Simone stopped learning last year. And when I say stopped learning, I mean complete resistance to even trying to identify letters or numbers above 10. She is nine years old and until last week she couldn’t sound out words, count above 12, or even identify different shapes properly. You might think that she is way behind in her learning, and I would agree with you if it were purely about her age and what grade she should be in, but it’s not. Remember, it was only about 4 1/2 years ago that she started speaking. Simone’s progress happens at a different rate than other children. We don’t go by standard “normal” progress of where a child should be. We can’t because that would be an injustice to our child. It would be a crime as well as abuse.
When she was a toddler she had an aversion to bright light and the sun coming through the windows. She would become agitated and would often scream when I took her out in the daylight and into stores. We had to keep dark wool blankets over the windows that didn’t allow any light in and kept only a few lights on in the house. At night she was calm.
We had a visual therapist that would come to our house and trained us on how to possibly make neural connections for Simmi using light and sparkly things. It involved putting sparkles in the paint we used on the walls and keeping shiny things around the room and house. We did this, and in about six months she was able to see without cocking her head to the side or trying to look out the sides of her eyes all the time. There was nothing wrong with Simone’s vision, the problem was in her brain. As those neural connections formed and then took hold, we saw progress made and we were finally able to allow light into the house as well as travel outside during the day.
My reason for sharing about her vision and neural connections has to do with how her brain seems to operate with regard to learning. It takes time for new pathways to form, but once they do, they seem to lock in and stay put. Over time these new pathways open the door for her to learn new things. It is however, all predicated on how strong that pathway is. I say this as a fact because it’s a fact for us. It’s what I’ve observed in Simmi. Is it scientific? Not really because my kid isn’t a guinea pig and she’s not involved in some sort of experiment. But I do still take to heart what the doctors and therapists have explained to us about how she learns. Without their great insights, I would not be writing about her visual progress or her speech progress.
Simone is profoundly learning disabled due to neurological deficits. Simmi had a rough start to life, and up until a few months ago lived in what I now call a nightmare.
It is as if she lived in a dreamscape. Things looked real, and she could touch and hold it, but it didn’t make sense to her reasoning mind. Its the only way I can explain what I’ve witnessed.
And while I’m on the subject of reasoning, there was very little that Simone could comprehend. She had no control over her emotional state. Everything was either fun and happy, or angry and miserable. Swinging between these two states happened often. Most people knew only the happy and fun child. That’s what you see when I post photos or videos of her. That’s who she was when we were out and about and when she would meet strangers.
I do have videos and photos of her meltdowns. I would never post them. They are far too disturbing and heart-wrenching, and it would become online fodder to twisted emotional tourists who thrive on the suffering and pain of others. Have you ever met an emotional tourist? They seem like they are a caring soul and love to have tears well up during feel-good moments, and love to demonize anything that looks remotely uncaring. Because of them and to keep the dignity of my child intact, you will need to just take my word for it. I am writing a book about our experiences, but I think I edit myself far too harshly and always want to start over, so my efforts have taken on a snail’s pace.
Where was I? Oh yes, the subject is a dreamscape. That place that seems so real to your mind, and then you wake up and realize it made no sense at all. Have you ever had a dream where you are at the store buying some milk and then while you’re at the counter your friend from the third grade asks you where the teacher put her fur coat because it was 100 degrees outside and she thought she would freeze to death if she didn’t find her fur coat? Did you ever have a dream like that? Where nothing made any sense, and one thing had nothing to do with the other? This was a daily reality for Simone.
Its the best way I can try to help others make the connection to how she used to be.
That all changed in July.
A few things happened the beginning of July that rocked our world…
While we were getting ready to move to another house in Vermont, Dom was doing dishes in the kitchen and I pulled up a chair next to him so we could chat. It wasn’t normal for me to pull up so close while he did dishes (he gets water EVERYWHERE haha), but for whatever reason, I pulled my chair up. We had an incredibly small kitchen with only one phone outlet that worked in the house. This is where my phone and wireless modem was located.
As I sat there talking with Dom, the right side of my face started to burn up like when I get hives, and then it turned purple. I started feeling really dizzy and sick. I got up from my seat and asked Dom if my face was red because it felt like it was on fire. He said it was purple. I was aware of the dangers of wireless technology and EMFs, but I never thought I was one of those unlucky people! How could I be? I worked from home on my computer! I’ve been working on my computer with WiFi for at least 8 years now.
I stepped away from the modem and within an hour the hives went away. These are the same kind of hives I’ve had been suffering with for the past 6 years! Hives so bad I thought it was the food I was eating. I thought it was something I was drinking. I never once thought it could be wireless technology.
The thought that I could be sensitive to EMFs sat like a bomb in my brain. I began to test it. I doubted that it was true. Dom doubted but not as much as me. We took an inventory of everything we had that was wireless and had a signal pulsing through it. The reason I knew about wireless technology is because I researched it back in 2011-2012 and even wrote about it on this blog back then. You can do a search on my blog and put in microwave technology as the search word to find it!
Anyway, we took inventory:
- Wireless modem (WiFi)
- Cordless house phone
- Two iPhones always on and searching for a signal
- Two Roku streaming devices
- iMac with WiFi turned on
- My Bluetooth enabled mouse and keyboard
- Bluetooth wireless speakers
- Smart Meter
We turned it all off. All but the smart meter of course. No hives, no heart palpitations, no fleeting bouts anxiety (kind of like when you think you are forgetting something but you can’t remember what). And then something happened that we never expected in a million years…Simmi was calm. She was responsive. She was alert. She was peaceful. She was sweet and helpful. She was interested in helping us. She was singing songs and making jokes. She was a different child.
The transformation seemed instantaneous, but it actually happened without us realizing it over a few hours. We were busy getting the last of our stuff into boxes and ready to move to the other house in Vermont when all this took place. Did we believe it was the EMFs yet? Nope! But the observation was made and noted.
All that week before we moved, we turned the wifi on and off. When I turned my computer on, I would get hives. This was a common thing that happened to me. So common that I never paid attention to it anymore. When I was in the store I would get these same hives. When I was out driving in my car, I would get the hives. But after not having any wireless on at all, when I turned on my computer, my face and neck looked like they had been freshly whipped by someone.
I was catching on. I saw a trend. It was during this time, that I also noticed that while I was getting hives again and heart palpitations, my blood pressure also started going up. Those mysterious times when my blood pressure would spike, all the sudden made sense. Guess what else happened? Simmi would get out of control. Yes, that sweet child who was helpful, calm, cracking jokes, and very peaceful, became unhinged, unglued, unreasonable, and having some of the worst meltdowns we have ever experienced.
This was happening to us. This was happening to her!
Then she said (and it’s not the first time she has said this to us, but the most memorable) “My heart is beeping too fast, it hurts.” Dom looked at me and freaked out. He said, “Shut it down! Shut it all down!”
We shut everything off again. All the wireless technology was off and she calmed down and my blood pressure normalized and the hives went away. No more irregular heartbeats were detected by my blood pressure monitor.
Were we convinced? Nope. It was an experience, just one of many. We’re dense people.
So we move into the next house in Vermont, and there is no cell service available. We had to go a few days without any computer or cable. This time, however, we chose to hardwire the computer and turn off the WiFi capabilities, put our cellphones on airplane mode, and got a wired landline. No more cordless phone. We also turned off the power in our rooms at night, used candles in the evening, and replaced all the compact fluorescent bulbs with incandescent. Last but not least, we had the smart meter switched to an analog meter.
It worked. And then it didn’t. And then it did. And then it didn’t.
We were so confused.
In the other house, it was absolute peace. In this house, we couldn’t understand why we still had some problems with hives, heart palpitations, and behavior problems. Then I realized that all the neighbors on our street had smart meters. When I turned on my cellphone to see what kind of wifi was available, it showed at least 4-5 connections available! There was also a cell tower within a few miles of our house, and everyone has cell phones on our block.
We were still bathing in wireless technology.
We did everything we could to lower our personal exposure, and it helped for sure! We saw all these glimpses of possibility with Simone. I looked forward to actually sleeping at night. Insomnia was another problem I had, and it was gone when we turned off all the wireless technology. I sleep very soundly now at night without a tv or any other device. Sleeping with the tv on is something I did for nearly 28 years. I know this because I remember the year I first slept with a tv on. It was only a few months after my first child was born. That’s how long my tv habit was. I could never sleep at night without the help of a tv. I broke that habit July 1, 2016, and never looked back.
So there I am, marveling at what a different kid Simone is, and then the meltdowns start again. We never attempted to start school up again for her because I wanted her to just enjoy her newfound sense of peace, in between the periods of horrific meltdowns. If I took her to the store, she would start this high pitched screaming if something didn’t go her way, if I said no, or if I said it was time to go.
She would gravitate towards areas where smart meters were and hang out there to talk with the neighbors. It was like she was addicted to EMFs on some level. The other thing that would happen when we would go into town is that on the way I would get really exhausted and she would pass out in the backseat. What was it that we were feeling? I’ll answer that for you…it was the EMFs from cell towers that were everywhere! It was at that point Dom realized that he too was affected by EMFs. He would get in his truck after work and on his way home feel so tired like he needed caffeine. When he saw Simmi pass out in the back seat in the same areas he and I also felt tired, he understood it wasn’t about being exhausted, it was about EMFs zapping our energy.
During this time we were having problems with our neighbors as well. This was all like a big nightmare.
When Dom and I went to visit a friend who lives in the National Radio Quiet Zone, that is when we found real peace. When great jobs were offered to us in the quiet zone, we looked at it as a most assured sign that this was where we needed to be for Simmi’s emotional and neurological well-being, and for mine. It all happened in one fell swoop, and all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
We live in an area of Virginia that is only about 30 minutes from Green Bank, WV in the Quiet Zone. You can do a little research to read up on what the quiet zone is if you’d like. For the sake of how long this post is getting, I’m not going to talk about that right now.
Anyway, we live where the nearest cell tower is about 10 minutes away. There are no smart meters, and only a few people in my little tiny town have wifi. Cellphones don’t work here. It is here that Simmi started to learn. No more meltdowns at all. Just peace. Does she act up from time to time? Yup, like any other normal child who may want something she can’t have, with one exception, Simmi can now understand why she can’t have something, or why she can’t do something. There are very few arguments or protests if any at all.
We have been in the quiet zone for nearly a month now (with one week under our belt in our tiny little cottage), and Simmi has recently asked to do school work. She has been doing school work every day from 10:00am-5:00 pm with a one-hour break for lunch, which is forced on her or she wouldn’t take a break. Two days ago, I made the mistake of allowing her to do school work from 9:00am-6:30 pm with an hour break and she had a meltdown. She was on serious overload and I fear she may have a setback because of it. I now have to limit her schooling to 10:00am-3:30 pm with an hour for lunch because she becomes overstimulated.
She is catching up. I switch her between three educational online programs, as well as reinforcing what she’s learned afterward. She’s getting it! She has awoken and is hungry for knowledge. She is making new neural connections and new pathways are being formed at this time. In the next few months, they will be fortified and strong! They are still new and delicate right now. If she gets burnt out because she doesn’t want to stop learning, I fear she will reconnect those old pathways she had prior to being exposed to EMFs.
In the absence of non-native EMF, my child is functional. It begs the questions, “Did she always have neurological deficits or were these deficits created when we exposed her to the baby monitor from the day she was born? She has been exposed to WiFi since birth. She has had trouble sleeping, skin conditions, allergies, learning difficulties, emotional instability, speech apraxia, global apraxia, and many other conditions. Where they due to her being born this way, or because of our wireless technology?”
Was all of this our fault, and we didn’t know it?
I can say with confidence that as we keep her away from wireless technology she is getting better. It may have unwittingly been our fault, my fault. My love and need for wireless everything. Every gadget that seems so useful also seems to have caused the greatest harm.
She is learning. She is making connections. This wasn’t a coincidence or a miracle. This was a difficult decision we made over the course of three months to stop using wireless technology, limit our exposure and get her to safety. Safety meant out of harm’s way.
Parents wouldn’t allow their children to play on a very busy street where cars are constantly racing by. They wouldn’t allow their children to be placed in a vulnerable position where they could be harmed. This is where we are at in our lives. We as parents refuse to expose our child any longer to the harmful effects of electromagnetic frequencies and magnetic radiation.
What would you do to help your child learn? Would you give up your devices? Cancel your cell phone contract? Hardwire your computer and turn off the wifi? Get rid of tablets, DECT Cordless phones, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, smart TVs, smart meters, electric cars and smart cars enabled with Bluetooth and 4G?
It is being discovered that EMFs and wireless technology have a profound effect on children with autism and ADHD, as well as children with epilepsy.
In future posts, I will be talking more about this topic and the impact it has made in not only me and Simone’s life but countless other families who suffered not knowing that wireless technology was primarily to blame for their child’s learning and behavior problems.
In the meantime, we are celebrating Simmi. We are getting to know a little girl who was hidden to us. We are hearing more complex stories from her imagination, watching her form words and learn to read. She has learned shapes, colors, to count to 50, and to do simple math. All in one week! She understands up and down, right and left (still gets a little confused on that one) near and far, tallest to shortest. She is doing math on a number line. She can read three letter words and simple books.
She can read simple books. She can read and do math. She can attend and concentrate uninterrupted for hours upon hours. She used to only be able to handle school work for 15 minutes one time per week, and couldn’t stand sitting at the table with me to learn anything. Now she begs me all day to keep going.
It is more than I could have ever asked for. It is a dream come true. My girl is awake!
In one week she has managed to get through almost all her kindergarten work. In five more lessons, she will officially be in the First Grade. This is a milestone for her. A great accomplishment.
I’m so proud of all she has accomplished, and I look forward to seeing how she does in this next month.
Forgive me, dear reader, for I have sinned. It has been three months since my last post. We have been quite busy. This post will be a recap of sorts because the details of our sorted and drama-filled saga is enough to fill a book. Yes, a book, and if all the details were set in place you might even be tempted to believe our story was a bit of fiction.
So where do I begin?
My last post was about my beautiful daughter Hannah on her birthday. We were in the process of moving to a new location because the gorgeous house we were renting was on the market and we couldn’t afford to purchase it. Mr. Scrumpy came into our lives like an adorable wrecking ball and we were excited to move to a place with some land for farming. I had big plans for that little house.
And then we moved in the beginning of July.
After signing a year lease, my son Noah needed to come home from New Mexico to live with us. He was taking a break from school and he needed to figure out what his priorities were and to set new goals for himself. The house we were renting was a two bedroom. Needless to say, we weren’t able to back out of our lease for a larger home with three bedrooms.
So there we were in this little house with our crazy dogs and a very sweet little neighborhood. We met the neighbors and everything seemed like it would be a good experience.
We had two great neighbors and two absolutely shitty neighbors. There really isn’t any other way to describe them. Shitty neighbor number one had this wiener dog that would NOT stop barking. He barked in his house, on the property, and then would come over to our property by our dogs. He stressed out Silly, terrorized Simmi while on her bike or walking down the street, and was never on a leash. His owner allowed and encouraged him to go where ever he wanted. She felt he had a right to be on our property, bothering my dogs, and emotionally upsetting my daughter.
Shitty neighbor number two was a social worker who didn’t like the way Simmi walked Mr. Scrumpy and would come outside to threaten to call the police and animal control on Simmi. If she wasn’t threatening her, she was threatening to call the police on Dom and I if we didn’t watch our kid when Simmi was walking Mr. Scrumpy. The real problem was that her dogs stayed on the south side of the house and Simmi liked to play on the hill that faces her house. She would run up and down the little hill with Mr. Scrumpy and this shitty neighbor’s dogs would bark incessantly at her. It got to the point where she needed to put up curtains so the dogs would stop barking. Needless to say, this inconvenienced her and led to her making nasty comments to Simmi if she was outside.
Without getting into all the details of the next few months, I will just say that things got ugly very quickly as both shitty human beings decided to threaten, bully, and one of them even come onto our property without our consent to do as she pleased on many occasions.
I am a protective mother. The behavior of shitty neighbor #1 did not mix well with my inability to allow people to walk all over me or my family. Its one thing to personally challenge me, it is quite another to step onto my property, berate me in front of my child, scream obscenities, and scare my child. My dogs, well, they can get over it. But my offspring? Hell no, it’s unacceptable.
After a month of ongoing drama, it came to a head with shitty neighbor #1 coming into my yard with her dog. It wasn’t my finest moment, I’ll admit it, things got ugly. She refused to leave my property with her dog, my daughter was clearly upset, and I needed to do something extreme to make this woman understand that she cannot come onto our property with her dog and touch my animals. As she continued to defy my orders for her to leave my property, I took out a hose and sprayed her with it. I didn’t just spray her, I drenched her 100% in back and then in the front. She put her hands behind her back as I sprayed her so I sprayed her face. She didn’t flinch…she was like a damn zombie.
It was a surreal Jerry Springer moment. One of our very lovely neighbors intervened, and if she didn’t, I would have had to call the police, because this woman would NOT leave my property, even after spraying her with the water.
As I said, it wasn’t my finest moment. I sprayed her with the hose, repeatedly. I did that. But you know what? Something magical happened in that moment that forever turned that horrible moment into a treasured memory…Simmi was no longer afraid.
You see, Simmi was terrified of that wiener dog and even more scared of shitty neighbor #1. When I took out that hose and started spraying shitty neighbor #1, it wasn’t only the act of spraying her that broke Simmi’s fear of this woman, it was the fact that I told Simmi to get me the hose, and then for her to turn on the water that empowered her to understand that this lady can’t hurt her.
That to me was a victory. My daughter overcame a very real fear that day. It was like spraying the boogie man…boogie woman is more like it.
I videotaped this event, as well as all of my altercations with this woman. I posted it on Facebook after it happened, and I got mixed reviews. Some thought I was well within my rights as a parent to protect my child and animals from an offender who wouldn’t take no for an answer. And then there were others who felt I went way too far and that I was wrong in spraying this woman.
I’m a big girl so I can handle both sets of opinions, but the opinion that I refuse to accept is from those who didn’t have the courage to talk directly to me, but instead chose to talk about my actions with others out of cowardice, gossip and a belief that I was dead wrong in how I handled things. No problem though, because those kinds actions show me that they thought way too much of their own moral high ground, could not empathize or even view things from my point of view and did not feel close enough to me to say it to my face. If you can’t tell me to my face, your opinion doesn’t matter, and it never will.
After my watery altercation, I sent an email to our landlord to let him know that we would start looking for another place to live.
Then something tragic happened. My son was driving home one night and hit a horse when she walked into the road after getting loose from her paddock. The horse rolled up onto the hood of the car and windshield and then fell to the ground. Noah stayed with the horse until she died. After she died, he went banging on doors to find the owners.
The death of a horse is devastating. It was very hard for Noah to get passed, but he did it. Noah walked away from the accident without a scratch. The police and firemen shook their heads not understanding how he walked away from the car without a scratch.
While all this was going on, we were in search of a new home. We didn’t know where we would go. There were no affordable rentals at that moment, and Dom and I had to figure out whether Vermont was really financially sustainable for us. Rent is very high there, as is the cost of living in general. We were in panic mode, and because both of us have fond memories of Maine, that was the first place we looked. It’s our process. There were no prospective places for us in Maine, so we kept looking.
Then, in a chance encounter, we had some personal business to attend to in Virginia and while we were there we ended up getting new jobs. Go figure! We were open to this new direction in our lives, and we finished packing up our things but, we had nowhere to live. That pesky thing called a home seemed to be eluding us.
So, even though we had nowhere to live, we got a PO Box in the town we wanted to be in, and packed up the rental truck. The day we were set to move we still didn’t have a permanent address to call home. Talk about flying by the seat of our pants! A little house became available for us to stay at until we could find something more suitable, and it meant that we would need to move AGAIN just a few weeks after arriving.
We arrived in Virginia on September 13th, and finally, we have a little cottage to call home. We haven’t moved in yet, and at the time of writing this post, we are still in boxes in the temporary house. October 1st is our move-in date. It comes at the perfect time too. We need to get new licenses and to get the cars registered, and we didn’t want to have to do that twice.
Dom started work last week. My work is a little slow going right now, and it’s a good thing because I probably wouldn’t get much done with all the moving packing and unpacking we need to do again.
So that’s a recap of three months of drama. My next post will be from our cute little tiny cottage that sits at the top of a hill in one of the most gorgeous valleys I’ve ever seen. It’s truly breathtaking here.
I have a friend who lives in our new town. I’m so excited that we will be neighbors!
We truly love it here. The area we are in reminds me of Vermont with its rolling hills. The people are very VERY friendly which caught us off guard. Everyone in this tiny community already knows who we are and many of them have already come by to say hello and give us homegrown tomatoes and homemade jelly. They bring their dogs by, and I must say, there is one dog here that completely redeemed its breed. Her name is Noodle, and she is a little wiener dog just like the one that used to terrorize Simmi. Only this time, Noodle plays ball with Simmi at the playground, and they stop by our house to say hello.
A redeemed breed I tell ya!
Life is good here. I never thought we would be over Maine. It was the place we thought we would go back to at some point. It haunts me. There is something magical about Maine that will always have my heart, but we are not meant to be there. That much is true.
We will miss our dear friends in Vermont. We loved living there until our shitty neighbor experience. It left a bad taste in our mouths for sure. But if those bad experiences never happened, we wouldn’t have had new doors open to us.
Thank god for shitty neighbors, friends that are more like family, and for a God who always watches over us and provides for us, even at the very last moment.
Here are a few snapshots of our life over the last three months:
When I was a child, I remember spending time at the beach. The sound of waves coming up against me as I waded through the water; breathing in the soft breeze of salty air; the sun as it kept me warm in the water and the sounds of people and birds around me lulling me into an almost trance-like state. I was on autopilot in the water, overtaken and swept into the hypnotic rhythm of the ocean.
Time would cease and before long I was out in the ocean for hours. It was often difficult to get me out of the water when I was young. And then it would always happen- I would reach the breaking point of exhaustion from being out in the sun and water all day. My exhilaration would turn to dread as I would fight my way back to shore in what seemed like a battle for my very soul.
I fought the undertow, the waves, and the ruthless sun, to get to shore where I could drop onto my sandy towel and fall asleep for a few hours. The battle to get to shore was always hard, would make my heart race and I would panic that I wasn’t getting any closer to leaving the water.
This is what trauma feels like to me. One moment I’m are basking in the beauty of a perfect life, and in the next moment, I’m battling for my very existence.
In the start of 2015, Dom and I set out to discover what we really wanted in our lives. We knew what we wanted, we knew where we wanted to be, and as the months unraveled, we came to understand how it would all unfold.
We believed in each other. We also had faith in people we didn’t even know. Reaching for our goals and dreams and heading into a farm partnership was like being out in the mystic ocean. It was a dream. And a nightmare.
Coming out of that situation was traumatic. And as quickly as we were settled there, it felt like God scooped down his big beautiful hand into the water pulled us out of that ocean where we were fighting to get to shore, and hurled us through the air two states over, from Maine to Vermont.
The first month in Vermont I walked around with my shoulders tightly raised. Every muscle and fiber in my body was clenched in agony and exhaustion. I wanted to just disappear into a dark hole and cry for a long time. I couldn’t however because I also had to think about how that would affect Simmi and Dom.
The second month in Vermont brought my very old and well-hated adversary, Mold. My exhaustion continued and now enter illness to set off a cascade of autoimmune responses. I lost my hair and feared I would lose my life.
The third month in Vermont brought some comfort and healing. No more exposure to mold meant that my body could begin to recover. But my heart and emotions are still damaged, writhing in pain still stuck at the bottom of the ocean. Every time I taste the saltiness of my tears, it reminds me that I’m still at the bottom of the ocean.
The fourth month in Vermont brought lots of tears. More tears than I would care to admit to. I’m doing the deep work now in my soul, weaving and repairing those things so ruthlessly torn apart after giving all we had and then feeling completely trampled upon.
Many people don’t come back from that kind of trauma. I didn’t know if I ever would.
My courage, hope, belief in those around me, my giving nature, my love, joy, friendship, my calling, my very heart, I placed in the hands of those who never deserved it. That was my mistake. That was my error. Believing that others are just like me, and finding out that they are the opposite. The trauma is mine to bear, mine to repair, and mine to heal.
It has changed me in ways that I feel I may never recover. It has caused me to distance myself from those resembling anything violent, terrorizing, physically or emotionally abusive, and even those who would support such things.
The fifth month in Vermont brought grieving. Grieving for the loss of my calling. The loss of my animals. The deep and abiding connection I have with the earth and the need to be always connected to it through planting and animals. I cry daily over this. My grief is endless.
Recovering from traumatic events takes time.
I don’t stop it though. I need to feel it all. The anger, the frustration, the grief, the sadness…all of it. Because this part of my life is just as significant and important as those times when I’m lost in the garden filled with wonder of the smallest living creatures and how they function in my world.
I love every part of me. Even the part that grieves every day. It makes me vulnerable and cry out in fascinating ways. It makes me look in the direction of injustice and open my mouth. It makes me look with empathy at those suffering great loss. It helps me connect back to my humanity in ways that happiness cannot.
As I look toward 2016, my hope is that I can finally be through this grief and can create a new plan for our lives. One filled with tears of joy instead of sadness. To be able to once again bask in the beauty of our lives without fear of loss.
I’m doubtful I’ve ever enjoyed autumn more than at this time in my life. I have always been a huge fan of autumn because it ushers in the long cold days of winter. The change of leaves is thrilling, the smell of the crisp fall air, invigorating.
We’ve been in awe of this particular autumn because for almost 7 years we lived in the high desert where the trees go from green to brown. Okay, there’s a brief window where the leaves *may* turn yellow for a day, but then POOF! its all gone.
The high desert has a beauty all its own, and can only truly be appreciated when you experience it. There are places in New Mexico where the foliage is spectacular, we just didn’t live near an area like that.
Being here in Vermont, however, is breathtaking no matter where you look.
I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve taken of the changing leaves. I’ll go out on my deck and snap a photo, and then put it on my computer and be utterly disappointed because it didn’t fully capture the beauty of the light, the shadows, the colors, or feeling.
Why can’t photos capture the way my heart feels when I witness such beauty?
I keep clicking away, but to no avail. But don’t take my word for it, you will just need to come up here to Vermont and take it all in. You won’t be disappointed.
This is Simone’s first real autumn. She has never experienced before now the crisp autumn air and blustery quick winds that shake the golden leaves from their branches, causing them to gracefully fall to the ground. Her reaction to every leaf that flies through the air is, “Oh, hahahaha, look another one is falling.” It never gets old to her. Each leaf seems to do a dance for her, and the delight of the sound of her giggling as the leaves fall sinks into my soul and warms the very core of my being.
If a thousand leaves fall all at once, the riot of laughter that bellows from deep inside Simmi becomes contagious and all one can do is laugh with her.
When we drive through town and leaves are falling and a few hit the windshield, it catches Simmi by surprise as though the leaf purposely flew into the windshield just to get a good look at her. She takes it very personally. Falling leaves bring her joy. Every single one of them.
Each day Simone goes outside to try and find me the perfect leaf. She usually comes back with two baskets full of leaves, all of which are perfect in their own right. She could no sooner pick her favorite leaf, than she could her favorite shade of pink.
To say that Vermont has been good for Simmi would be an understatement. We adore everything about it so far. We hope to make a few new friends this fall so she can share her love of nature with children her age.
I can’t wait until we get her outfitted for winter! There will be no stopping her. She’s growing out of all her clothes and shoes, and soft wool and silk long underwear are in her near future so I can take her on nature walks around our property and down at Quechee State Park.
Wow, its been a full two weeks since we moved into our new mountain home. It has been quite challenging for a number of reasons, and all of them are what I call “first world problems.”
Have you ever heard that expression before? Its a term used to describe the spoiled and often unappreciative American generation that has never really had to experience what its like not to have internet, a cell signal, hot water problems, and all the other things we tend to take for granted in this country.
Well, I have been quite the complainer for two weeks straight. We had no phone signal, I had a very hard time getting online via my phone, and keeping in touch with my kids was nearly impossible. Beyond that, even though I have been a whiner about not having a signal, my big freakout has to do with being isolated in the mountains with a child who, if she accidentally ingests something that could kill her, I wouldn’t have a way to get the EMT or paramedics out to help her as we go to the hospital. Time is of the essence when dealing with anaphylaxis, and while I do have two EpiPens for her, she does still need to go to the hospital.
The photo to the right is at the bottom of our driveway. You can barely see our garage from there. ————–>>>
I also didn’t have access to a phone book or internet more than for a few moments at a time, which meant that it was nearly impossible for me to locate a medical center in the Woodstock, VT area where we now live. So what the hell do I do in a situation where Simone’s having a reaction and I can’t call 911 AND I have no idea where the nearest medical center is? OYE!
The stress that I’ve felt over the last two weeks was through the roof. We were once again in a situation where we needed to move all our things from the beautiful cottage, and Dom was left with the task of carrying everything up two flights of stairs.
Again, a First World Problem, because while I’m complaining that my husband needs to haul all our belongings up the stairs, there are others around the world that may not only be displaced and homeless or a refugee, but they may also be going it alone without a spouse or partner to lighten the load.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
After the landline was finally working, there was something wrong with the line and it had to be repaired.
Then the modem was never delivered. I would have pulled all my hair out at this point if I actually had any to pull out! Today the modem actually arrived after it was mistakenly delivered to our neighbor’s house a few days ago.
When we first moved into the house, there was no hot water, and while it was getting chilly outside, we only needed to fire up the wood stove or fireplace to get things warm. However, after a few days, and then finally figuring out that there was something wrong with the boiler, it was necessary to get a service man out to repair it. We were boiling water to wash dishes, and we went days without being able to shower or bathe. It wasn’t fun!
I often ponder the lives of those who have no hot water, or even heat. In those moments I wonder how many children are going to bed cold, how many parents are in a situation where they can’t provide the very basics for their families.
First World Problems.
So here I am, so very thankful and grateful for having a house that is free of the mold spores I’m allergic to, and at the same time quite cranky and bitchy about being inconvenienced for the last two weeks.
First World Problems.
In the grand scheme of things, these issues have no real significance because I could have handled my issues differently when I think back on my incessant whiny attitude. I could have gotten paper plates and plastic cups and utensils. We could have also taken out our portable on demand hot water shower! Duh, I mean, I was so stressed out I couldn’t even think back to the time when we were living in a one room tiny A Frame structure at the farm in Maine, needing to use the portable shower to wash dishes outside in a tent!
I also could have gone to the library in our cute little village of Woodstock to use the computer, get directions to medical services, and enjoy taking a walk around one of the most quintessential towns in all of Vermont. I couldn’t even enjoy this most special village because of my stress. Hindsight, they say is 20/20.
So here I am, still sounding off even though now all my problems are now resolved. Why? Because it will take a few more days to relax and get unraveled.
I have been recovering beautifully, and we haven’t had to rush me to the hospital. I haven’t developed anaphylaxis since I was able to get away from the mold spores, and I haven’t developed pneumonia. That has been one of the biggest blessings to come from this. We also couldn’t have made this transition without the full generous support of our friends George and Susanne. We love you guys, thank you so very much for helping us get to where we needed to be!
Here are a few photos I’ve captured during these last two weeks:
We need to add another cabinet, a curtain, and refinish the countertops, but for the most part, our kitchen is complete.
I didn’t know if the size of the kitchen would be sufficient for us, but as luck would have it, the metal table and stainless shelves we had set up in our house in New Mexico worked perfectly in the space. It’s almost like the pots should have always been arranged this way. It also frees up the limited cabinet space for lactofermenting and food storage.
I added a few extra builtin shelves for baskets and books. I promise that while I may have been a major pain in the ass to my man complaining as soon as he came home about everything that seemed to be working against me, I was simultaneously painting, repairing, designing, cleaning, and unpacking our things.
We added little niche areas for our most used items.
We also kept busy putting snowmen together
I also picked up this cool vintage George Nathan piece from Salvation Army for a whopping $4.00. Ha!
Dom was able to get one of his friends to come over and help get the heavier furniture and appliances into the house. The washer and dryer needed to go into our bathroom upstairs.
This is my studio area next to the living room. I got this table for free and knew it was the perfect surface for doing different projects.
The cozy fireplace has been such a comfort and place of solace to us.
Autumn is here. This is the view from the bottom of our driveway.
Yes, we’re moving again. This time, however, rest assured that we can settle in and call this place home for at least the next few years.
The beautiful cottage we moved to had particular molds that I was allergic to, and if I would have stayed there, I would have developed pneumonia. Currently, my lungs hurt, are starting to get juicy and my coughing has increased.
I’ve lost a lot of hair and had a flare up of alopecia. Dom and Simmi shaved my head a few days ago, and now, hopefully, I will recover and my system will calm down. My hair will grow back, so I’m not really too concerned about that. Our biggest concern is keeping me out of the hospital.
Tomorrow is our move-in date, but we’ll be bringing our stuff starting today. Dom searched our new house from top to bottom, inspected the basement and bathrooms, and everything is mold free.
Our new home is only about 15 miles from where we are currently living. We will be perched up on the side of a mountain, overlooking the valley. It’s quite magical. As far as gardening and farming goes, we’ll see how any of it plays into this property. I haven’t discussed gardening, keeping turkeys, ducks, or chickens, or even sheep with the landlord and I’m not sure they will fit into this place. I think ducks, chickens, and turkeys would though. I’ll have a better idea after I get my health back and have had the winter to observe the land.
The property is situated on a very steep drop off. There are areas for forest gardening and permaculture, but I’m not sure yet what kinds of animals like to pass through. Understanding the wildlife is important since we share sacred space with them out in the mountains.
Our new home will also be the backdrop for a few projects we will be working on over the winter. Dom will be starting a video series on how fathers can begin to add more traditional wholesome food into their family’s lives. From food prep, to making lactofermented foods and beverages. We will also be creating a video series on how to prepare allergen friendly foods for loved ones. With food allergies and sensitivities becoming more common, it would be helpful for those who don’t have food allergies to have the rules and tools for preparing a safe meal for a visiting family member or friend with a food allergy or sensitivity. Our aim is to take the mystery and fear away, empowering others to make a difference in the lives of those who in many cases have been marginalized by a food allergy or sensitivity. We have eight years of experience in what has worked for us, and now its time for us to share that knowledge with everyone.
We don’t have a date for when we’ll start filming, but we’re thinking that it will be sometime in the new year.
In the meantime, we’ll be busy getting settled in and I’ll be recovering…hopefully very quickly!