Hello friends! My life has been so full as of late, and I just haven't been maintaining this site, or been online much in general. I've been thriving through being present with the people and space physically around me, and am exploring how I want to balance my online life as a part of that. That said, the last few months have brought exciting changes that I want to share with you.
Number 1: my state fair results.
As you may recall from this post, I entered some gluten-free baked goods in the Minnesota State Fair! I decided to enter my Really Good Banana Bread in a few different contests, and my Wholegrain Crackerbread and an in-progress recipe for fudgy brownies in the gluten-free contest.
For a week I was a baking moster, making loaf after loaf and pan after pan to ensure everything was consistent and make any necessary tweaks. My main squeeze A enjoyed that week, and ate their weight in baked goods.
The night before judging day, I baked and bagged my treats as required for the Minnesota State Fair entry guidelines...
And the next morning I stood in line with my treats, patiently waiting to submit them for judging...
I am a blue ribbon baker!
I was pleased to discover that my Banana Bread scored a third place ribbon and my Wholegrain Crackerbread scored a first place ribbon, both in the gluten-free contest! Out of the 113 entrees, I was honored to score two ribbons. Judging is very competitive and am absolutely thrilled. In addition to the glory of being able to call myself a State Fair Blue Ribbon Baker, which is a really big deal here in Minnesota, I also got a whopping $9 prize money.
Number 2: I quit my fancy job
I was always very private about what I did for work. Have you noticed I've never alluded to what I spent my days doing? Well, I'm gonna come clean right now....another drumroll...
Since September of 2004, I had worked in Target Corporation's Marketing Department at their commercial photo studio. That photo studio shoots product and model images for Target.com and a number of other Target marketing channels, from those famous Target Gift Cards to publicity pieces to coupons. Target is based right here in beautiful Minneapolis. I started there shortly after graduating from college, and over the years worked my way up through the photo studio ranks. The most recent job I had was working as a project producer, where I booked photographers, stylists, and models, scheduled photo shoots, developed relationships with internal and external clients, and did a whole bunch of other stuff that involves a Targetized version of corporate speak that I'm just not going to go into.
Working in an internationally recognized marketing department in a high-productivity commercial photo studio environment was an incredible learning opportunity that helped me develop some pretty killer skills. Photography is fun and working in advertising can be a really sexy thing. But despite all the great learning opportunities and amazing coworkers (and the sweet paycheck, solid healthcare, great 401k and pension, and Target discount), the corporate environment just wasn't the right fit for my soul or my wardrobe. I had been trying to leave my job to become a full-time student of Oriental Medicine since early 2008, but struggles with my health kept me from being able to leave the stability of my full-time job. Finally, the forces of my life aligned made this possible, and I very quickly jumped headlong into the sea of change. Quick is the active word there - I sent in my completed school application on a Monday, I was accepted to the program on Tuesday morning and gave my one-day-short-of-two-weeks'-notice later that afternoon so I could start orientation exactly two weeks later.
My last day as a Target Headquarters "team member" was August 31, and I have done nothing but smile since - except for when I go through the checkout lane at Target and no longer have a snazzy discount card.
Number 3: I am a student!
And thus, I am now a full-time student of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, MN. This three-year program will result in a Masters of Oriental Medicine, and after I pass a bunch of board exams sometime in 2015, I will be able to practice a wide range of healing modalities including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tui na, moxibustion, and Chinese dietary therapy, among other things. I am hoping to complete a Clinical Nutrition Certification soon after completing the Oriental Medicine program so I can have a wider scope of practice in regards to advising my future clients on nutrition as part of their personalized treatment protocols. I am unspeakably grateful and excited, and am loving being a student. I now spend my days in class and my evenings studying and piecing together part-time work.
Number 4: I went blonde
Because why not. I'll probably be rocking the blonde for awhile, it's fun!
Number 5: I've been fermenting, canning, cooking, baking, and arting
The statement above pretty much sums it up. I've been doing lots of those things, although you'd never know it by the way I've let this blog become untended over the last year. But it's true, I swear! Just ask my sweetie - I endlessly utilize them as my personal food critic for the things I make and the stuff we make together. We've landed on some pretty fierce pancakes together, as well as a number of other delicious sweet and savory dishes. I canned pints and pints and pints of dilly beans, pickled beets and other goodies. And that part-time work I mentioned above is centered mostly around cooking, which is really fun.
I don't think I mentioned it anywhere on the blog, but I attended a Fermentation Intensive with Sandor Katz himself down in Woodbury, Tennessee during mid-April. It was incredible! For four days we basked in the glory of the rural countryside learning about lacto-fermentation through hands-on lessons and eating the most beautiful, nourishing meals together. Sandor is a glorious human being, and the trip was completely inspiring. I keep meaning to share some of the amazing things I learned and the photos! Better late than never is how I figure it, so I'll pull this together.
On a related note, I've been combining my love for food with my love for visual and performance art, and have been contributing to edible art installation/performance projects here in Minneapolis. I love utilizing my passion for food and art at the same time!
Number 6: Healing!
I've made huge leaps and bounds after nearly three years of treatment for chronic Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and Bartonella, and my doctor feels I am dancing with remission! After taking cocktails of antibiotics for a solid 2 1/2 years, I swtiched to an herbal protocol in August and it seems to be doing the trick. I take a combination of herbal tinctures along with capsules of Super Artemisinin (I like the one from Allergy Research Group the best) and Serra Peptase. The tincture combination I am on is very intense, but for me really does the trick. I currently take Samento and Enula from Nutramedix, A-Babs, A-Bart, and AL-Complex from Byron White Remedies, and teasel root tincture. Teasel is available through a variety of independent distributors, including Lady Barbara's Garden online. I get mine from my naturopath, who gets it from a farm in Wisconsin.
Please keep in mind that the listing above is not a suggestion of what you, my dear reader, should take to treat your Lyme and co-infections. It is merely a listing of what my current protocol looks like. You should talk to a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable in Lyme before starting on any protocol.
I can't even describe what a difference I feel in my body from where I was at 4 1/2 years ago, 2 years ago, or even earlier this year. The telling of what has led to this place is too long to describe here, and I am working on a more in-depth series of posts that outlines what I have found helpful in my multi-year recovery process from Lyme. Many readers have requested more information about this, and I'm happy to share it as soon as I can gather together my thoughts and experiences appropriately.
So that sums it up! I'll try to pop in with recipes as often as I can. The blogging bug has been biting me for awhile and I do want to share some of these tasty treats I've been making - especially those of the cookie and pie variety. But if you comment or email me and I don't respond quickly, please do not take it personally. Blogging is taking the backseat in my life right now, and maintaining this site has been a challenge for me with my schedule. So, please be patient. I hope that the waning of 2012 is bringing you many positive things. Be well!