Cofrin Park

Cofrin Park
Cofrin Nature Park

Friday, December 27, 2013

My BioCored Work with Nathalie Fossé and Fossé Restorative Therapy

Just finished my 5th BioCored session with Nathalie at her studio, Fossé Restorative Therapy, and I feel so much better than when I started! I don't know how she does it. She has some sort of energy force that she transmits to her clients. Nathalie was my last appointment of the day, after a grueling physical therapy session with my foot-guy, Scott, who upped my exercise reps (at least he massaged my calves/Achilles tendons and fixed the strained Achilles tendon issue.)

Again, not in the mood for more exercise work, but Nathalie gently coached me through some easy and some not so easy movements, assessing my progress along the way: "Relax your neck, relax your jaw, lift your abs. You are so determined--relax your brain and close your eyes..." and so it went.

With Nathalie's direction, at some point I felt I became one with the bungees--they became an extension of my arms, instead of a discomfort. I stopped fighting them, and released my control.

Nathalie and I agree that it's up to the patient to do the work with the expert guidance of a professional who gives a damn. She's a teacher in the end. However, she is also a gifted, empathetic healer, vigilant and knowledgeable and always learning herself, she admits. She sees what the patient cannot. Although we all know our own bodies better than anyone, should we pay attention to its messages, Nathalie studies her patients and observes how their bodies have decided to "settle" in order to compensate for years of abuse.

A patient's current posture and way of moving has become the new "normal," which is not normal at all. Nathalie seeks to correct that.

Nathalie's work is very personal and attuned to each individual. Unlike the traditional physical therapy setting, where the physical therapist works with several patients simultaneously, Nathalie devotes the entire time to her patients' needs. She watches you like a hawk. She directs seemingly small adjustments in your body alignment, that really make a world of difference in how you perform the exercise and thus, the progress you make.

In that respect, her work is superior, and why she gets noticeable results. For example, although I felt the burn the next day, the day after that, my posture improved and even though the knots in my back remained, they "softened" and I felt relief! Ahhhhh.....

I'm grateful Nathalie toils away in her studio, teaching clients and patients how to restore their bodies back to a healthy and balanced state. She's taught me in a few short sessions better body awareness, how to correct my posture and the significant role it plays in restorative work and how BioCored exercises complement and encourage those efforts.

In case you missed the video in the last post featuring Nathalie's BioCored work with me:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Have you given up on restoring your body back to health after injury or degenerative issues, and wish you felt good in your own body like you did when you were a kid? Don’t give up just yet! I am investigating different modalities that show promising results for those who suffer with chronic pain and old injuries.

We've all heard of acupuncture and chiropractic. They can either help or hurt, depending upon the practitioner. I've done both. They seem to work for a bit, and then it's back to square one. Most modalities require months and months of expensive treatments, leaving the patient perhaps better, perhaps not.

But have you heard about  ortho-bionomy or BioCored? These lesser known modalities follow ancient-healing roots that take into account the body's energy and communication systems. That's right--your body talks to itself, but it whispers in a foreign language, so you don't pay attention to it. You must learn to listen and discover how the body seeks to heal itself. Sounds a bit odd, but makes sense in the way that we can't see air but we breathe it, makes sense.

I'll look at the biocored method today, through the lens of a new practitioner, Nathalie Fossé.

Nathalie shows off because I asked her to!

BioCored, according to its website, is "an equipment and education company," that has developed a system of movement that corrects various issues that lead to pain and immobility, such as dormant and atrophied muscles and incorrect muscle firing patterns. The system is intended to complement traditional fitness and medical interventions.

As one moves through the BioCored method, according to Nathalie’s interpretation, the brain maps and remaps itself, which results in disorganizing pain pathways that have become entrenched. The series of movements using the bungee-like cords that hang from a ceiling support compel the body to use the proper muscles the way they were meant to be used. Muscles begin to move or “fire” correctly, thus eliminating the body’s compulsion to recruit the “wrong” muscles that had been taking over, due to injury and poor posture. Result: less pain, even with the first session of BioCored. And, unlike traditional methods, the results improve with each session, and they last.

The results last, because the body has been retrained to do its thing, rather than being “told” what to do. It follows the same pattern we do: if you try to force me to do something, even if it’s for my own good, I won’t do it. But, if you take a kinder, gentler approach, teaching me to make changes myself, you will have greater success. The body and mind have a similar relationship:

No pain no gain is bullshit. Less is more is golden,” Nathalie says. She has experienced both, and has learned that gentle massage, based on manipulation of the fascia, and exercise work more efficiently and effectively than forceful intense approaches. Using the BioCored equipment protects the joints during exercise. 
Nathalie demonstrates the plank using BioCored
Nathalie Fossé  is currently seeking her Master's Training in BioCored. She is in the process of adding the BioCored modality to her therapy and yoga practice, at Fossé Restorative Therapy, LLC. Her decision to learn and practice the BioCored method came out of the frustration with traditional massage and post-surgical physical therapy, both of which take an enormous time commitment from patient and practitioner, with limited results. Nathalie also suffers from past injuries and has personally experienced fantastic results with the BioCored method, including pain reduction, increased mobility, improved strength, better balance and a new-found connection with her own body.

Nathalie says that the goal of utilizing BioCored is to restore the body to homeostasis. This happens in the brain. The BioCored method assists the brain by balancing the physical body and allowing the brain to receive the messages the body sends, without interference from referential pain receptors that camouflage the real reason one is suffering.

The controlled instability, created through the use of the bungee-like cords while performing exercise movements, accomplishes this by incorporating higher brain systems such as the proprioceptive and visual sensory systems of the body. 

Nathalie says that understanding how it works is akin to understanding how an amputee can still feel pain in the amputated limb. The amputee's brain has not been retrained. The pain is no longer in the lost limb, however the pain still resides within the brain!

The BioCored method seeks to address pain issues, for example, by enlisting the brain as part of the equation, unlike the traditional allopathic approach that focuses on symptoms and disease rather than restoring the entire organism.

Nathalie assesses my alignment
I spent a couple of hours with Nathalie working through the BioCored process. My mobility increased in my “bad” arm, after only a few subtle movements. Some of the more advanced movements reminded me of yoga postures—they look deceptively simple, but they are not!

Nathalie quickly confirmed what traditional practitioners have told me:
I still list slightly to the right. When Nathalie corrected my body alignment, however, I did not experience discomfort, which usually happens when the body has realignment issues.

Nathalie teaches me the plank

My second session with Nathalie, I noticed a grounding, better posture, freedom of movement, despite still having the myofascial knot issues in my back. Of course, I wanted everything fixed right away, but it doesn’t’ work like that. It's a process. Naturally, I asked the unanswerable question “When can I expect to be all better, with no painful knots?”

Patiently, Nathalie explained how expectations can interrupt the process and stall progress, because while we focus on the “bad” area we want fixed, we fail to notice subtle changes that are taking place in the parts of the anatomy that are the root cause of the problem. We become obsessed with immediate and perfect results. Instead, we must trust the process, do the work and allow the body to follow its own path back to restoration. We plant the seed of healing in our brain by sewing corrective exercises that rebuild the damaged areas and relieve stressed areas. The homeostasis manifested brings relief as we harvest the benefits of the process.

I think Nathalie was trying to tell me that physical therapy is not a magic wand. But it can be miraculous.

Nathalie tries to help me show off using BioCored. Not quite.

My third visit with Nathalie I felt weak, recovering from a cold and having been up most of the night, before I got some winks. Not in the mood for exercise!

Nathalie had been in her studio since 6:00am, so how could I complain? We proceeded with the exercise therapy plan.

Nathalie assessed my eye movement, explaining that the eyes, the vision, control muscle movement.

“What if you’re blind?” I asked.

Nathalie told me that blind folks compensate and learn how to “place” themselves through other systems, like the proprioceptive system of the body.Proprioceptive information is sensations from muscles and joints, and it helps to place us in space. The rest of us generally rely on vision to place ourselves, and that leads to how our bodies use muscles.

Nathalie then addressed my pain issues of the decade: neck, upper back/scapula “knots” that limit my swimming and daily activity. She led me through BioCored exercises that targeted the "correct" muscles, and although I had done similar exercises in other physical therapy settings, the BioCored was more subtle. Nathalie also vigilantly monitored me as I went through the movements. I could not cheat! 

One of the most impressive things about working with Natalie: she has such a unique and strict awareness of the physical body and can observe the tiniest changes in my posture, which is critical to performing the exercises correctly.

Nathalie has such a calming nature and comprehensive knowledge regarding the mind/body connection and how BioCored complements that balance. You feel her passion for her work and a confidence in the fact that she strives for positive results in each individual with whom she works.

Just like any new demand you place on your body, BioCored exercises leave their mark: I’m still in pain, however, I have much freer movement. I also felt more energized and balanced than when we started. I’m glad I went: especially since the next day I felt much less pain! The work was working!

Nathalie wants me to judge her work and asked me to commit to once a week sessions for 5 weeks. Since my other physical therapist released me, I think I can give her a more focused assessment of our work together. Plus, she makes me laugh and complemented me on my shapely legs!

I’m so vain. Check out the video:

Friday, November 15, 2013


Gene loves this meal. Me too. Gluten Free with brown rice pasta and dairy free with coconut milk and cashews to give the sauce a creamy texture. This recipe has many ingredients and takes some prep work, however, once the sauce is made, it keeps well in the fridge for several days and in the freezer for several weeks. This recipe feeds two people.

Organic Brown Rice Pasta cooked according to package instructions for 2 people. Prepare in advance and set aside, or cook pasta just before serving.
6-8 Scallops depending upon size and your appetite.
Curry Sauce (preparation recipe below.)
Steamed Broccoli (steam for 5 minutes and cool immediately in ice bath and set aside for adding to sauce just before serving.)


Heat on Medium High: 1 Tablespoon each of Coconut Oil and Clarified Butter(optional) or Olive Oil
1/2 Cup chopped Onions
4 Cloves fresh Garlic
1 thumb-sized piece Fresh Ginger
1/2 Cup chopped Celery

2 Tablespoons Whiskey
2 Tablespoons dry white wine

Turn off the heat.

1 Cup Homemade Chicken Stock (if frozen, heat until liquefied.)
1 Cup Organic Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Chili Paste
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce (no sugar added)
Lime juice from 1/2 a lime
Black and White pepper to taste
Salt, if desired
1 teaspoon Dark Sesame Oil, if desired

Return sauce to pan and simmer on low heat to reduce slightly.
If thicker sauce is desired, add 1/4 teaspoon thickener like xantham gum or arrowroot powder and whisk in while the sauce simmers. Do not boil the sauce.

Add the broccoli and heat through.

Defrost the scallops, if needed, and pat dry.
Oil the scallops lightly (optional)
Coat the scallops in the dry rub in equal parts of Cocoa Powder, Turmeric and Coriander Powders (about 1 Tablespoon each for 8 Scallops.)

SAUTE the scallops on medium heat in 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil.

Combine the pasta and enough sauce to coat the pasta as desired.

Top with the scallops and serve!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Quick and easy way to prepare salmon fillets that taste fantastic and look beautifully appetizing.
Pesto Salmon for dinner

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2 sockeye salmon fillets (skin on or off)
Parsley Pesto: blend in blender:
1 bunch curly parsley
4 cloves peeled garlic
1/4 c walnuts
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon
1 Tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

PREHEAT OVEN: 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Vibrant Sockeye Salmon

Place salmon fillets skin side down on an oiled grill grate over pan.
Top fillets with pesto.
Bake about 7-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and remove the skin. I either discard the skin or crisp it up in the oven and serve with the salmon.
Serve over greens or rice.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Medical Malaise, Starring the Reluctant Patient

Been frequenting medical offices these last few months, following an over three year hiatus. (They had me at colonoscopy.) Now I'm playing catch-up, and that game is harder than I anticipated.

I've spent this past week on crutches, visited my general practitioner, an orthopedic doc, physical therapists, had x-rays and a noisy MRI and ended the week with an excision of 4 inches of skin to remove a lentil-sized morphia basil cell: some type of sneaky skin cancer that just popped up out of nowhere and landed on my back, looking very unobtrusive, blending in with an allergic rash. The rash disappeared. The basil bump did not. Apparently, those adolescent hours in the sun, slathered in cocoa butter, have taken their toll. Burning Woman.

The next several weeks do not look much better. Five more appointments, and counting...inflamed this, torn that; degenerative this, deteriorated that; chronic this, syndrome that, and another "superficial" basil cell on the

Have you noticed that surgeons like to describe measurements in metric, knowing that most of us who went through the old American school system do not use metric measurements, and therefore do not know exactly what they mean? "Can you tell me in inches?" No they could not, so I asked the surgeon to draw me a picture. She drew an ellipse around a quarter-sized circle. (Hope she cuts and sews better than she draws, or I'm foo-bared.)

Having never been cut before, at least voluntarily, I did not like the size of it. My heart pounded. My blood pressure spiked in retaliation and I made ready to bolt. Instead, I rolled over and took the shots they said would numb me out. They didn't work. How many times is this guy gonna stab me? I felt more anxious than ever. I waited to feel the knife slice through my innocent flesh. I had not slept the night before and felt nauseous all morning. Would projectile vomiting stop the insanity?  I hate to expel food through the same door it came in, so I tried to breathe and stay very still. I looked at my fashionable gown and squeaked "who's blood is that?" "It's yours," said a voice from above. I looked up at the white gauze soaked with my blood that lay on the surgical tray. Such a vibrant shade of red, I thought. I do eat beets every day...

During the procedure, my surgeon announced that she was 19 years old (she looked 17), and had just cleaned up her life, commenting that she should call and apologize to her parents for her earlier errant ways. "Thanks for instilling confidence!" I croaked. "Doogie Howser," I heard in unison.

The surgical nurse added that he had left home at age 15 and drove his parents into premature aging with his disappearance into the tattoo culture, reappearing months later with body art and attitude. Sorry mom.

O.K. Where's the camera? "IT'S LIVE SATURDAY NIGHT!" And I am the unwitting star!

"We're done! We got all the cancer." Thank you. I tried to move. I cannot seem to get up off this table. Get me outta here! But wait! When can I....? No movement that may tear the stitches. No swimming for 2 weeks? No shower for 48 hours? I'll wrap it in plastic.

And that's exactly what I did the next morning. I recruited my bunny, Gene, and he taped over the wound with plastic. Then I took one of the shortest showers of my life. I'm a water-baby. One of my childhood nicknames was "the shower queen." I need water rushing over me, baptizing me at least once a day, preferably thrice, so a half-shower didn't cut it. But, I felt grateful for the quick head soak anyway.

The moral of the story--well here's a couple:

1) Although it may seem easier to bask along the river of denial, don't' do that! You know your body better than anyone, and you must take responsibility for it's care, because you only get one! Take care of it now! Heed the warning signs your body emits. They may be subtle at first, so do not ignore the messages your body sends you. Get symptoms evaluated as soon as you notice something is not quite right.

I suspected that the lesion on my arm could be cancerous, yet I let it go for years. I've been limping out of dance classes for months, playing injured, pushing past a myriad of pains. Now I have to sit on the sidelines for as long as it takes. Don't do that.

2)  Caring for your body, the temple of your soul, takes courage and perseverance, especially since you may eventually need to allow a stranger, like a surgeon, perform their magic. Never assume that all is well, just because you happen to find yourself in a doctor's care. You must accept complete responsibility for your health at all times. The doctor is merely a tool in your care kit.

Trust your instincts when dealing with the medical profession, or any profession, for that matter. Enlist a confidant who can accompany you to office visits and record the conversations. Research your conditions so you know your options, rather than blindly trusting the doctor, who unfortunately is at the mercy of the insurance companies and hospital administrators. Ask questions, and more questions and don't make a decision until you feel comfortable with the answers.

You are the star of your life and deserve star treatment. Give it!

I'm off to the shower...

Friday, August 23, 2013


I have had my little love affair with wheat since childhood bagels and grandma’s homemade bread, fresh from the oven. I even ate the raw dough, after playing with it for awhile. Edible play-dough.

Years of eating bologna sandwiches for school lunch satisfied my hunger, but I wanted to eat 10 of them, not just the one I got in my lunchbox. Sunday brunch BLT’s, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels--the American Way!  My mouth waters just writing this. Just can’t get enough! (AND I've been making awesome sourdough bread for over 20 years.) 

Naturally, I did not want to learn that my wheat addiction must end. I already gave up ice cream! Please say it ain't so. I loved my bread and could eat half a loaf in one sitting.

But, that was then, and this is now—the age of hybridized and genetically altered grains in favor of high yields, environmentally-armored plants and even plants born to be “Round-Up Ready.” Round-Up Ready? I don’t know about you, but I think I’d rather skip the poison-ready breed of bread that stocks the grocery shelves.

Cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, in his NY Times Bestseller, Wheat Belly
put his medical background and intuition to work, and presents the science behind the notion that wheat is bad for human consumption. Not only those with celiac disease have ill reactions to wheat, says Davis. (Celiac disease affects the intestine and causes severe malnutrition that can lead to death in severe cases.) 

Davis claims that wheat “…the world’s most popular grain is also the world’s most destructive dietary ingredient.” (p. x of the Introduction.) He warns us that we should not eat wheat because it attacks nearly every system in our bodies, including skin, bowel, liver, heart, brain, you name it.

Davis backs his wheat offensive with research, clinical trials and case studies of his own patients. He devotes the first two-thirds of the book defending the premise that wheat, and more specifically the gluten that is in wheat and other grains, is very bad for us. Bad because we were not meant to eat the hybridized wheat of today, a completely different plant than what our hunter-gather forbearers consumed. That wheat, called "Einkorn" contained 14 chromosomes. Today's wheat contains over 40 chromosomes. The genetic alterations wheat has endured are foreign to our systems, even toxic, says Davis.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Watch you pets interact and you might learn something. Two-year-old Parker the Labrador-mix, who used to live outside, joined his new family of 5 indoor cats and one women, who no longer wanted the label of "cat lady."

How would all these animals get along? The cats had not lived with a dog. The dog had lived outside, and did not know any cats. 

Parker knew he was outnumbered, so he did the smart thing, and deferred to those already ruling the kingdom. He turned on all his puppy-ish charm and warmed the hearts of very proud and territorial kitties. He showed his appreciation of acceptance by gently preening one of his new charges, Cooper the cat.

Let's follow Parker's advice: respect your differences and take care of each other's needs, like grooming, (and don't eat the other's food, either.)

Here's Parker the Dog, preening Cooper the Cat:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Do you like to eat? Do you look forward to each meal? I do. I find eating so enjoyable that I try to do a little of it every day.

I like to eat tasty and nutritious foods that make me feel satisfied and energized. I forage weekly to accomplish that goal. I thought I was improving. And then I started reading about food. Dr.Joel Fuhrman, in his book Eat to Live, the Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, insists you eat beans, including soybeans, or legumes every day because they reduce cholesterol and blood sugar, digest slowly and are nutritionally dense. (p.183) He recommends eliminating animal and dairy products too. 

I watched the PBS Specials on what to eat for a healthy brain with Dr. Daniel Amen and what to eat to fend off metabolic syndrome and diabetes with Dr. Mark Hyman.  Both doctors say we need animal protein. They site blogger, Mark Sisson, of, as an authority for the primal way of life that advocates eating according to our ancestral genetic makeup.

 Did I get it wrong?

Pick up almost any diet book and prepare for indoctrination into the author’s kitchen confidential. What do all these books have in common? One thing: Eat organic greens like spinach and chard and cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts. That’s it. They all tell you what not to eat, and that list varies, however they all strictly prohibit highly processed foods packaged for long shelf life because they contain the evil high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils both of which disrupt our delicate endocrine system and make us addicted and fat.   
Rainbow Swiss Chard

Brussels Sprouts

These diet books diverge into several camps that involve food eliminations, for example: no wheat or no dairy or no sugar or no grains. Then they tout the choice foods that will save our lives and give us vibrant health and energy.

Looks logical enough, however, the authors, many of whom are medical doctors, cannot agree on what that list of perfect foods should be. Even worse, they cannot agree on food preparations, calorie-counting, timing each meal or snack and whether to fast. That’s why we all stare blankly into the fridge and wonder what foodstuffs to munch on, after we've had mounds of greens and still feel un-sated.

Food is good. Food is life. We want to enjoy our food, not stress about every bite.
At least the authors agree on that—stressing about food is bad.

Why can’t the diet gurus get together and agree on a food plan and then stock the grocery shelves accordingly? (Well, we know that’ll never happen if Big Agra, Big Pharma, Monsanto and the grocers’ union have there say. But that’s another story.)

The confusion amongst the diet authors happens because the food debate is in its infancy. We really don't know all there is to know about food and how it reacts within our bodies yet.

Accordingly, diet book authors tend to set one strict plan for everyone, based on what they have studied and observed. These highly-credentialed authors politely dodge the fact that each individual reacts differently to certain food. For example, a peanut allergy would send the afflicted into anaphylactic shock, but I can eat peanut butter by the jar, if I wanted.

Even though in its infancy, the diet debate has coaxed out the science behind the food we eat. The biology shows that not only is food medicine, but food is information. The foods we eat break down into their basic molecules during digestion and send particular genes information telling them to turn on or off. Different food sends different information. That information can either benefit the organism by supporting its immune system, or it can disrupt the organism by turning on genes that give the body the message to destroy what it believes to be a foreign invader, when in fact, it ends up attacking itself. This response leads to auto-immune disease.

My science background sits of the head of a pin, so I find this “food is information” stuff fascinating and exciting, albeit hard to explain, so I’ll just add that Mom was right again! You ARE what you eat!

With all the conflicting information in diet books and diet websites, including gurus who say we should eat like gorillas or eat like our hunter-gatherer ancestors for optimum health, who can we trust? What should we eat?

I don’t know, however, I have made some distinctions after studying the subject ad nauseam. I have some starting suggestions that I have found helpful because they make intuitive sense and I have noticed increasingly better health as I follow them:

1)     Eat as cleanly as possible by eating organically;
2)     Eat the rainbow of fruits and veggies;
3)     Eat smaller portions that leave you feeling sated buy not full;
4)     Eat real food, nothing packaged (except for a few things that have less than 5  ingredients on the label, like canned tomato paste);
5)     Eat according to your hunger and ENJOY YOUR FOOD;
6)     Eliminate gluten and sugar, as these foods promote insulin resistance and diabetes, and also restrict starchy veggies and grains that do the same;
7)     Eliminate foods that makes you feel sick or tired (I know what you're thinking);
8)     Prepare your own food or choose a restaurant that offers nutritional fare(it becomes routine and even fun);
9)     Plan meals and snacks in advance;
10) Drink water—do not drink your calories;
11) Keep a food journal for at least 8 weeks and notice how foods affect you;
12) Know what you are eating and why by learning as much as you can about our food, where it comes from, how it’s harvested and why we should or should not eat particular foods or food-like substances.

Bon appetite!

Have you changed your diet lately? Tried new things? Eliminated foods? How’s it working for you? Please let us know in the comment section! Thank you!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Although I have my "Awesome Bread Recipe" on this blog, I have been wheat-free for over 8 weeks and may remove the recipe...

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The RAGBRAI tour began Sunday, July 21st and ends on Saturday, July 27th. Tradition dictates that riders dip their back bike tire in the Missouri River to start the tour, and their front tire in the Mississippi River to end the tour. No word yet on whether Chuck dipped his back tire, however, Chuck has so far completed over 300 miles on his brand-new tandem bike. The bike has already undergone some tweaking-type repairs, but nothing serious.

Chuck training in Spin Class

Chuck's training at the gym with Spin Classes several times a week, and weight training twice a week has paid off! Here's the proof: Chuck earned his "Century Ride" patch Tuesday, by riding over 100 miles in one day! Bring on the butt-butter! Yes, there really is such a thing called "Butt Butter!" Chuck showed me his stash before he left for Iowa, and it did not look all that tasty. Chuck called me last night and assured me that he had some "Butt Butter" stories to tell upon his return. I can't wait!

Chuck's friend, Pam, who drove them both to Iowa transporting Chucks new bike, is also riding as part of the support team for the disabled riders. Chuck tells me her knees are feeling the pain of such a grueling ride. Wishing her and her knees strength and endurance so she can enjoy the ride.

Chuck has posted several photos on Facebook. He looks intact. Facebook pics

When we talked on the phone I felt Chuck's child-like, passionate enthusiasm for his adventure. He's having a blast, and I'm jealous! I am also very proud of Chuck and what he's accomplished. Well done, Chuck!

See you at the finish...


Having a difficult time printing out a particular blog post or webpage because the print feature on your computer prints EVERYTHING, including all ads and pictures, wasting precious paper and ink? Not to mention that you want a clean, ad-free copy printed out, sans the website's graphics? I found another solution that offers more options than the method of highlighting text and right clicking the mouse, a problematic method should you wish to eliminate photos surrounded by text, for example.

Print Friendly and PDF

Yesterday, before I learned the "highlighting method," I wanted to print out one of the recipes on my blog, and found I could not simply print the recipe without all the graphics and ads.I researched the World Wide Web. Goggle led me to "Print-Friendly," a website that helps you to print out what you want for free! Print-Friendly has several options, including adding their print button to your website, blog, or to the bookmarks bar on your computer. I used the feature wherein you copy the URL of the page you wish to print, and paste it on their website, as instructed. It worked, and I got an ad-free, graphics-free printout of my recipe! I have also added the "Print" button to this page, by copying the code from their website and inserting it above. It functions as well.

In order to print a single blog post (like a recipe) you must isolate the post by clicking on the title. Otherwise, the entire blog shows in the print-pop-up window. For example, if you are reading this post by browsing through this blog, one post after another, and you click on the above "Print Friendly" icon, you will get my entire blog showing up in the print-preview. However, should you read this post by clicking on its title, and then click on the above icon, you will only get this post showing in the print-preview window.

Here is a link to the website that allows you to copy the URL address and paste that address into a bar that says ""enter a url": A pop-up window appears with the website printer-preview. It allows you to remove images. It allows you to delete lines that you do not need printed, line by line. You can change the type size. There is a PDF option too. Such options do not work with the highlighting method.

NOTE: My initial test for printing out webpages that did NOT work are Facebook and Yahoo Mail. In order to print off those website pages, use the highlighting method: highlight the text (left click, hold and drag the mouse) and then right click and select the print option from the pop-up window. Make sure to keep the curser positioned within the highlighted text that you want to print.

Happy printing!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Friday, May 24, 2013


The zigzag path toward a goal is littered with obstacles and enemies, no doubt about it. But who wants to think about that, when in hot pursuit of your dream?

Chuck’s RAGBRAI goal, to ride tandem this summer, has gotten bumpy. Chuck shared some of his setbacks with me, and the repercussions keep him from writing a timely post, so I’m giving it a try.

Chuck outside the gym.

First Setback

Cheryl, Chuck’s first choice for Captain, and the person who introduced him to RAGBRAI, has had to withdraw, due to her own cascade of setbacks that make it impossible to safely ride the Captain position on the tandem bike in RAGBRAI. Tears were shed and Cheryl will be missed.

This first setback has left Chuck without a Captain, so he tried to cajole me into the position. Sorry, dude, I know my limitations, and they include not wanting to add to my list of injuries, not to mention yours. (See setback number three.)

Second Setback

The tandem bike promised to Chuck by the Veteran’s Administration may not get to him in time to train and ride in RAGBRAI. Game over?

Chuck: “I’m going to wait until next year’s RAGBRAI.”
Ann: “No you’re not. Not after listening to you talk about it and getting excited about it these last few weeks. Contact the people in charge and get that bike delivered. Find another Captain.” (I knew he didn’t really mean what he said, because he had no conviction in his voice. He just wanted to let off steam and regroup.)

Chuck rebounded quickly. He hounded the woman in charge at the VA. He wrote a letter to his Congress-person! The Congress person responded!
Chuck’s determination and independence led to success: The bike would be delivered by June, giving Chuck time to train on his own bike.

Chuck also learned, through his tenacious persistence with phone calls, that RAGBRAI could provide him with a seasoned Captain for the week-long ride. He plans to take them up on that offer (which I highly encouraged in a very nice way.)

Third Setback

Have you ever consistently ridden a bike, logging many miles, and not fallen off? I didn’t think so. I clearly remember one particularly painful incident, when I was a kid, testing the speed limit of my 10-speed bike. I spun out on some stray gravel and flew ass-over-tea-kettle past the racer-handle bars and into the street. Bloodied up arms and legs did not keep me from remounting my pony, however. It wasn’t the pony’s fault. It’s good to be a kid. Helmet? We didn’t have helmets in the dark ages. And barely any brain damage at all…xosentiljvseothlueog23780s….

Now imagine falling off a bike going 30 miles an hour as a fully grown, six-foot-two, 200-some pound adult. Ouch!

Chuck’s luck took a sabbatical the day he and his friend Pam road the Hawthorne Trail. A rogue pole jumped out into the middle of the paved trail, and they slammed into it. The jagged edges of the pole ripped a hole in Chuck’s leg.

But that was not the worst of the story. After remounting the tandem bike, the busy weekend bike traffic somehow forced Pam off the paved path and into the rough so fast, that as she aimed the bike back onto the paved path, the tires caught on the asphalt “lip.” Down they went again. Chuck hit hard, testing the safety of his bike helmet.

And then, the bike broke down. It seemed they might have to walk the 10 miles back to base. This was bad news, because Chuck’s bloodied leg was swelling up to the size of a grapefruit.  

But luck felt sorry for the two battered riders, and returned.

Janice, a spin-class buddy, happened to be out riding with her family. Her husband had all the tools and repaired the tandem. Chuck and Pam rode back to base, bleeding and in pain, but not defeated.

Retired Army officer Chuck shook it off. Instead of heading for surgery, he spent the next day chaperoning his son’s class visit to the Tampa Zoo. That involved many steps on an injured limb.

Needless to say, an infection began brewing. Pain levels elevated. When was your last tetanus shot?

Chuck finally succumbed and saw the doctor. The doctor kept Chuck most of the day, treating Chuck’s injury. Strong medications surged into Chuck’s system, knocking him down for the next several days.

About two weeks later, Chuck resumed his training at the gym, more determined than ever to attain his goal.

Chuck embodies Winston Churchill’s attitude, evident in his affirmations:

“Never, never, never give up.”

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

And on of my favorites: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Keep going, Chuck, keep going…

Friday, April 12, 2013


Who wants some TASTY MEATBALLS that are EASY TO PREPARE, go with many other recipes, freeze well, travel well and PROVIDE PROTEIN, without wheat?
For those who which to avoid wheat products, here's a twist on an old classic meatball recipe that I bake, instead of pan fry. Traditional recipes call for bread crumbs. I substitute rolled oats, which tastes better, no wheat and superior texture. The meatballs do not fall apart when added to sauce.

These spicy meatballs have a depth of flavor that even my many men love! No one could not tell that I used turkey instead of beef.

Print Friendly and PDF


1.25 lbs Lean ground turkey
1 large egg
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 Tablespoons tamari sauce (low sodium)
2 Tablespoons chili paste
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sage

Preheat oven: 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix all ingredients, except the turkey, in a bowl.

Add the turkey to the ingredients and combine. I use my hands.

Form mixture into approximately golf-ball sized meatballs. Use a 1/3 measuring cup to get equal portions.

Place meatballs on a non-stick baking sheet (or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.) Very lightly coat meatballs with olive oil. [NOTE:  Aluminum foil does not work well. The meat will stick to the foil, and tear when turning the meatballs!]

Bake for 10-15 minutes until meatballs begin to brown.
Turn meatballs to brown on other side.
Bake another 10 minutes.

Serve warm with grilled veggies; or cool and store in covered container, and refrigerate.

COOKS NOTE:  I refrigerated meatballs in container for 24 hours before adding to marinara sauce. Tasted fantastic!

Freezes well.

Great travel food for lunch!

Please let me know how you like it!

Monday, April 1, 2013

RAGBRAI: A Tandem Riding Adventure: The Blind Biker Rides the Trails.

Chuck continues his tandem training with his first bike trail ride.
Enter Chuck:

RAGBRAI: A Tandem Riding Adventure
The Blind Biker Rides the Trails
I felt an unfamiliar Florida winter chill against my skin —with the wind blowing from the north and the temp in the 50’s, on the morning Jim Wright and I chose to ride the bike trail. Jim arrived at my home around 11:30 bearing gifts: cycling shorts, jerseys, socks, arm warmers, a water bottle and a helmet.  I was overjoyed to receive these gifts.  Jim suggested that I wear the long sleeve jersey and another short sleeve one on top for warmth, when he saw me dressed for a summer ride.
We sat and discussed our strategy for the ride, I trusted Jim to select the best route. Jim knows the safest areas to ride in the city and he chose a great one.  We rode for about one hour and thirty minutes.    
Prior to the ride, Jim gave me a quick lesson on the importance of bicycle maintenance before the ride: check the tires, the pedals and the seats.  The seats are especially important because a slightly incorrect seat-setting will cause your butt to get sore. I can attest to that fact: I am sitting on an ice pack as I write this.
We began our ride on the city streets.  The ride through busy traffic did not intimidate me, however, as Jim’s confidence level helped me feel very comfortable. Before I knew it, we had passed through all the traffic and were cruising down SR 121 at a healthy 30 mile per hour pace. 
As we rode, my mind rambled along into a past memory: I was 12 years old again, the wind whipping my face and feeling alive with excitement. We were Batman and Robin off to save the citizens of Gotham City.  It was so amazing!  I felt the adrenaline rush through me and nothing mattered except the ride.  The best part of this adventure was having someone right in front of me to share the experience, as I re-lived my happy, 12-year-old self.
On our return, we passed some of Jim’s riding buddies of many years. I got to enjoy being a part of the club; and thankful for our new-found friendship. 
During the ride, we only had to stop the bike two times; once for a gear malfunction and the other for a stop light.  Jim has so much experience that negotiating stops and turns are second nature to him.  I just did as he commanded and all was well. 
 When the ride ended, I realized the importance of the seat position: mine was off, so I found it difficult to walk, stand, sit or even lie down, when I finally dismounted the bike.  Jim promised to adjust the seat for our next ride. 
The ride taught me that spin class and outdoor riding affect your body differently.  I made a mental note to set the spin bike in the same configuration as the tandem bike.
The work I’ve put into my riding adventure has opened up the cycling universe, including Jim and his circle of friends, who have also invited me to ride with them. We’re all just a bunch of 12-year-olds taking off on our bikes to excitedly discover our world—perhaps seeing it for the first time, which is the best.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Something More Excavating Your Authentic Self , by Sarah Ban Breathnach: Book Review


Ever get one of those self improvement books and think to yourself—gosh, I'll never read that!  Rather than ignoring the idea of possibly getting some insight and instruction on how you may live your life more fully, try wading into the self improvement genre slowly, with books on tape. Listen to the CD while doing something you really enjoy.  It may surprise you that a self improvement book can actually heighten the practice of your activity.

I first listened to Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self on audio CD while hiking my favorite trail. I enjoy nature and hiking is something that can bring out the Henry David Thoreau in even the most cynical.

I shared my favorite trail with gutsy wild turkeys, skittish deer and even a pack of wolf pups bounded toward me one day. As the pups scurried back into the scrub, I ached to pick up the smallest one. She tried to hide herself in a culvert, the other pups leaving her behind. I saw myself in that pup, hiding herself—in full-on survival mode, and scared. 

While I identified with that pup, I began to appreciate that my nature walk was connecting me to myself. And listening to Something More, at that particular moment, encouraged me to explore my thoughts. Sarah’s words elevated the nature walk into a deep contemplation: I realized what trouble my thinking had gotten into; apparently, quite a bit of trouble. Yet, despite my negative mental meanderings, Sarah’s suggestions, inspiring stories and transformative insights filled me with faith and grace.

When my mind took a turn, I followed it up the tree-lined hill: “What? I didn't have to be a drone the rest of my life? I could reinvent my scratch-and-dent self? Failure is a good thing because it forces me to find out my ‘authentic needs and passionate yearnings?’ I can create a life I love? Yes, I must."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

RAGBRAI: The Tandem Bike Team Adventure: The First Ride

My buddy, Chuck, and his riding captain, Cheryl, found a kindred spirit in the tandem world, Jim Wright. Jim races tandem bikes and often rides with his wife, Kathy. for pleasure. 

Chuck relates his first tandem riding experience, and training for RAGBRAI.

Enter Chuck:
RAGBRAI: A Tandem Riding Adventure: The First Ride

I have finally experienced my first tandem bike ride, and loved it. Through tenacious persistence, I found a tandem rider, Jim Wright, in Orange Park, Florida.  He is an experienced tandem cyclist who just happened to have a racing tandem bike.  We met through a friend that I had worked with, an avid cyclist himself, Jim Funk. 
Funk, member of the Gainesville Cycling Club, posted my request on their bulletin board.  After several emails, telephone calls and a few failed meeting attempts, we arranged a time to ride in Orange Park. My captain, Cheryl Smith, drove my son Chase and me to Orange Park.

Friday, February 22, 2013


My mother's boneless pork roast smelled fantastic, however, the meat was dry and grey. Not a fan. There must be a better way to make a juicy, tender pork roast...

Last week, my sister raved about her bone-in pork roast she made in a slow-cooker. She turned it into "pulled pork."  I did not want to wait that long, so thought I'd try the cast iron dutch oven and cook the roast in a manner similar to Osso Buco (veal shanks.) 
Turned out great--tasty, firm yet tender texture and Paeleo-friendly, in case you're of that persuasion. The rib-end portion of the pork has less fat, so this slow cooking method tenderizes it beautifully, without drying out the meat! Success!

BONE-IN RIB END PORK ROAST RECIPE              Print Friendly and PDF


1.65 pound Rib End Pork Roast
Olive oil
½ bottle dry red wine
1 ounce Whiskey (optional)
2 celery ribs
3 carrots
1 large onion
½ bulb chopped garlic
1 small slice of fresh ginger (optional)

Dry Rub:
¼ t Cumin
¼ t Black Pepper
¼ t White pepper
Few shakes of Salt
¼ t Sage
Few sprinkles of Fennel seeds
¼ t Ground Coriander

Dry rub the entire roast

On medium-high heat, brown the roast in olive oil in a Dutch oven pot.
Brown roast on all sides. (This only takes a few minutes.)
Remove roast from pot and set aside.
Sauté veggies in some olive oil in same pot. Need not cook through, just want a bit of a start.
Deglaze pot with whiskey or red wine.
Add ½ bottle dry red wine to pot. (May need more to cover meat.)

Put roast back in pot and cover with veggies. 
Make sure the meat is half covered in the liquid. 
Lightly cover pot with foil. Allow for steam to escape!
Place in 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 3 hours.
Check the roast half way through the cooking process. Reduce heat to 275 degrees F, if the liquid is rapidly boiling. 
[Optional: Turn the roast over in the pot.]
Remove meat from pot and place on plate, covered with foil.
Let the meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

I served with steamed brussel sprouts and roasted sweet potato.

Watch me cooking the pork roast with one hand on the Flip Video camera: