Soap Makes Me Smile

And Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogren’s Syndrome do not make me smile.  And that’s why I make soap. To forget about the autoimmune diseases that I’m battling daily. When I tangerine dream2make soap, I’m making something unique, useful, and organically good.

Creating soap batches also allows me to feel as useful as those bars of soap. I don’t feel useful as often as I need to.  My energy levels are down and my joints hurt. And that’s with a dose of both methotrexate and Humira weekly. I still can’t do some things I’d like to do.  At least not right now. Maybe there will be a point in the future that my symptoms will decrease.

Soap making is like a mini-vacation for me.  I go into my soap lab, turn on the music, and magic happens.  The creative and chemical process completely absorbs my thoughts. I think of nothing but color and fragrance and creamy suds during this enchanting time. Alchemy in action. Ordinary ingredients are transmuted into something of value.  The value in my soaps are the sense of accomplishment I experience when a batch is curing, and the way my skin feels after using my own brand of nourishing soap.

If you’d like to see the results of these soap making times, take a look at Barnaby Glen Soap. Oh, and if you decide to buy a bar or two – well, that would also make me smile.



If I lived here


I’d wake up at first light, pull on a warm sweater. After brewing a warming pot of tea I’d wander out into the gardens to plan my day.  What part of the garden needs me right now? Weeding, cultivating, and pruning. Oh, what a lovely way to spend my days.  The snapdragons, the snowberries, and forget-me-nots demand attention.

After a morning of garden work/play, I could relax with my lunch and enjoy the view that mother nature and I have created together.  Then a walk into the village to purchase the ingredients for dinner. A stroll around town and a visit to my favorite bookstore for a book to read in the afternoon.   A perfect day.

But I live here. In the Northeastern U.S.


Not quite as pretty, but it does have it’s moments.  Like these.

1623794_10200661103130533_1597643354_n                                1926860_10200661103450541_630393699_n

My day is cold and snow-covered with wind gusts wrapping themselves around my house.  Not quite the Irish cottage I photographed last summer, but it’s home.

Warning, Rude People: Eavesdropping Advisory Issued

Drew Chial

Weather DrewA warning to rude people, on behalf of writers everywhere. We’re issuing an eavesdropping advisory: if you don’t have an indoor voice, expect to end up in one of our stories. If your temperance drops, and you put a shrill into the air, you’re begging for a role in our next adventure. If you blow white noise conditions out your molar vortex, we owe it to future generations to make a record of it. If you’re a severe weather friend, letting out an arctic blast every time you vent, we’ll be there to chronicle it.

To those who suffer from line blindness. Who steal spots because they feel entitled. Who complain about having to wait, when they couldn’t be bothered to make an appointment. When you say you want to give management a piece of your mind, we’re the ones who really take it.

We welcome you line cutters, you…

View original post 706 more words

My Fitbit Valentine

My daily workouts of pilates, weight training, and even yoga have been forgotten lately. Those workouts didn’t really escape my mind in those first days.  It was my rheumatoid arthritis that caused me to skip the pilates – more frequently every week – because my joints were raging after a session.  In fact, it was the same for the weight training. I reduced the amount of weights I used, I reduced the intensity of the pilates and still hurt so much I could not recover between workouts.  And the yoga?  Well, I just gave up excising altogether because I was discouraged.

I knew it was time to change my exercise routine. But what to do?  fitbit

My Fitbit is the perfect answer. Walking is a beneficial exercise, and I need to  do that anyway, right?  But my Fitbit will track my steps and distance traveled. Daily and weekly. And since I have a Fitbit One, it will also indicate how many flights of stairs I’ve walked each day and can even tell me if I slept well last night.  Instant feedback encourages me to park further away from my office and walk those extra steps. Or add short walks to my day. Every time I stand up and move around, I’m immediately seeing info on steps taken and calories burned.

Fitbit has an app that syncs all this data with my smartphone and I can create groups and have a friendly competition that will keep us all moving. Encouragement, instant gratification, and social connection. What more could I want?

That’s why I’ve decided that Fitbit is my true Valentine this year. It will keep me as active as possible and if I have a bad day with my rheumatoid arthritis, it won’t criticize or question my lower step counts.  It will instead encourage me electronically with messages like “You rock” or “Climb it” or (only once) “No Donuts”.

As for the yoga, I will re-introduce that into my daily schedule soon. Haven’t found a DVD workout that will be gentle on my joints and still be challenging. Oh, and won’t make my Fitbit jealous.