Tag Archives: uk

It’s A Magnificent Life

It’s been like two months since I posted. I know…but I have a good excuse!

I’ve been traveling and living so fully (most of that time). In no particular order, here are just a few things I’ve done in the past nine weeks instead of posting blogs, in pictures:

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Posted by on August 9, 2016 in Personal


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Watercolor My World

The Hermitage, Scotland

Although I majored in Art in College before I majored in Drama, Psychology, and finally English, I never learned to watercolor. Most of my training and experience is in acrylics, so I’ve taken it upon myself to learn how to watercolor.

Here are a few of my recent watercolor postcards. Much to my delight, I asked friends and followers on Facebook who would like to receive one, and I got lots of responses! Needless to say, I’ve been busy painting scenes and trying new techniques ever since (while binge-watching “The Good Wife“). All of these pictured are already in the mail. Leave a comment if you want to be put on the list to (eventually) get one, then email me your address (link in right sidebar). Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 26, 2016 in Personal, Travel & Tourism


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My New Life

This will be uncharacteristically short.

Even though the past two months were much better than they’ve been over the past four years for reasons I’ve discussed and explored here, they were still very emotional for reasons I also discussed and explored here. Because of the time of year and all the exciting and wondrous and painful changes, many of my recent posts have been processing emotional pain and unrequited love and past traumas.

But not this one.

Although my nights and weekends are still hard, as that’s when the loneliness threatens to smother me, when the distractions and sounds of the world fade into the dark night. There’s just so much silence.

Tonight in Lancaster, England, even the parrot is quiet. The moon is illuminating the clouds outside my window just as my computer screen is illuminating the tears on my cheeks. I think of him, so far away…in every way.

Before the silence and darkness and loneliness of the night, however, my day was wondrous. I had my first English riding lesson, and I did really well. My teacher was impressed with how much I already knew. The parrot (Mr. Stinkki) sat on my shoulder and even gave me a kiss.

I watch the sunset with him every night and remember how I used to watch it with Buster, and I grieve that loss while strengthening the bond with my new feathered friend. Once I get through tonight, tomorrow I have a personal training session so I can continue building strength, both body and mind.

Once I get through tomorrow night, I have a cello lesson the following day. I’ve already picked out “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on it, I’m quite proud to say.

Then this weekend, when there is so much time to fill, I will go for a hike in the Lake District and visit Wordsworth’s home. Perhaps even see his daffodils.

Overall, my new life is quite beautiful, the heartbreak and loneliness somehow exquisite in their pain. The joy of England and new adventures and fulfilling work and realized dreams fill my days.

The nights aren’t all that long after all.

After the tears, I dream. Sometimes of him. Sometimes of me. Sometimes of all the things I’ll do and all the places I’ll visit. Then I drift to sleep and let the peace of unconsciousness envelop me.



Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Personal


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On My Own & != Too Much

Leicester Boer War Memorial


This has been an incredible year so far!

Since January 1st, I’ve met brilliant co-workers, made new friends, traveled to five countries (9 cities), reconnected with old friends, met someone special, and danced – danced – danced. For someone who has become accustomed to copious amounts of silence and solitude, all that has been considerable stimulation and emotion in a relatively short amount of time (especially for an HSP with C-PTSD like me).

Earlier this week during a very emotional time (yay menopausal hormones; intense, new, confusing feelings; and a full moon…all at once!), I was listening to Les MiserablesOn My Own” (the ultimate song of unrequited love) and “I Dreamed a Dream,” trying to convince myself that my current tears were the direct result of having hope, of opening my heart again, of daring to feel new love and desire. I lamented being on my own, fully feeling the exquisite agony of unrequited, impossible love until the sadness naturally passed.

I started writing a blog post about being “too” — too much, too sensitive, too intense, too verbose, too needy, too emotional, too loud, too nice (critique, not compliment), too fat, too thin, too weird, too insecure, too dramatic, too fill-in-the-blank, as I’ve been told far “too” many times in my life. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Personal


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Stay Left, Hug Right: Driving in the UK


If you want to venture outside of the cities and towns, you might need to rent a car. There are coach tours that take you around, which are a great way to see the country’s main attractions, but if you crave more independence and solitude, you can hire a car. 

The first time I drove in the UK was 1990. I was 20 years old without a fear in the world. I remember the novelty of driving on the left, and the biggest problem I had was when I turned a corner. My instinct and training wanted to bear right, so I had to keep repeating “stay left” to myself as I turned. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Travel & Tourism


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Major Changes in the Autumn of Life

Hyde Park in Autumn

Hyde Park in Autumn, October 2015

The past five years have been the most difficult of my life. The person I was in 2010 is dead, but it was a slow, agonizing death brought about by deceptions, betrayals, and even sexual assault. Just when I thought I couldn’t lose anymore, after having lost my community, my faith, my job, my home, and my very identity, my husband of 15 years moved out.

The one thing I thought was strong enough to survive anything, wasn’t. The one person I thought I could trust to be honest and genuine wasn’t. In his own words, he’s been pretending to be someone else for the bulk of our marriage.

I don’t even know how to process that.

He’s made it clear he doesn’t want me around, and I had nothing left in the States except a handful of dear friends scattered around the country, an unfulfilling job, and an empty apartment.  Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Healthy Living, Personal


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Elimination Diet: Days 1 & 2

20130908-154651.jpgAbout two months ago, I started really looking into my diet and seeing what I could do to minimize some chronic health issues. This all was soon before I was leaving for England for six weeks, so it was mostly experimentation with some new recipes and tracking GI activity, mood swings, and energy levels. Through this trial dietary change, I discovered that I’m quite likely fructose intolerant and have a significant intolerance to onions. Those were the most glaringly obvious ones, but I know there are more. However, there were too many variables without going on a proper elimination diet. After reading some horror stories of gluten, sugar, and dairy withdrawals, I decided to wait until after my trip to the UK to do one properly.

I told myself not to worry, as I’d be walking so much in London I wouldn’t put on any weight. For the first two weeks, I stuck more or less to my new reduced-gluten/dairy/sugar diet and ate a lot of whole, fresh foods. Then I went to Ireland and spent a week with family, attended a wedding, and ate a lot of PB&J, fresh carrots, and sweet potatoes. I had such a lovely time with my sister and her family not worrying about food, I vowed to lose my anxiety around caloric intake for good. Well, I paid for that, even with all the walking. Upon returning to London, I put away my food diary and calorie counting app and just ate when I was hungry. Sometimes yummy things like Cornish pastys and vegetarian bangers and mash, others even yummier things like muesli (totally addicted, btw) and stuffed zucchini. Overall, except for the chips here and here (how can you visit England without indulging in chips!) and a half pint of Guinness here and there (how can you visit Ireland without indulging in Guinness!), my diet was still quite healthy. The difference was in the amounts, I’m afraid. Without counting calories, not to mention my inability to comprehend how much 100mg was, I stopped with portion control.

After four weeks of not counting calories, even with walking or cycling between 4-10 miles a day, I knew I had put on weight. To my horror upon my arrival home Thursday night, I saw that I had put on TEN POUNDS! And to think two months ago I was freaking out over three.

Not okay.

Strangely, I’m not terribly upset about it. I know it will come back off as I get settled and move through this proper elimination diet. In fact, just after the first day, I was already down five of those ten, likely water weight and other GI issues from the antibiotics I briefly took after my emergency root canal. I keep reminding myself I did what was necessary to survive in a foreign country alone. Pass the muesli please!

OMG, I sure do miss muesli.

I’m on day two of The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen’s 28-DayElimination Diet, which means I’m still in green smoothie fast mode. The book, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, which includes the complete 28-day Elimination Diet is on its way from Amazon,and I’ll have that by Tuesday with more information. As of now, I’m following their website for guidance. I’ve had nothing but green smoothies for about 48 hours, and I feel pretty good. After having a smoothie with an apple and pear in it, I confirmed my suspicion of fructose intolerance. Throughout my life, whenever I have an apple or a pear I feel inexplicably tired soon thereafter, and often hungrier than before I ate it. The same happens in the green smoothies containing these high-fructose fruits. As I don’t have the book yet, I’m not really clear at how much of these smoothies I’m supposed to have, but since I’m also dealing with jet lag, I’ve decided to have them as often as I’m hungry.

I’m feeling rather good so far, although I’m anticipating some withdrawal symptoms from wheat and sugar, especially, over the coming weeks. Things are moving through my body again. I feel happier than usual, but sometimes tired in the middle of the day still tired. I’m listening to my body and relaxing or napping as needed. Mental clarity and the ability to focus comes and goes, so I’m still finding it difficult to read. I am looking forward to eating some solid food again tomorrow. I think I’ll start the day with some roasted sweet potato along with another green smoothie to break the fast, then perhaps Spiced Pumpkin Soup for lunch after some Blueberry Syrup with Rice and Quinoa for a midmorning snack.

I had my final mocha Friday morning, and I won’t be having another until the challenge phase in four weeks (EEEEK!!!). Still not quite sure how I’ll survive that long without my beloved mochas, but I’m determined to lose these 10 lbs and discover if food allergies/intolerances is exacerbating or even causing my life-long struggle with depression and anxiety. No doubt the foundation of those things are in the trauma, as I’ve been diagnosed with Complex PTSD, but it can’t hurt to see if I can make those dark clouds a little lighter while I work on recovering from the traumas.

Please consider joining me on this journey to better health.

I’ll be checking in often to give you updates of how the diet is working for me and to share some yummy, healthy recipes. Plus, Ethan and I are finishing up Spirit of the Otherworld this and next month, the fifth and final Rowan of the Wood novel. It should be available by Christmas.

May you all find peace.

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Healthy Living


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