It’s been 6 months since my last update. How am I doing?

Life. Is. Awesome!!!

My health continues to improve, especially my mental and emotional health. Physically I am not in remission, but I cannot remember the last time I was this close or felt this good!!
I feel like a perennial plant in her second year, there’s a saying “The first year it sleeps, second year it creeps and the third year it leaps”. Happy and healthy in my new environment I am creeping; I am venturing out, making this world mine and growing.

I am slowly stepping outside my safety bubble and comfort zone. I’ve gone to see some live music, getting more social with friends and even taking some road trips!

Well, that is until the COVID-19 hit. I have to laugh at life a bit right now and enjoy Karma’s sense of humor. I am finally feeling good enough to experience how most others get to live, to venture outside the routine of my daily life and my already required social distancing, only to find the rest of the world now in various forms of social distancing! Welcome to my life.

Honestly, I am not too worried about contracting COVID-19, like I said, I already live my life in a form of social distancing and so do those closest to me. We all take precautions and care so that I and those around me with compromised immune systems are safe…however, this panic over Toilet Paper might be the thing to do me in!

My “quarantine” roommate, who is also my partner at MutherlyLuv, and I have found ourselves with some time on our hands and it just so happened Rolling With Crohn’s was due for an update; during one late night patio session she started a game of Quarantine 20 Questions, aka. The Molly Interview, aka. My Life Before Social Distancing, while also working on the story for this month. If this is your first time reading about My Green Journey, you might want to start at the beginning and then come back and enjoy this month’s story.

Somehow (did I mention lots of cannabis was involved?) the two became one and you all are the lucky ones who get to soothe your ever increasing boredom and lift your spirits with this peek inside our quarantine world! So kick back, spark up and enjoy. And remember, like all shit, this too shall pass.

– Or –

I’m thinking over questions to ask while watching Molly follow Blue as he sorts out exactly where he’s going to deposit the prize, his greatest gift, the long awaited turd. I imagine he must think we absolutely love his poop, because we will patiently (usually) follow him anywhere he wants to go, pace back and forth with him throughout the neighborhood until the most acceptable spot has been found, and then we excitedly wait for him to deliver the booty, just so we can snatch it up as fast as possible, shove it into a little baggie and shower him with love, compliments and “good boy!”.

Or, maybe he doesn’t like it when we grab his poop up. Maybe after he spent all that time picking out just the perfect spot to finally crap he wishes we’d quit removing it and stuffing it in a bag instead. I wonder if sometimes he’d like to show off his hard work; because sometimes, and Molly can back me up here, sometimes it’s impressive!

#1 Do you think he minds you picking up his poop?

Sometimes, yeah…

That’s a question by the way.

She stuffed the horse sized turd into an impossibly small bag and I checked Blue for signs of irritation but he didn’t seem too bothered by this at all, and trust me when I say he’d let us know, so we headed back to the house. We dressed properly for the interview then grabbed our bongs, grinders, jars, toothpicks and of course our weed. We shopped at SWC Tempe a few days ago and Ghost Train Haze (or GTH) was our pick for the night and we made our way to camp out on the patio for a few hours and get creative with the questions. GTH usually kicks my butt, so this could be really interesting or really quick.

We’ve been spending a lot of our Social Distancing time on the patio, thankfully the weather’s been great during all this madness, and with all the free time we’ve had we decided to do some upgrades and make the patio a bit more comfortable for long sesh’s and conversation. We talk a lot about the future, wondering what the outcome of all this will be.

#2 For you, what's the scariest thing about what's happening here?

This crazy lack of toilet paper, it’s one of my worst nightmares! The stress of not having tp is more likely to send my health backward and set off a flare up, and that is potentially deadly for me.

What’s up with this hoarding behavior? Do we need to stock up on TP? On Weed? Cookies? If you were to hoard, what would you hoard?
Well, I already “hoard” TP on a regular basis. I mean the amount of tp I see people buying in their panic, that’s about a week’s supply for me…so, seriously, please don’t take more than you need, of anything. The transportation of goods has not shut down and some of us need more than most on a regular basis.
What would I hoard?
Weed. Weed and chocolate.

If you were to live anywhere else in the world right now, where would you live? It could be a real or fictional place.
How many questions is this?
2? It’s part of question 2, don’t worry about it.
I have always wanted to go to Newzealand.
Would you live there?
I would if I could, it’d be far from family though. If they could come with me, hell yeah.

#3 If you could make any snack right now, what would it be?

I have some homemade granola in the fridge, with ice cream and gnache? Snack and bathroom break time?

BE RIGHT BACK…

BE RIGHT BACK…

#4.... Well shit.

We didn’t get very far last night. Ghost Train Haze is a heavy hitter and sends me into a giggling munchie fit, it gets me every time.

Once we established Molly’s taking the 20 Questions game seriously, we got a little sidetracked. Snacks, laughing and playing with Blue and all the kitties kept our attention for the rest of the night.

But I still had 16 questions to go and was up and ready the next day to keep this project alive. I found Molly busy in the kitchen.

“This is a house of healing and health.”

Molly says as she’s pulling vegetables from the fridge. We’ve been talking a lot about wellness, healing from illness, trauma or both and having a safe space to heal. One thing I’ve learned about Molly since living in lockdown is that she draws the best out of, and puts her best into, every day and every task. Not all tasks are big and not each day is eventful, but she has a goal for each day. And today it’s making tomato soup.

I’m keeping Blue distracted and the bongs loaded while watching her pile the vegetables and jars of seasoning on the counter. This morning we’re smoking Gorilla Glue, my favorite.

Speaking of Blue, you guys, it’s NO joke, this dog loves that tiny human. It’s…intense. He takes his job of being her dog very seriously. The only thing that he might take almost as seriously, a good nap.

So, about this soup…
Molly can’t just run out to the store and buy any ole tomato soup, and she typically can’t run out and buy “fancy” tomato soup either. When she wants tomato soup, she makes it herself. From scratch. By herself.
I was having a hard time with this concept. I enjoy cooking and think I’m a pretty good cook, but I am not at this level so I’m looking forward to watching..

I’m sitting at the kitchen counter, playing tug-a-war with Blue with one hand and pulling the carb on the bong with the other, when I look up and notice how Molly is assembling her ingredients and tools.
Okay, making tomato soup from scratch? That was already pretty impressive. Prepping the ingredients and supplies like we’re staging for the American Test Kitchen photo shoot, now she’s tickling the design geek in me with all her visual symmetry and produce freshness.

#5 Hey uh Molls, do you always prep for a photo shoot when you cook? It’s so pretty!

You know why I do this don’t you? So when I get stoned and I come back I can remember the order of operations! I’m just a prepared stoner! I’m not really THAT organized!

She laughs and carries on assembling the spices and bowls and now I’m looking at her like she’s the love-child Martha and Snoop should have had.

Molly’s cruising along in the kitchen, simultaneously sautéing and blending up vegetables, building layer upon layer of delicious aromas and sounds; looking truly at ease in her cheerful kitchen. It’s great seeing her so healthy, happy and confident in her world. And she’s being modest, I saw her craft supply closet. She’s no stranger to organization. Oooh, crafts…

#6 What’s your favorite Medicated and Non-Medicated thing to cook or bake?

Medicated, granola or the lemon cookies, because those are the ones I seem to make the most, I just substitute medicated oil where needed. I’d do more, I just haven’t dove into it as much as I’d like to. Non-medicated? It’s really hard to say, I guess it all depends on my mood…but when in doubt, I go with tacos!

#7 Cooking and baking are great to do while “social distancing” but I worry about my butt circumference, what other stuff can we get into? Re-arrange furniture? Adult Sock puppets? Art projects?

Adult sock puppets? Okay sure, I’ve got nothing else going on tomorrow, but not a lot of spare socks! I do have some adult coloring books though, do you like to color?

We spend the rest of that afternoon taking some time to relax, color, breath and be still.

Molly is calm. She’s cool. She’s coloring in her coloring book. She is at peace.

I’m impressed each day at her dedication to her own wellness, and inspired by her results. Her calmness is evident in her lack of panic, the only thing we talk half-heartedly about hoarding is weed. Today we’re working through the rest of the Gorilla Glue. She’s curled up on the couch with Blue to one side always, and sometimes Blue’s little friend Channel will take up residence in whatever space is left. She’s humming along to the music, brightly colored markers to fill in the four letter words and flowers are stacked in front of her. Molly has found peace, even during a time of intense stress.

#8 Social Distancing is causing a lot of people grief, you don’t seem too phased by this change, what does Social Distancing mean to you?

Social distancing ALREADY IS my way of life. I’m not a social butterfly, you won’t see me out at many social gatherings…because of Crohn’s I am always in the high risk group, so that’s how I roll.

We broke for dinner and much needed showers, it’s weird “forgetting” to shower.
If your poor eyeballs can’t handle any more text, and you’d rather just scroll through the CliffNotes version complete with captions, more pics of dogs and adventures in home renovation, we’ve got you covered. Just pause here for a bit and scroll through, you might even see kittens!

Let’s call these the outtakes, highlights and “What I Did Over Quarantine Break”. It’s a good time for sure, but you’re gong to want to keep on reading when you’re done.

Interview night, Round One. Put up a good fight but GTH is a heavyweight!

Molly taking some time to enjoy the day. Happy places.

A neat little perk about living with Molly, she loves to bake…but can never eat it all!

More baking, with medicated cupcakes! We made an infused butter with Cresco RSO.

…and more baking. These cupcakes lasted us about a week.

Not every peaceful moment goes according to plan. Sometimes there’s drama.

No caption needed.

Blue pouts when his friends have to go to time out, or when his tiny human is out of sight.

He’s so handsome though! And a true master in his craft.

Blue made some new friends over quarantine. Meet Banjo, his new best friend.

He’s still learning how to pose for the camera.

Blue and Molly having one of their serious conversations.

Seriously though, can we talk about how handsome he is?

Blue’s old friend from when he was a puppy is around. Snickers, aka. Bitchface Malone the Third.

Part of the patio upgrade, Molly turned her patio door around!

A project she’s been wanting to do for about 15 years, go ahead and check that one off Molly. Great job!

A day of sunshine and fresh air out at Papago Park.

This image needs no caption. Just know that Dutchies were involved.

These are Dutchie prerolls, you can see we’re big fans.

During her daily meeting with her office manager Molly pitches an idea…

Idea instantly approved and rewarded.

We laugh more than get work done it seems.

Oooh, getting serious here! Talking strains, effects and uses…the usual.

“Whatchya smoking on Molls?”

“Ghost Train Haze. Why? You want some?”

She says she’s not an instigator, that she just likes to share….

Bullshit.

Looking up the effects and terpenes for Ghost Train Haze (GTH) on Leafly.

Molly is living her best life; happy, healthy and free.

Back on the patio in the evening we’re sharing one grinder full of In The Pines and one grinder of Mint Chocolate Chip, each using our own separate bongs. Taking turns throwing toys for Blue, we start talking about what we were doing right before the pandemic began.

#9 So, you were pretty busy and getting much more social right before all of this, it seemed like you were feeling really good. Are you still feeling good?

Yes! In fact, right at this moment I am SOOOO proud of my healing, my recovery and my body!

#10 What was your last outing?

On president’s day I took a short hike at Hole in the Rock at Papago park near the Phoenix Zoo.
Yep, I remember, I was there.
And Blue and of course my trusty dab pen. It was great! The bathrooms have a flagpole right next to them soooo, as long as I could see the flagpole I knew where I needed to head when nature yelled.

That was a really good day. You took off out of town for a bit too right?
I did! Over spring break, I did a road trip to California with my brother and his family. They stayed at a beach house in Laguna with an extra bedroom, a kitchen and plenty of bathrooms; it was right on the beach! There was no way I could say no to that offer, especially since I had not been out of the state of AZ since March of 2014 and I had not seen the ocean since July of 2011!!

My view from the patio!

That’s a long time! But I’m sure traveling isn’t easy when you have to be so careful with food.
You’re right, travel and eating on the go is not easy with my dietary restrictions. Luckily, there was a Whole Foods and a Ralph’s (Fry’s here in AZ) near the beach house, 2 of my usual stores, so I could find many of the foods I eat at home. We were in Cali for 5 days. I got to sit on the beach, read (by the way, check out this article from TIME: TIME special edition about Alternative Medicine), hang out with my sister-in-law and her mom, watch the waves and my brother and his boys surf, we explored the tide pools when the tide was low and watched the sunset in the ocean…it was a perfect vacation!!

#11 How'd you handle medicating and travel?

As usual it took careful planning and prepping on my part to make the 6 hour road trip to Cali and then the road trip home, but it was sooooooo worth it! I did take my RSO capsules with me, but California is a recreational state so I was able to get the flower I needed once I got there. There were no dispensaries nearby, but there is a delivery service for Orange County…the Bud Man. They were fast, friendly and show up discreetly at your front door.
My nephews don’t know about my cannabis use and their parents are not ready to have that talk so I just ordered pre-rolls and concentrate for my trusty dab pen and kept it discreet.

That’s fantastic! It sounds like a great time. More travel plans?
For sure. This trip really boosted my confidence aaaaand I am contemplating another road trip or two…Colorado and maybe Texas?? Both states have a friend I can stay with so I have a bathroom and kitchen, ya know, the important stuff.

#12 That trip was huge for you Molly. I’m always impressed by your drive to keep making your world a better place. Having fun, adventures, staying happy and reducing stress seem to be key. Talk to me about how you’re reducing stress?

One way I am reducing stress is by taking care of debts. For example, Christmas this year I gave myself the gift of settling all my medical debt and entered 2020 medical debt free! That alone is a HUGE stress lifted off my shoulders…and I have explained how stress is my nemesis. Up next, the last of some credit card debt in my name…it’s not necessarily all my debt, but that is another story.

#13 That’s a great Christmas gift! How were the holidays for you this past year, I think this was different for you this time?

Yes, the holidays were a bit different this year, but better! I not only survived, I lived and thoroughly enjoyed the entire holiday season and my time with family and friends! I did end up catching some virus/ bug thing and that set off a nasty flare up. The good news is my doctors and I caught the flare up early and started prednisone right away. I did a quick round and then tapered down to a lower dose to maintain through the holidays.

#14 It’s important for you to keep yourself healthy constantly, but the holidays tend to make it especially hard for you; this was your first holiday season since moving on your own and taking control over your health and happiness, did you see a change?

Holidays are traditionally emotional for me and this year was extra emotional, however it was also the most relaxing peaceful holiday I have had in well over a decade. No rushing around, no having to push myself beyond what is good for me, no one else’s BS, no need for extra/ over medicating, etc. Truly it was a wonderful holiday season!!

#15 What do you think made it so much healthier?

The extra time I had for myself this holiday season allowed me to really focus on healing and releasing those deep trapped emotions so this time of year does not continue to be a trigger for me year after year. And my self work is paying off; at a doctor’s appointment in Dec., my doctor commented that in the 5 years she’s been seeing me, this was my best and healthiest holiday season yet!

Blue was now staring directly at us both, exhaling a long, drawn out, very soft whine ending with an irritated huff. He topped that off with a sound that can only be described as a dog trying to roll his R’s. We had stopped paying attention while talking and he wasn’t too happy about it. If you aren’t familiar with Blue Heelers, they’re talkers. He’ll talk your ear off if you let him. Back to tossing the toy.

Blue chatting us up – Turn the volume up and enjoy the Wookie Dog.

#16 So, you use both a Naturopath and Prednisone? Cannabis too. Some people are all Pharma, some are 50/50 and some won’t take an Aspirin. How do you balance it all? What do you think made it so much healthier?

Meds and Cannabis…
I love using nature and natural approaches as my first line of defense for healing. I love my paleo template diet and using food/ nature as my “medicine”! I love my chiropractic care, my biofeedback, alternative allergy therapy and my IV therapies! I love using alt waters and most of all, I love my cannabis!

However, when needed I am for modern medicine too. I think there is a balance of both that is needed. While I love biofeedback for managing Crohn’s symptoms, if I have a broken bone, biofeedback is not going to do much for my broken bone. This is an example of when I need modern medicine as my first option. Although, cannabis will be my pain management of choice for a broken bone instead of a prescription pain medicine or even an OTC pain medicine (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.). OTC meds and I don’t agree either. One of the many things I like about cannabis is that it can easily be titrated, especially with inhalation.

#17 Do you feel any one approach works best for you?

I have found that a combination of approaches works best for me, my healing and managing my health. It’s not 1 thing I do, it is the combination of all the things I do that allows me to heal and live.

One of the first people I started to follow and learn from early on in my journey is Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, also known as PaleoMom. Dr. Ballantyne is a scientist, health educator and advocate; she’s a wife, a mother and has had a longstanding personal battle with autoimmune disease. If you are looking for some natural approaches for dealing with a cold or flu, here are some of her suggestions and ideas:
Natural approach to cold and flu…including corona virus

Blue spoke up loudly and let us know it was time to follow him in the dark and hunt for his butt trophy before bed. Night time walks with Blue are my favorite.

As we wandered through the dark complex, letting Blue be our tour guide for the night, we ran into another dog on a walk. Normally we’d all stop, talk and let the dogs sniff it out. This time though, we all gave each other plenty of space, saying short but friendly “hello’s” and “how are you’s” and kept going on our way. A small little event, but it was such a big change from the normal routine.

Even in the dark you can find what you need.

Even in the dark you can find what you need.

#18 Before Covid19 you had a routine that you had become used to, to keep you calm, happy and on your healing path. Has much of that changed and how much do you keep the same during this?

I stay away from the media now until I have completed all my “non-negotiables”; those are my daily routines of walking Blue while I listen to a daily podcast, my daily readers, step work, prayer, yoga and meditation. Those are things I do daily and will not change. They help me keep my focus on me and my healing; better to focus on myself than the chaos, mitigate my stress and help keep me away from the media. A lot of my routine is still the same, I still attend my meetings for example, but how I attend those meetings has changed.

Overall, really nothing for me has changed. I’ve become used to having to be careful when I go out to the store, go out to eat, meet up at a friend’s house. None of this is anything new to me. I guess the part that is new to me is that now the rest of people in my world are suddenly living like me for the first time. Seeing them react, and watching them manage their fear is new. I actually feel like the last five years has sort of prepared me for this.

The one thing I miss the most, and is definitely different, I can’t go volunteer in my daughter’s classroom and see all the kids. I miss that a lot.

We had made our way back to the patio and sat there silently for a moment, each thinking over the little changes and missed routines in our lives that may or may not be the same once this wraps up. It was somber, not sad, just quiet.

This experience has taught me a lot, so has Molly. Moving forward I know I am going to have a new outlook on what I have taken for granted, what makes me truly happy and healthy and how to live within my own peace. Be your own happy place.

Right now my happy place is staring down into a bowl full of freshly ground flower.
I reached for my bowl, and in true stoner fashion forgot it was empty. I reached for my grinder to refill, and you know what? It too was empty. I reached for the jar and guess what…

#19 Hey, what are you smoking on now Molls?

GTH. Why? You want some?

So we’ve come full circle in our adventure during the Shelter In Place, and I’ve learned a lot more about Molly and how dedicated she is to her well being. It’s really a wonderful example to be able to see put into action.

I just have one last question for her…

#20 Can you load my bowl? I've got to write an interview.

Please be safe my friends and loved ones. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

With Love,
Molly, Brandy and Blue

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