Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Posts tagged “birthday

I Am Me

I made a new friend recently from an interesting place – archery club! I’ve taken an interest in shooting a bow after driving past the archery range one day and feeling such a strong tactile sensation in my hands that they needed a bow RIGHT NOW, I knew it was time to start. Leah’s becoming a surprisingly good friend in a very short period of time. It’s one of those comfortable friendships right from the start that tend to pop up unexpectedly.

Late last week I was mentioning to her that my birthday was coming up and how this year I wasn’t so thrilled to be having one. My birthdays have often been hard and Zain always tried to do a bit extra on my day to help make up for so many lousy ones. However this year, he really hasn’t been in my life as much since we’ve been working to build our lives separately and we still hadn’t even talked about my birthday being less than a week away. I’d already started feeling depressed about it and the disappointment it was looking to bring.

Then Leah offered to make it a good birthday and its sounding like it shall be exactly that! What a surprise. I’d known her a week and here she is offering me dinner and planning a bowling trip for us and some friends. She also suggested that perhaps this birthday could be a day of rebirth as well. Rather fitting given life’s circumstances right now.

So for my 100th post (yay!) I’m here not only writing about my birthday as I usually do, but also to continue on with my healing story as part of the rebirth I’ve been trying hard to live up to right now.

One can’t always know where healing of old traumas will take you. In this case, I’ve finally healed past some very old wounds and doors shut tightly inside myself to discover that I’m gay. No doubt that takes some of the mystery out of why if Zain and I had such a good relationship we are now moving apart – this isn’t really something we can find a way to mend. It was actually the mending and healing that brought us here.

This has been a hard time in my life. It’s filled with a large volume of grief for the loss of Zain and the life we had together. Things were comfortable, safe, and loving. At times, it’s a mystery as to why anything had to change…but then I remind myself that for the first time in my life I’ve stopped asking the question “Who am I?” because I now have the answer I was always lacking.

It’s strange to go through life feeling as though you are missing something, but you can’t really put a finger on it. Everything seems fine, looks right from the outside, but inside it feels a little off. I finally know why I felt that way and I’m sad at the loss it has brought, but happy at the things I am gaining too.

I’m gaining myself. I’ve never been me, always hiding those parts of me I was afraid others would judge, but I’m working hard to just be me – Cat. I think the name change has helped and was one of those important keys in the process of opening many locked doors inside myself behind which I was hiding in fear.

I fear those doors no longer and have been busting them down with a vengeance! ROAR!

Life is weird. That’s all I can say most days. I didn’t see this one coming, though in hindsight many things are rather obvious. Isn’t that always the way?

Birthday as a day of Rebirth!

I wasn’t sure I wanted to post about this, it’s terribly personal and of a nature that some may find offensive to their beliefs. Sundog Tales has always been about my healing journey and this is a very large milestone on that road. While I’ve been out for the last couple months with almost everyone I know, the internet is a very big place and so its a little scary putting this out here.

I’m tired of hiding me. I’m tired of being someone I’m not because the world I grew up in said I had to fit exactly inside their misshapen and pain-filled box. Time to burn that box, it’s never going to hold me again.

I’m curious where my journey will now go and am having a pretty fun time exploring this new aspect of myself. I’ve been getting active in the queer community around Fort Collins and on campus, while also just enjoying discovering all the things I kept hidden even from myself. As with most other things in my life since finding a way out of the darkness of the tent, I’m grabbing life and living it with a gusto that I once lacked but always envied in others. That gusto is mine now and I intend to keep it!

This post is a birthday gift to myself, words that will always remind me of who I am – a woman of integrity, courage, and strength.

Happy (re)Birthday to me!


Paleo Sweet Potato Pie Recipe!

I’ve had a lot of requests for the pie recipe from my birthday and so here goes! I found it online at a forum posting here , but then we modified it as we went along. The main changes are no honey (our sweet potatoes are sweet enough) and baking dishes used.

sweet potato pie lit candle

It is paleo friendly, gluten free, and dairy free recipe for dessert, side dish, or an after workout snack!

Paleo Sweet Potato Pie:
– Sweet Potatoes (equal parts potato to milk, adjust as needed)
– 1 can Coconut Milk (I used full fat)
– 2 Eggs
– Spices (we used cinnamon and cloves, anything used for pumpkin pie would work for this)
* Often times yams are called sweet potatoes – I don’t know how those would work as we used actual Japanese Sweet Potatoes grown locally. Canned sweet potatoes are also an option.

Wash and dry the potatoes, then toss them naked and unpoked into a 375F oven to bake. We don’t use foil, just a cookie sheet on the rack below for drips. Start checking them after 1 hour, they should be soft to squeeze like with russet potatoes. Ours took about 1.5 hours to cook due to size.

After potatoes have cooled, remove the skin and mash them. The skin can be eaten or saved for cooking with later. Unlike russet or other potatoes, these are not part of the nightshade family and so are safe to eat.

We never measured the sweet potato volume, just added milk until the consistency seemed right. If you’ve made a few pumpkin pies, you’ll know the type of consistency to aim for. Otherwise I’d suggest aiming for equal parts potato to milk as the original recipe called for one can of sweet potato to each can of milk.

Add two eggs per can of milk, we doubled the recipe so had 2 cans of milk and 4 eggs.

Add spices to taste. Traditionally used spices would include cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice – and never forget the love!

We do not have a pie pan, but instead split the mix between two small rectangle baking dishes. Seemed to cook up just the same as it would have with a pie pan. The original recipe called for oiling the dish and coating it with your choice of flour (they used almond flour), but this proved unnecessary for our pies. Plus we lacked a paleo friendly flour.

In a preheated oven, cook the pie at 425F for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350F.

Cook another 35-45 minutes. Ours were ready at 40 minutes.

They were good warm, but also very tasty cold! Enjoy!


Paleo Cookie Pancakes!

With the holidays upon us, seemed a good time to share our recipe for Paleo Pancakes. These are a bit different than many similar recipes online as we designed them to be high density protein with a good dose of veggies – basically, a balanced paleo meal for times without the ability to cook. Turned out, they are tasty anytime!

Better yet – they taste a bit like cookies!

They are a sugar free, gluten free, organic, ready to go meal.

I’m sure the hemp powder we use can be substituted for other nut flours, we just needed the big protein gains during cold times without cooking.

Paleo Cookie Pancakes:

1 cup mashed squash
1/2 cup hemp powder
1/2 cup walnut flour
1/2 cup coconut milk
6 eggs

Lots of cinnamon (to taste)
Light cloves
1 tbl ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

Mix the hemp and walnut flour with the coconut milk. Mix in the mashed squash. Add eggs and mix well. Add spices or substitute for pumpkin pie spice.

It should have the consistency of thick pancake batter. Can add a few chopped nuts or berries to the batter for texture and bursts of flavor.

Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture onto a hot skillet or griddle, use plenty of butter or coconut oil to prevent sticking. Cook on a low heat, they burn a little easier than other pancakes.

Flip each pancake when the bottom side firms up, like normal pancakes. Cook some more until done!

These tend to be thin, but fluffy due to the egg content. Two pancakes each makes a filling meal for us. I did not write down how many the recipe makes, but its around 9-12 cakes.

We usually eat these plain, but for special occasions (like birthdays) we’ll put a little vanilla ice cream on top. Wow they are good!

It would be easy to substitute many of the ingredients. The squash helps balance the acidic nut flours, helps provide carbohydrates, and keeps the pancakes moist. Bananas, pumpkin, yams, etc would all work well in its place. There are different types of nut flours, you can experiment with finding the one that suits your taste buds the most.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!


Winter is on the Way

I had intended to post back here more frequently, but my health has been up and down, especially the last few weeks.

We have gotten our winter preparations well under way. October saw us finish changing out the leaky tarps over our tent – a project encompassing two years while letting the new tarps off gas. There has been a great deal of catching up on other small projects around camp. Mostly projects that were unable to be done during our steep decline in health over the last year.

October also saw the end to my six month long sinus infection. It took a combination of antibiotic and antifungal treatment simultaneously, along with a few other additions to help with sinus drainage. I saw an initial surge in energy after I was done with treatment, but this has ebbed somewhat as other influences have sapped my reserves.

A majority of our state medical coverage is ending on December 31st this year. This has changed some of our plans for winter prep as we have had to fit in dental appointments while we still can. The good news is that cavities I had a few years ago have healed themselves. For more information on remineralizing your teeth, a good start would be an article by Stephan Guyenet at Whole Health Source called, “Reversing Tooth Decay.”

Our main struggle right now is with different viruses making homes in us. It feels like each week sees us with a new cold or flu bug. This could be a good thing if it is caused by our bodies waking up to the viruses it is host for. Or it could be a bad thing as our immune system is too weak to fight any of them off. Only time will tell the story.

I do have to wonder how much of our slump the last several weeks was caused by too much birthday fun. With both mine and Jeremy’s birthday’s falling less than two weeks apart, it can get particularly festive around here. It could be that too much ice cream lead to another Candida yeast overgrowth in our guts. Having cut all sugars for three weeks is helping lower many of the symptoms I would attribute to this possibility.

The weather has suddenly shifted from a warm Indian summer into a cold Fall. At its coldest point last night, it was the same temperature as you would find in your refrigerator. Come December, we will be living in your freezer – next to the ice cream perhaps!

I am looking forwards to the colder weather, because it will kill off the molds that have been plaguing me since spring. On the other hand, it also brings smoke from chimneys and wood stoves that is aggravating our asthma and making breathing more difficult at times.

It is a rollercoaster time for us right now, each up comes with a down shortly after. I am thankful to have any up swings at all, as this was not happening most of the last year. With some luck and a good amount of hope, we will see next year bringing more ups than downs again.


Sunshine and Happiness

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. It was a very relaxing day. Here are the things that made yesterday one of the best birthdays I have ever had:

Perfectly blue skies and sunshine.

A quiet hour spent at my spirit rock, contemplating the remarkable changes taking place in me in recent months.

Time spent with my sweetheart, not doing much of importance but simply enjoying each other’s company throughout the day.

Organic chocolate truffles arriving by UPS just in time for dessert.

An amazing amount of birthday greetings from equally amazing people all over the world. Thank you to everyone who wrote to me yesterday, it was spectacular in its awesomeness. hehe

A very enjoyable time spent day dreaming with a friend of possible futures in store for us, sandy beaches, coffee shops, and remembering that in daydreams there are no earthly limits to what you can do or where you can go. First round of tequila sunrises are on me when the dreams meet reality.

A good night’s rest at the end of a beautiful day.


Fate’s Quirkey Sense of Timing

Eight years ago today saw one of the worst days of my life. The last two months had become an ever increasing nightmare as life started to plunge into the icy depths of serious illness. With chronic fatigue making it increasingly difficult to work even part time and chemical sensitivities springing up like wild flowers in some twisted tormented garden, my world was definitely crashing down around my ears.

It all began from something in an apartment I rented. Whether it was from a toxic mold problem I had apparently brought with me from my last rental or from some other toxic chemical source inside the apartment, it hardly matters all these years later. But on this very day in 2001, it mattered greatly because whatever was causing my health to dramatically drop, it was now all too evident it had also soaked every single belonging I owned turning each beloved item into what was beginning to feel like a little bit of hell when around them.

The nature of this illness left others able to still use the things I owned, as I saw when a friend came with me to the storage locker I had rented in the hope of one day soon recovering and reclaiming all that was mine. It was during this trip that I came to a horrifying revelation. Although others had no trouble from being near any of the treasures I had gathered in my life, I had become so sensitive to each one’s remaining toxic soup that I could no longer be within even twenty feet of them. And so out of desperation, a plan was formed to cut my losses, which were daily growing larger, and try to restart from scratch. Hoping maybe my illness was being caused by the trappings of my former life that I had continued to hold on to and that once removed entirely, as one would do with a rapidly spreading cancer, my health would have a chance to recover.

Eight years ago today was a Saturday. It was the worst Saturday of my life and I hope it remains that way. With an inner strength I did not know I possessed, this day saw me holding a yard sale of my once normal life and everything that had ever been in it. Strangers pawed through my belongings while looking for fabulous deals that they could brag about to friends and family later. I had started the day with at most a hundred dollars to my name and so with a great weight in my heart I haggled each price higher, for I knew my only options for rebuilding would come from having the money to do so.

Eight years ago was my birthday, as it is again today. A birthday of great loss and sorrow, spent with vultures and hyenas feasting on the wreckage of my healthy life.

Today will be different. There is already more hope and happiness than I have had in years. Some early birthday wishes from friends I have only recently made is adding a sweet reminder that I am becoming human again. It seemed last night that even the woods around me sent out a shout of greeting just after midnight as animal after animal briefly called out into the dark night around me before quieting again as though nothing had occurred. That was one of the more odd things I think I have heard all these years in the forest. Deer, owl, coyotes and a raccoon all within mere moments of each other, outside and raising a ruckus each in their own turn, it was very odd indeed.

And in one of those rare moments when you see fate’s quirky sense of timing, yesterday saw what seems to be an almost unbelievable miracle. I received word that a letter I had sent to the NW EcoBuilding Guild was being taken seriously, that my request for help to finish my home and leave this tent had not fallen upon deaf ears. I do not know what will become of this; I only know they read my words and have passed them on to others to read as well. But the hope blazing in my chest is a vastly more wondrous feeling than the despair of so many years ago.

Today is indeed a very Happy Birthday for me filled with much anticipation and excitement for life and what the next year may bring.