Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February is Almost Gone...

And the weather is pulling us outside!

We were downtown today and I couldn't resist a couple of pictures.

The Lighthouse, of course, because a beautiful day down there is perfection, and the Keepers House, which looked so nice in the bright sunshine.

I am looking forward to walks to town again!

Harford County Eats- Georgia's Take Out

Tim and I have decided to start trying out new places to eat around Harford County.
We really pretty much go to all the same places whenever we eat out, and we thought it would be fun to start exploring places that we have never tried before.
I was hoping to find an alphabetical list somewhere, but I can't find one online.
We have tried almost every eatery in Havre de Grace, so we stepped over to Aberdeen to a little shop parked next to a surgical center. I had heard about this place from my friend, Celeste, but we hadn't tried it yet.
Holy Cow.
The place has zero atmosphere, and some truly amazing food.

Georgia makes her own soups, every day, from scratch.
The gentleman at the counter, her husband I imagine, offered me samples of today's special soups. A black bean and pasta, Lasagne, and Sweet Potato and Corn.

The Sweet Potato soup was so good!! I bought a bowl to bring home.
The menu is huge, but most of it is just American. Burgers, chicken fingers, fries, wraps and salads.
Down in one corner is a section offering authentic Greek food.
The Lamb Gyro. Oh Yes. 100% lamb slices, with all the fresh fixings that you find on a regular Gyro.
It was so good!!
We are glad that we started with Georgia's.
She's a little Greek treasure.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

In Other News...

Here are a few photos of the years activities to date....

Theology of the Body Head and Heart Immersion 1/6

Good Day with Good Friends MFL!

March For Life 1/19

Our Town 1/26

John Starts at Frostburg 1/26

Camp Veritas at Mount 2000! 2/10

Holocaust Museum 2/13
Winter Morning 2/18/2018

Lobby Night in Annapolis

Today, in Annapolis, the Maryland Catholic Conference hosted the annual "Catholics in Annapolis" event. This is an excellent opportunity for Catholics to participate in the process of governing our state.
The event begins at St John Neuman Church, where a briefing is held to inform Catholics of the current legislation that we need to be aware of.

Tony and Maryann Vitelli and I were really fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with our two delegates, Glenn Glass, and Maryann Lisanti.
The meetings were very informative and productive.
I was pleased that our representatives are working hard and were willing to listen to what we had to say. We didn't have a chance to meet with our Senator, Bob Casilly, but we spoke with him outside the reception, and he assured us that he supports the legislation that we were there to discuss.

The four issues that were of the most importance were:

The last part of the event is a catered reception. Present this year were Cardinal Whuerl, Archbishop Lori, Bishop Malooly of Wilmington and many other priests and clergy. There was also a concert featuring a group of schoolchildren that were extremely talented!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New Leaves

It appears that I am now a seasonal blogger.
Sheesh, that last post was from June!

I need to get caught up on a few things.

Brendan graduated from high school. Which I think I already posted, but it was how we started off the Summer! Very exciting, and now I am down to one student.

I officially started my business over the Summer. This isn't something that you can do in a week, or even a month. It started with filing the name with the state, getting insurance and business cards, and then waiting for the various agencies and individuals to do their jobs.
They came through and New Leaf Organizing Services was born.
I have been working as an independant contractor for Sappari Solutions, and so far things are going quite well. I am working just enough eack week to pay for tuition for John and Brendan, and I am still home most of the week to give Paul's junior year and our co-op classes the attention they need.

John is doing a full load at Harford Community College. He is taking four classes, and is on the dean's list and honor society. His grades last semester were great and he is working hard to keep them that way. He is majoring in business and he will probably transfer to a university next Fall.

Brendan is taking two classes. Astronomy and the lab that goes with it. He is just trying to get his feet wet this semester so that he can take on more in the Spring.

Paul has a very full schedule this year.
We are finishing up Algebra II, more of a review actually while he prepares to take his ACT test.
He also has Literature, History, World Religions, Karate, Dama, Film, and Robotics for science.
Several of these subjects are being covered in our co-op.
I am teaching Religion, and Literature, and helping out with History, Drama and Film.

Our co-op is under-going a pretty dramatic change. We have moved from our old location at the Boys and Girls Club, and are now going to be using the upstairs of the school at St Patricks Church here in Havre de Grace. It has been a rather daunting task, as much for the parish as for our families. The Archdiocese requires all adults to be cleared for the protection of the children, which is a good practice, and the kids have to be trained to recognize potentially abusive situations. We have also opened the o-op to several new families and it has been a rather uphill climb to get everything ready, but we had our first day last week and I thoroughly enjoyed my classes! What a great group of kids!!

For Drama they will be performing "Our Town", a great little play.
I am glad that Paul is up for it. I love watching him perform on stage.

We have a new deck, and a new door our to it from the kitchen. I absolutely love it and I have been enjoying my coffee out there most mornings.

We have been so blest to be able to add that this year. Tim works so hard, and the house is a his ongoing project. Nice for him that the deck project was one that we hired someone to do. It got done so quick and now we have it to enjoy!

Speaking of ongoing projects, this is a temperature blanket that I have been adding a row to each day.
It is so much fun!! I am getting back into the cooler colors and I never knnow how it will look!

I hope that it isn't Christmas before I post again!
Our Maggie is seven and such a pretty girl!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June Evening

It was a beautiful evening downtown!

I went down to take pictures of this place:

Because I want to keep a photo record of the project.

Looking across the old ferry route.

There was this guy....

Add caption

Such a nice night to sit on a pier 

And the miniature lighthouse

Friday, June 9, 2017

Chasing Lions

Somewhere I once heard a saying. "If you want to catch a Mountain Lion, all you have to do is turn your back on it."
These wily beasts are notorious for slinking along through the brush, unseen and unheard, and many times the first thing an unwary hiker is aware of is 150 pounds of teeth and claws on their back.
A wary hiker, while the cat is still mostly invisible in it's natural habitat, can pick up clues and may be able to take measures to avoid being dinner. A rustling, a disturbance in the brush, maybe even the flick of a tail or the sight of a tawny coat through the brush, give clues that it would be a healthy thing to pay attention.
The Mountain Lion is a deadly adversary, and if you are in his home, and you don't have the tools to avoid him, you can easily become his vicitim.

There is another adversary, much closer to home, that is just as elusive, just as persistant and just as deadly, and if it is stalking you, you are likely unaware, or only mildly concerned.
This adversary is Autoimmune Disease.

Autoimmune diseases and disorders are now a constant in the world that we live in.
A combination of factors, genetic, environmental, and lifestyle related, can trigger a disorder that can be life-changing and debilitating, and for a large part of the population the signs and symptoms are fleeting and seemingly disconnected.
Odd rashes, pains, sensory disruptions, and "funny feelings" can make the person in the early stages of an autoimmune condition sound like they are more in need of mental health intervention than medical, and truthfully, these conditions are rooted in our systems at the cellular level, so chasing symptoms in the early stages is mostly pointless.
Following symptoms that may occur months, or even years, apart and trying to tie them together into something that may or may not even be on the books yet, is really not an option for most people.

It used to be that we had to just wait to see what developed.
My mom had odd symptoms and seemingly unconnected conditions years before she was diagnosed with Scleroderma, a connective tissue disorder that was rare at the time.
Both of my daughters have been plagued with varied symptoms of autoimmune conditions for most of their lives.
Laura was diagnosed with Crohn's disease as a pre-teen, and recently Multiple Sclerosis.
Nina has so many autoimmune issues that her doctor treats her symptoms, but no actual diagnosis has been forthcoming.
I have had odd connective tissue symptoms most of my life. I really don't want to chase down that lion, so I am just walking as fast as I can and hoping I make it to the trailhead before he pounces.

Until recently I figured it would just be  matter of time before something manifested itself and I learned what I was going to have to deal with and what might eventually disable me. I figured I was powerless to stop it.

Lately, however, I have been reading more and more about inflammation and the effects that it has on so many systems and organs in the body.
The brain, nervous system, GI tract, connective tissues and others are all profoundly affected by inflammation and up until now there just wasn't enough knowlege in the field to empower the person affected.
Inflammation is caused by different factors and some of them are unavoidable. Our bodies respond to things in the environment, viruses, bacteria and many other things by mounting a defense at the cellular level. Sometimes, in some people, the body becomes stuck in an overactive response that is then perpetuated by exposure to things that it has become sensitive to. Things like pollen, certain foods, heavy metals, and stress bring inflammation to a rolling boil and keep it there, damaging cells in the process.

Chasing down the cause, and treating it, can be finacially, emotionally and mentally daunting and sometimes medically impossible, but approaching the effects; working to change diet, habits and lifestyle, may allow those that suffer from autoimmune, and related disease, a new way of being pro-active and slowing, arresting or even reversing the damage.

So, Tim and I are trying the simplest level of this diet:

It was developed for people with MS, but it's quite close to many of the diets that are being suggested for people who want to avoid the diseases of aging, like Alzheimer's and dementia. The protocol is based mainly on foods that are high in the nutrients that we need to produce healthy mitochondria, so that our bodies can arrest problematic changes in the cells. The changes are pretty drastic, but the way that we eat in western society is killing us. It just has to be better to eat this diet than to keep eating all that processed crap.
Giving up sugar has been a really tough one for me. I fail frequently, but I am determined. When I do slip and have something sugary, I pay for it for hours. I just feel terrible.
Dairy has been really easy, because I am really not a big fan of it. Almond milk is downright delicious!
Gluten...well, my goal is to beat the first two, eat up the bread and stuff in the house, and then stop buying it. I am quite a bread lover, and that's gonna be a hard one. And there is gluten in so many things!
Adding all the veggies, fruits and other things in is actually quite fun. I have been finding recipes that are fantastic and filling, for things that I never would have imagined I would like.

 Knowing that there is the wildcat of autoimmune disease stalking somewhere out there, I am hoping that by cutting out the foods that promote inflammation, adding in foods that encourage cellular health, and maintaining an active lifestyle, we may be able to beat the beast to the trailhead. Maybe we can go into our later years with healthier bodies than we had in the earlier ones.
If this works out the way we hope, we may never know what we missed. And that's just fine.