usually warms up and is gone in a day or two. Last week, was the first time I wanted to go and play in the snow. Unfortunately, we did not get a lot of snow.  Enough to make a mess and cancel school, but we got maybe two inches.  I decided to go for a walk outside. I needed vacuum bags and the vacuum store is not that far from my house.  I bundled up and headed out.

My walk lovely. COLD but bearable because of my layers. The snow makes everything look so pretty! My walk was just a tad over one mile round trip and even though it was cold and there was snow and ice to trudge through, I enjoyed myself. I need to walk for some of my local errands more often. I usually bundle my errands so I can leave work and make a few stops on my way home but after my snowy walk, I need to rethink how I run my errands.


I am in love with my Polar Loop! Having my Loop on my wrist is very motivational. I love seeing my activity bar fill up. I love racking up more and more steps. I get downright giddy when I hit GOAL!!

GOAL on a snow day (actually two snow days) is a HUGE VICTORY!!

How did I hit GOAL on my snow days??

Shoveling snow, cleaning snow off the vehicles, walking outside, walking inside with my Leslie Sansone videos and yoga.



Miss Lucy LOVES the snow!! Lucy can never find her tennis ball in the snow. She really is the worst retriever. She loses her tennis balls all the time and needs mom or dad to find them. When it is snowy we switch over to the football which Lucy plows through the snow.  I love the picture above because it shows her ears flapping. Lucy is the cutest ans sweetest dog and I think this picture captures her spirit!’

After outside snow play, outside snow walking, and  inside walking, it was time to relax!! I always have a blanket on my chair. Yesterday, I curled up with my blanket and a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. I am currently about 1/3 of the way through Dance with Dragons (the latest Game of Thrones book) and snow days provide the perfect opportunity to delve into fantasy worlds!!

I had company while I read this week!

Do you enjoy snow days? Or have you been living with too much snow and you’re ready for Spring?

I will walk 500 miles

Go ahead and sing it with me. But I will walk 500 miles And I will walk 500 more… Ha. Now try getting that out of your head. image I have never set a mileage goal. Even when I was training for half marathons. Even when I jumped the gun and foolishly said I was ready to train for a marathon. I began consistently walking again after I answered the call for bloggers by JostRunning. What a push they gave me!! In December I began walking on any day I felt well enough to walk. Most of walks were in my living room following along with Leslie Sansone and her Walk at Home videos. December can be cold and I’ve been sick, staying inside has been smart. It was during this time, I rediscovered my love of walking and Walk at Home videos. Way back when my Q was a wee little babe, I discovered a Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds VHS tape at a yard sale. YEP, a VHS tape and I needed to use a VCR. When I first saw the Leslie videos, I thought it was going to be hokey.  I mean come on, walking inside, how is that even possible?!? I was instantly surprised! It was kinda hokey but it was fun and I worked up a sweat! I had a nasty break up with my ex and I forgot all about Leslie Sansone until a few years later when I started back in college. I went back to my videos but never found the time, energy or combination of the two, during my college years. I guess having a baby, a full time job and a full load of classes, left little time for exercise. Fast forward to now. My Q is 14, no longer a baby. I am the teacher, no longer the student. But I am back to walking and following along with Leslie. My “Leslie walks” as I like to call them. This year I am making walking a priority. I like walking, inside and outside, and walking has so many physical and mental benefits. My mind and body will thank me for making walking a priority. My goal for the year is challenging and doable. I will walk 500 miles this year! I am already off to a great start. After a rocky start (still was fighting that funky sickness), I have managed to log 33.3 miles so far this month. I am aiming for 18 more to round at the month. I committed to walking the equivalent of a 5K and a 10K and a half marathon and a full marathon or 48.6 miles. This number gives me a great experience with/for JostRunning and puts a great dent into my yearly goal! I may not have set huge new year’s resolutions but I certainly have a great goal for my physical and mental well-being! Anyone else walking lots of  miles this year!