Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce (and it tastes like cheese!)

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! A miracle has occurred!

I found a VEGAN cheese sauce that I actually like! I can hear it now, “But Dotchi… Bacon and cheese isn’t vegan.”

I know! That’s why this recipe is so cool. It is vegan but it tastes like Bacon Cheddar spread you would buy for crackers, only it tastes better… and spicier. I should warn you: I like spices. You can adjust the intensity to your liking though.

First the recipe because it drives me nuts when I have to scroll through 40 pages of recipe tales to get to the actual recipe. I am adding links to the stuff I use. I get nothing for this (I wish) this is just to help new cooks and those unfamiliar with some of the ingredients.

Further down I will tell the story of how I got to this…

Vegan mac and cheese

Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Ingredients List in order of use (don’t judge it by the ingredients)

Step 1 ingredients

  • 2 cups Sweet Potatoes (the white ones, not yams) peeled and cubed
    • You could use regular russet, red, or golden potatoes.
  • 1 cup Carrot, peeled and cubed
  • Water for boiling

Step 2 Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Canola oil or Olive Oil
    • Honestly, you can use whatever oil you have on hand. Soy, Corn, flaxseed, avocado… As long as it is an edible oil and not automotive oil or snake oil.
  • 1/2 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
    • You can use whatever creamer you like or use Almond or soy milk. I prefer the creamer because it’s thicker… and it’s what I had at the moment.
    • Water works too if you are out of creamer or milk. It just tastes like it’s missing something.
  • 1 TBSP Honey or, for the strict vegan, Agave Nectar or Bee Free Honee
    • I know some vegans who allow honey and others that do not. Depending on how it was… raised?
    • This is easier to get out of the spoon if you add it after the oil – slides right out. You’re welcome.
  • 1 tsp Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle or Paprika (I use chipotle for the spicy taste)
    • DO NOT spend that much on ground chipotle unless you have to. That is a ridiculous price! Hell, you can grind your own for cheaper than that!
    • Use less if you can’t handle spicy foods. Smoky paprika shouldn’t be spicy but will add a nice flavor to it.
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar.
    • I use white vinegar because that’s what I have but you can use Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or anything else you like. It will taste a little different. I’ve been known to use any wine I have lying around *cough*.
  • 1/3 C Nutritional Yeast. This is NOT Brewer’s yeast or yeast in the little packets!

Step 1 of Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

  1. Put the potato pieces and carrot pieces in a pot with enough water for boiling.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat for about 20 minutes or until the food pieces are fork tender. Fork tender means it’s really super easy to stab it with a fork. 
  3. Once tender, drain the veggies and place them in a food processor (or blender. I’ve done both. Either works just fine)

Step 2 of Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce

  1. Add all the other ingredients into the food processor or blender.
  2. Turn on your food processor or blender and run it until everything is blended and all smooth and creamy like.
  3. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides in between running it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes it cooperates.

It will look like this:


Serve this over veggies, pasta, potatoes… I really loved it on broccoli!

How I discovered Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Okay, now for the rambling chatty part.

My friend, Java, is allergic to milk and cheese. One of the things we’ve been trying to find is a cheese substitute. We ran into a few problems… 

1. Some “non-dairy” cheeses have casein, a milk derivative, in them.

  • To me, that is as stupid as putting peanut oil on cashews (even when they aren’t salted!) or putting soy lecithin in almond milk and then declaring it a safe alternative to soy (I think they all switched to sunflower lecithin – another allergen of mine but not as unreasonable as soy lecithin).

2. Daiya has xanthum gum, which isn’t very kind on the digestive system. And I didn’t really care for the taste. It’s been awhile and I haven’t retried it. It didn’t win me over though.

3. Some are impossible to find in the areas we live. I live in NW Montana and shop in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Java lives on the east coast in a southern state.

4. We needed to avoid Cashew because of dietary restrictions on Java’s end plus, it’s impossible to find it not drenched in peanut oil. 

What we’ve tried…

I tried various alternatives I found, like a box of Macaroni and Chreese. It was gluten-free, dairy-free, and supposed to taste like regular macaroni and cheese. I know what regular macaroni and cheese tastes like. It wasn’t even in the same ball park. It was like macaroni and dirt vomit. 

I tried a few others and they just flat sucked. They didn’t even have a hint of cheese flavor. They either tasted like dirt, vomit, bitter lemons, or something like that. They just were not good.

We also tried whatever store brand we could actually eat. But none of them had a good flavor. 

Mouth feel – It’s not really a criteria, but it does help.

And I haven’t even touched on mouth feel yet! (<- Hahaha, see what I did there!)

I am not a huge “mouth feel” kind of person. I survived on puree mush for quite a while. If it just has the flavor I am mostly happy. Hell, I drank pizza that wasn’t too bad!

BUT, mouth feel does compliment or destroy a food. If it’s supposed to be “melty and delicious” but comes out tasting like ass and having the consistency of curdled milk… nope nope nope!

Alternatively, if it’s supposed to be like pancakes, soft and fluffy, but comes out kind of flat and dense but tastes pretty okay, I can handle that.

But it takes a LOT to make “mouth feel” make or break something for me.


A.D.D. is easy as 1-2- OH EM GEE! A SQUIRREL!
Hey Sparky!

My worst mouth-feel story was vegan chocolate pudding. It had maple syrup, avocado, and cocoa powder. I like maple syrup. I like avocados. I like chocolate. So I didn’t think it would be too bad. I thought it might taste a little weird with the avocado.

But, meh, I made it anyway. I have never gagged so hard on something before in my life. It coated my mouth with a goo that felt like snot, acted like glue, and clung to my uvula for dear life. Luckily, the stomach acid helped clean it off as it went rushing by. It was absolutely horrible! 

Vegan Cheese Google Search

The other day, I was surfing around Google looking for something not food related when I found this link… 

Life-Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce

It’s gluten-free. It’s vegan. It’s cheese-ish. It looks like cheese sauce. It’s freaking orange!

She created hers from another recipe. You can find it here. It’s a nut-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, vegan, cheese-like sauce.

I looked at both and noticed that I would not be eating those because they call for soy sauce or coconut aminos. I can’t have soy. The coconut aminos are too expensive for me. Also, I can’t have lemon or paprika. Almond milk is out for us but I could use coconut milk. I altered the recipes to suit my needs and started cooking.

I made the first batch with the substitutions and it was pretty okay. Was it cheese-like? No. Was it a good substitute? Yes. I think it was.

Sharing the cheesy joy – the substitutions

Then I wanted to make it and share it with my older son and that’s when I ran into problems. He can’t have garlic, onion, lemon, or mustard. Also, I can’t have paprika. So there went a lot of flavor.

I substituted paprika for chipotle because I didn’t have any cayenne or mild pepper. I felt ground jalapeno would be too much.  

I added honey instead of lemon (a common substitution for me) because vinegar went in for mustard. I figured the lemon was probably for smoothing out the taste which is why I picked honey and not lime juice (which I am out of).

I think the mustard added zing to it so when I substituted it to share I just added vinegar since mustard is just mustard seed ground and LOTS of vinegar.

I skipped substituting the garlic and onion since chipotle is so much stronger than paprika.

I used sweet potatoes because I don’t react to them like russet potatoes (which is a rather painful reaction I would like to avoid).

I tinkered with the recipe a couple of times. I tossed one batch because it was too… something. It just wasn’t tasty. FINALLY, I came up with the recipe you see above but not with as much nutritional yeast. 

I liked it okay but I decided to add just a LITTLE bit more nutritional yeast. Fun fact: The nutritional yeast lid has two sides. One for sprinkling nutritional yeast and one for accidentally dumping too much into the blender. Whoops.

I decided it couldn’t be worse than some of the other concoctions I have come up with so, I blended it in.  

Vegan Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce was born!

Then I tasted it. I couldn’t place the flavor at first. Cut me some slack… I haven’t had bacon, real or fake, since August 25, 2010. I had my son try it and I said, “Does it taste cheddary to you too?” He replied with, “It tastes like cheddar bacon spread you put on crackers.”

That’s when it clicked in my head! OMG! He was right! That was the flavor! I made cheddar bacon cheese sauce. Wait! No… I made VEGAN cheddar bacon cheese sauce. I also added too much chipotle. It was setting my face on fire.

I cut back on the chipotle, took out the black pepper I had added to my first batch, and carefully measured the nutritional yeast to see how much got to the “bacon cheddar” flavor. (1/4 cup for mild flavor, 1/3 cup for awesomeness)

We ate it by itself. I ate it with half the nutritional yeast which I think has a less bacon flavor but I like it. We also ate it on rice noodles. Today we ate it on broccoli and that is honestly my favorite way. It tastes so much like cheddar when on top of broccoli that I kind of impressed myself.

I finally dubbed it “Not-Cheese” and added it to the family recipe book.

I am more excited now about trying other recipes of homemade non-dairy cheeses and I’ll let you know when I try them.

My question to you is… 

How do you feel about mouth feel?



A Trip 11 Years & 11 Months In The Making – Mount Rushmore

Back in 2005, when we took a trip around the country. At one part of the trip, we were heading to Java’s house for a wonderful, Fluxx-filled visit. 

On that leg of the trip, we wanted to stop and see Mount Rushmore. We ended up missing it because of the snow storm that was heading for us.

SO, this trip, we made a plan to stop and see it come hell or high water! We made it to South Dakota.

And then we ended up driving back into Wyoming… oops. But once we figured out where we were, we had a nice scenic drive.

Once we’re back in South Dakota, we finally got to see it! After 11 years and 11 months… we saw this

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s impressive but, all the ads make it seem like it’s four times larger than what it is. We still snapped photos of each of us in front of it. Here is a picture of Miles in front of it.

He is the photogenic one of the group. 

But the best part of the whole trip? That was when I was done snapping a ton of pictures, I turned back around to see what the boys wanted to do next.

That is when I snapped a picture of my kids that sums up the entire trip.

The best part is, random dude in the background has about the same expression.

Was it worth it? Hell yes! 

Will I do it again, probably not. But it was still cool to see.

Domestic Violence and Remembering Leslie

This has taken longer to write than I planned. I cried a lot during this. It’s been almost ten years and I still feel the pain of it. I haven’t really dealt with her death. I’m sorry this was late for posting but it was very difficult to write.

WARNING! The picture at the end of this long blog post is graphic.

This is also a 50 Questions post that I have tried to write but I always break down crying and can’t finish it. So I am doing it for Leslie! Question #6: This the hardest thing I have gone through. This may be long.


I met Leslie when I was living in Tennessee. Our children went to the same school and I first saw her at a PTA meeting. She was across the cafeteria getting ready to sit down next to her husband while holding her youngest child at the time. I knew the moment I saw her that we were going to be close friends. I felt like I had known her before somehow. This is Leslie…

Leslie Bradshaw. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Mother. Friend.

And we did! We became very close friends and through her, I also met Penny. We would get together sometimes to hang out. I had my two children, Leslie had her five, and Penny had her four. We three would play cards while all 11 children played.

We would talk about life and family and food and anything, really. One time we talked about how we thought we would die. Leslie always said she was going to die on Friday the 13th. Mine will have to do with fresh soil. I can see it but there is no explaining it.

That is also how I met the man that doesn’t deserve to be named. He and Penny were married at the time. He was abusive, controlling, and a complete asshole, generally. I witnessed his abuse to Penny and saw how it was behind closed doors. I felt for Penny but really, we all felt a bit helpless as there wasn’t a lot out there for domestic violence victims.

Penny finally got the nerve to leave his sorry ass and took the kids with her. She decided to file for divorce also. He got the papers and it was time for her to take the kids to his house for a weekend visit with the monster.

Domestic Violence 

It was Friday the 13th, October 2006. It was a regular day for us but we had a looming fear following us that day. Leslie and I went to Wal-Mart and shopped and then I would babysit four of her five kids while she rode with Penny to drop off her kids with their dad in another county.

We got back to Leslie’s house from shopping and we talked about the trip to Polk county that was coming up. We heard that he had threatened Penny and we were both worried about Penny going there and never coming back. The police would not escort her to drop off the kids either. We felt a sense of being alone in this with little help or resources to get help.

Leslie’s Plan

Then Leslie had a stroke of genius. She said we should make a plan together just in case. The original plan was, if they didn’t get home by 8 pm, I would call the police. Then Leslie said something that would haunt my ears for years to come.

“No. Wait. Two hours is too long to be tortured.” She was in her kitchen when she said it. I remember the look on her face and the pain in her eyes when she said it. “Instead of that, I am going to call you every 30 minutes to hour and let you know how we are doing. If I don’t call, call 911 and send help. There is no cell service when we get off the highway so I will call you before we got off the highway and as soon as we get back to it.”

I agreed. Although I was worried, I ran through the plan in more details with her. Call no later than 8 pm, call if she didn’t call me, and we had a code for if she called but couldn’t say “send help”. If she said the statement, call 911. If I asked the code and she said yes, call 911.

I had the information of everyone going, the vehicle make/ model, license plate number, Leslie’s phone number, Penny’s phone number, the address where the monster lived, the kids names, birth dates… everything I needed to fully identify every one, the route they were taking there and back… I was set!

At one point I begged her not to go. She told me, “I have to go. It’s my destiny.” We both believed that you don’t mess with someone’s destiny. So, instead, I begged her to be careful and leave immediately if anything looked off. She agreed and stressed that she HAD to be there for Penny. She just knew she did!

We both were confident that this was the best plan. We didn’t know what else to do.

“… if I come home.”

That evening, Leslie left for Penny’s house. In hindsight, some of the things she said made it sound like she knew she wasn’t coming home. Like the destiny comment. At the first check in, we talked for a couple minutes. She told me where they were, how it was going, how far from the turn they were, etc. Then asked how the kids were doing.

I told her they were fine, I was about to get them ready for bed, but they were so cute playing. I told her I was playing with my new camera and took pics of the kids and I would show her when she got home. She got eerily quiet and so I changed the subject. I told her I forgot the package of toilet paper in the back of her van. She said not to worry that I would get it and I said, “Yea, I can get it when you get home. No biggy.”

Then she said, “… IF I come home.” I told her she WOULD come home. She wasn’t allowed to die and I would see her when she got back. she said, “Okay.” not like a “Okay, I believe you!” it was more of a “Sure. You keep thinking that.”

I figured out the time they would turn off the highway and made a note to check and make sure she called. We had discussed this all. I was ready.

Lost Contact

At 6:20 (I think – it was 10 years ago, It’s a little hazy), she tried to call but it didn’t connect. That was right when she should have called for going off the highway so I waited for her to call saying they were back on the highway.

The kids were in bed. Some had fallen asleep, the others were giggling and whispering to each other. I busied myself by tidying up and checking on the kids and obsessively checked my phone every couple of minutes.

I sat outside and smoked a cigarette watching the minutes roll past. I called a friend and said, “I really need to talk to someone.” I think the sound in my voice made it clear that this was serious.

I did a quick run down of the plan and then told her about the check in and the call that was one the right time but I had a feeling… I felt like something was very wrong. It wasn’t time to call yet but I felt like something was seriously wrong. Then I had a moment of something I can not explain.

I was sitting there talking to my friend and explaining and suddenly, everything was black, then all I could see was gravel and I was looking under a car. I could hear muffled crying and a breath. Then everything started looking red at the edges and the red slowly covered everything and it was all black again. I’ve only told a few people this. But I know in my heart that I was seeing from Leslie’s eyes.

It was only a few seconds but it was terrifying and I suddenly knew that I had to call! I heard my friend on the other end of the phone say, “What is your heart telling you?” and I answered honestly and numbly, “I need to call the cops.” She said to call back when I was done calling them.

Calling for help

I first called the Sheriff’s office in our county and explained the entire thing. They gave me a number to Polk county Sheriff’s office and I called them too. I explained to the lady everything that is in this post and more. She said she would have someone go check on them and I said thank you.

I remember after I hung up I tried to call Leslie’s phone, then Penny’s phone. I left a message to call me and asked the code question in the message. Then I waited a minute. Then I called my friend again.

I also remember talking to my heart sister and talking to one of my brothers. It’s all a bit blurry. I can’t remember all that was said… or most of it.

Most of the night went like this: Call Leslie’s phone, Call Penny’s phone, Call dispatch and tell them I still can’t get a hold of them. (She tried too and couldn’t get a hold of them.) Then call someone else or wait ten minutes. Repeat.

Leslie’s husband got home and we both paced and called their phones. We waited and waited. It was the hardest thing to wait through. I began to wonder if I should have called earlier and then I would flop to the idea that I called early just not when I first felt anxiety.

I called dispatch every 15 minutes (I remember looking at my phone log and having a realization that I harassed the shit out of the Sheriff’s dispatch. I wasn’t giving up though! Those were my friends, it was one in the morning, and they weren’t back yet!

Officers Are At The Scene

It was a little after one a.m. when I contacted the dispatch lady for the last time. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Just tell me SOMETHING! Are we bailing someone out of jail? Looking for them at a hospital? Do we need to contact a morgue? Tell me something!” At that point, I was slowly losing my cool. I wanted to know what happened to my friends!

The dispatch lady told me, “We can’t tell you anything” as she had said in previous calls, “But listen to me carefully. Are you listening?” At this point I thought -okay, she is going to hint… and I suck at hints! but told her to go ahead.

She said, “There are officers at the scene now and someone will be by to talk to you shortly.” I couldn’t talk for a second. She didn’t need to hint. I understood it clearly. My throat felt like it was closing and I started feeling a bit numb. She asked if I understood and I said yes in almost a whisper.

I stood on the porch waiting for “someone” to come talk to me. And then I saw them… The Sheriff’s officer from our county followed by a car from the TBI (TN Bureau of Investigation). My heart sank.

Sheriff and TBI

I immediately ran inside and yelled for her husband that they were there. We both ran back outside and greeted them – half knowing what was coming but hoping for something else.

I remember his face. I remember his eyes. I remember the sadness as he told us, “There was an incident tonight and we’re sorry to inform you but, Ms Bradshaw has passed away.”

Her husband sobbed, I ran around to the back yard and sobbed. I have no idea why I ran there. I came back around and asked the Sheriff, “What about Penny and the kids? What happened to Penny and the kids?”

He said he didn’t have any information on them and I could tell by the worried look on his face that he really didn’t have any information yet. I cried some more saying, “Oh my god! He killed them too. I just know it.”

Her husband wasn’t handling the news well (who would?) and the Sheriff and TBI stayed with us for a little bit. I went inside and asked if I should call her sister and he said yes to please do so.

Just before that, Leslie’s daughter peeked her head out of the hallway door, I looked at her and she asked, “Dotchi, Where’s my mom?” I wanted to tell her and say something and hug her and hold her and tell her it was okay to cry… but I opened my mouth and what came out was, “Go back to bed for now, honey. Okay?” She said okay, closed the door… and I felt like I wasn’t actually the one that said that. I was weirded out by the experience and I felt horrible because I felt like she knew.

Calling her sister

I called her sister at 2:16 in the morning. I don’t know why I remember that time so clearly but I do. I didn’t know what to say when she answered. She sounded like I had just woke her and was a bit confused as to why I was calling at that hour. I finally took a deep breath and just spit it out. “Leslie went with Penny to drop of Penny’s kids with [asshole] and he killed Leslie and I don’t know where Penny and the kids are!”

I stopped because I couldn’t breathe for a second. It’s like my lungs just didn’t work. I couldn’t inhale as I heard her sad voice cry back into the phone at me, “Not my sister!” And I lost it and cried some more.

She said she would come get the kids for Leslie’s husband. She showed up and talked to TBI and the Sheriff (I think…) and then we packed bags of clothes for the kids and we cried in the laundry room together.

She told me, “You don’t know how much you mean to her.” and then I told her, “You have no idea how much she looked up to you.” And then we cried some more. She loaded the kids into her car and I cried as she drove away with them.

I got my kids up and told them to get in the van and I would explain what was going on when we got home.

Not My Leslie

When we got home, we all went into my room and sat on the bed. I told them that Leslie had died. The one who doesn’t deserve to be named killed her. We all sobbed in a pile of hugs and tears. I remember one of them bawling, “NOT MY LESLIE!” and then one of them asked, “Where is Penny and her kids?”

I told him I didn’t know. They didn’t have information on them but to be honest, we should hope they are alive but not get our hopes up yet. And then we cried some more until we fell asleep.

The next morning

Technically, it was the same morning. Saturday, I stood on the porch and cried some more. I went back in and hugged my kids when they cried and then went back outside on my porch and sobbed my heart out. I felt like the whole plan was in vain and the longer it was, the more I was convinced he killed them all.

Finally, my phone rang. It was Penny’s sister, Lisa. She asked me if I had heard. I told her what I knew and snot slobbered and bawled into the phone that I didn’t know what happened to Penny and the kids. She told me that Penny was in ICU in Chattanooga and the kids were in protective custody.

I found out the visiting times and for the first time that day, I wasn’t crying. I packed my kids into my car and sped to Nana’s house. We ran in and I told her I was leaving the boys with her, Penny was in ICU, and that I would be back. Just before that, she had seen the news on what was happening.

Seeing Penny and Realization

She said okay… and to this day, I still feel bad because I didn’t ask her to watch them, I TOLD her to watch them. I think I called her on the way. I don’t remember. But I felt so bad because that is not like me. But this was an emergency.

At the hospital, I got to see Penny. I cried when I saw her. I just knew she wasn’t going to make it. She woke up long enough to say that Leslie tried to call me. I knew she did.

Weeks later when Penny was moved to a room, I got to see her kids too. And that was when it hit me, what I did, I saved lives. That was Leslie’s whole goal. To make sure the asshole didn’t hurt her friend or her kids.

It was weird. That day I came to see Penny there were a lot of people there. Everyone kept asking, “Is that her?” and then hugging me and thanking me for calling the police. It was a bitter sweet moment because I lost my best friend but I saved five people too… No… Leslie saved five people with my help.

When I went into Penny’s room, it was full of people and her children were there. I hugged Penny and then sat in a chair while her kids talked to her. Someone mentioned me and I am not sure how it came up again but it was mentioned that Penny and the kids were alive because of me.

Penny’s oldest daughter turned to me and asked, “You’re the one who called?” I nodded and then she and her siblings came up to me all hugged me and thanked me. Her oldest daughter looked up at me with such gratitude and said, “You’re my hero!”

Oh my. My heart hurt so bad. No child should have to witness what they did or go through what they did. But here they were, alive and hugging me and calling me a hero. All I could do was cry and hug them. I was grateful Leslie’s plan worked and they were safe but it tore me apart inside because I lost my best friend too.

I got to see Leslie’s kids again. I still keep in touch with the older two. Penny’s children are growing up because of Leslie. Penny became a huge advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness. I helped a few other ladies escape dangerous relationships also.

Domestic violence shook my world. I never really dealt with Leslie’s death. I still cry for losing her. But I feel like it is time for me to share her story.

Because sometimes domestic violence looks like this

Penny Waldroup in the ambulance after the incidence.

But sometimes, it also looks like this.

Leslie’s headstone.


50 Questions: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Today’s 50 question is number 38.

“What do you want to be when you grow up? (Yes, there is still time!)

I thought I would answer this a wee bit different from just “I wanna be a writer!” I am listing what I wanted to be throughout my life.

Here are my top six of things I wanted to be (and why I didn’t become that).

What I wanted to be #1: A Bird

When I was in Kindergarten I wanted to be a bird.

Photo Credit: holyknight33 (is gone! too busy! sorry guys!) via StoolsFair / CC BY-NC

Specifically, I wanted to be a RED bird. For some reason, I didn’t realize that you stayed human through your whole life. I wanted to be able to fly. 

What happened? I stayed human. I know. That’s so anticlimactic. It would be cooler if I had turned into a lizard or a polar bear instead. That would make blogging a lot harder though.

What I wanted to be #2: A Teacher

Then came along the desire to be a teacher. I had dreams of being the best teacher EVER! I was going to be just like Mrs. Beaulafont, my third grade teacher.

What happened? As I got older, I realized that I like children, just not that much. I also get migraines easily with a lot of noise. I don’t want to be near them 8+ hours a day 5 days a week, 10 months out of the year. (School here starts August 31st and gets out June 9th). 

Plus, I realized that my idea of education and teaching varies greatly from the public school system’s idea of education and teaching. I would probably be fired by the end of year one.

What I wanted to be #3: Race Car Driver!

Yes, at one point in my life I wanted to be a race car driver. I wanted to feel the thrill of driving at stupidly high speeds and enjoy the exhilaration and rush of the sport.

Photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via Foter.com / CC BY

What happened? When I was 18 years old, I was in a pretty bad accident that totaled my 1967 Plymouth Valiant. That thing was built like a tank.

I realized that if a car accident at 55 mph could total the Green Beast, I would probably die if I crashed a glorified aluminum can, even if it did have a reinforced roll cage in it.

What I wanted to be #4: A Nun

Oh how I dreamed of living in a cool cathedral style church, gardening, singing, praising God, and doing all the other cool Nun things.

Photo credit: zoonabar via Foter.com / CC BY

What happened? I learned that you have to be Catholic to be a Nun. I am not, nor have I ever been, Catholic.

What I wanted to be #5: A Rodeo Clown

Yes, at one point in my life I wanted to be a rodeo clown because it combined rodeos (which I loved) and clowning (which I also loved) into one really cool job!

What happened? Common sense and self-preservation kicked in. I realized what could happen.

WARNING: Link is probably NSFW/ NSFL and you probably should not open it if you are squeamish. Why I am not a rodeo clown.

What I wanted to be #6: A Doctor or a Nurse or a Nurse Practitioner

Wouldn’t that be cool though? Helping people and saving lives would be the highlight of that career. Getting to know people would be cool too. Just making a difference in people’s lives would outweigh the bad things of the job. Right?

I did become a Certified Nurse Assistant and had a plan of working up to becoming a Physicians Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. 

Photo credit: DES Daughter via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

What happened? Well… first off, I can’t afford to go to college. My credit sucks so hard it could suck the yoke out an egg through a pinhole so, loans are out.

I had made some plans for after both my kids turned 18 and all. But I ended up screwing up my back and I don’t think I would be able to go through college now.

It was a fun dream though.

What I want to be now

Now, I want to be a writer. Wait… I am a writer. I want to be a well-paid writer. Erma Bombeck is my idol for writing. 

Photo credit: Leukos. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

My goal is to publish one Erma Bombeck style book before I die. I should work on that.

So, what’s taking you so long? Self doubt. I am my own worse critic. I am the only thing holding me back. Admitting that doesn’t make it easier to do either. For right now, I am sharpening my writing skills.

I also have spent my off time getting all of my poems into a book. I decided to really take my time on it and get it how I want it – then I will publish it as my first book. I will work from there.

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Mailbag! More on Vitamin D

Oh… this is long. Grab your coffee, chips, and popcorn. We’re going to be here for a while. I tried to make it short but I get long-winded to tell you about my adventures in Vitamin D.

RealMaryZ from The Bitchy Mama replied on my last post about Mushrooms and Vitamin D. Here is part of her comment.

…you can try sunshine, canned tuna, fortified milk, cereal and orange juice, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and ultraviolet lamps. Good luck!

Thanks RealMaryZ! I love it when people offer suggestions because I hope that someone has another idea of something I have missed. That’s how I found out about the mushrooms/ Vitamin D.

Continue reading

Photo A Day: Howl


Remember in The Revenant when Leonardo DiCaprio went down the river through falls and all that? This is where it was filmed.

See the people? That’s for size comparison. It was beautiful there.

Why “howl”? Because I had a howling good time… and then I was howling in pain lol. I way WAY over-did it yesterday.

Poem By Me: Low

I found this poem that I wrote on Tumblr. I don’t go on there often. I wrote it in 2009 and promptly forgot about it. I decided to share it here so I don’t lose it again.


I feel low even though I shouldn’t
You said I talked, even though I wouldn’t.
And I am feeling your words blow
My mind went numb and I felt low.
Not for long because I have seen this so much
A town so small and so out of touch
You people bicker and banter and blame everyone else
When you should be thinking what you said yourself.
I kept your secrets. The dark ones and the deep.
I kept my mouth shut. Not even a peep.
And you still blamed me when it’s somebody else
Too bad you blamed me and not yourself.
But I know the secrets you slipped and told her
I’m not carrying that burden upon my shoulders
You messed up. Not me. And I won’t take the blame.
You slandered yourself… ruined your own name.
I’ll still keep those secrets until the end
But I am truly, forever, no longer your friend.

50 Questions: A Deep Dark Secret

Share a secret you’ve never told anyone. Until now…

I was pondering this question for a while. I am an open and honest person. Sometimes to the point of it being a fault of mine. If you ask me a question, I will tell you the answer. It might not be the answer you were looking for, but I will tell you anyway. After all, you asked for it! So, I thought about all the secrets I could tell you guys.

Had a son who died because I took him off life support… nope, already told that.

All my medical conditions… talk about them all the time.

My children… talk about them all the time too.

My ex… talk about him some too.

There really isn’t anything very secretive about me at all. And then I had a conversation with someone (who wishes not to be named on my blog) about life, death, poverty, and self-image; and it hit me! I know what secrets I am going to share. I say secrets because they go hand in hand. Get the happy pills ready… here we go!

Death is not an end

This isn’t really a huge secret. Many people believe in an afterlife. But I do remember things that aren’t from this life. I remember them vividly. I have had out of body experiences and near death experiences. I can tell you that is what shaped my beliefs, partly. This is why I would never commit suicide. You can kill your body, but the soul continues on and you will be reborn into something or someone. Your energy is what makes you who you are. Not so much the body. The body is just a physical experience you claim before you are born.

Call me crazy all you want but, I warned you about that when I called my blog “Crazy Woman’s Journal“.

Let’s say you have a shitty life and you decide to off yourself. You will get to redo the life over again. Maybe not the exact same life, but one with similar problems. You can get a new life here in this time or in an alternate universe. It won’t matter if you kill yourself because you will get to redo it over and over until you live the life you are supposed to complete.

Analogy time! Your life is a series of books…

It would be like if your life were a series of books. You were reading through the books and decided in book 3 that you didn’t want to read them anymore and threw them in the trash. You went to the life library and picked a new set of books and started reading. But damn it! These books are following the same story line as the last series. You toss that set in the trash too and go back for another series to read.

This next series is JUST like the last two series. Same type of characters, same settings, and I swayer to you, the story is the same as the first two. Only this time you begrudgingly finish reading the series to learn something amazing, some life altering experience that you didn’t expect.

So, while the books sucked at first, and droned on in some areas, and one chapter just described a cat’s fur, the story line (as a whole) has a purpose.

That purpose sometimes sucks

While some lives are meant to change something or be amazing, other lives are a form of punishment. I call this idea “The Good, the bad, and the ugly”.

The Good

Some people get to have amazing lives with “demons” they still have to battle or overcome. They might create a mega-company that changes the world. They might become doctors who revolutionize cancer treatments. They might be some guy who discovers something great but it’s not recognized in this life. They might be an artist who touches many. There are so many great lives people can live.

The Bad

Then there are the shitty lives where you just seem to suffer, can never get ahead, or spend the rest of your life in jail or as a slave. These lives aren’t pointless though. They have meaning too. They serve a purpose. Sometimes they are for you to learn some lesson about hardship.

Like, how to live frugally… or how to survive in the mountains after a government overthrow… or how to live homeless… or how you can survive living in chronic pain even though it sucks ass… or to teach you to stand up for yourself when you have lived an oppressed life… or how to change your way of thinking and not be so closed-minded… or a chance to fight in a revolution and help make a change.

The Ugly

It can also be a punishment. It’s a life meant for paying a karmic debt, for lack of a better word.

Let’s say that you had a life where you decided to try making lamp shades out of your friend’s skin and stew out of there brains and vital organs. In that life, you got away with it and caused a lot of pain to many people, not just the one’s you killed off and consumed. Their families, their friends, the community, the state, the nation… everyone who was effected by your murderous, carnivorous, interior decorating spree adds to your karmic debt.

If, in that life, you were caught, went to jail, found remorse, and tried to better yourself; your karmic debt would be less. But that life, you managed to evade police, killed a puppy or ten for fun, set random fires that no one linked to you, and basically were just a psychopathic asshole. Your karmic debt would probably follow you through several lives of becoming Mother Teresa or Princess Di before you would be out of karmic debt.

Not all karmic debt if that extreme though. Sometimes you just suffer through a disease but end up beating it because your karmic debt is paid. Or you have a series of bad things happen but nothing that sends you to a padded room. It’s things that you survive and make it through… and then you help others get through the same thing and your karmic debt gets better each time.

Basically, it’s complicated.

Deep Dark Secret #2: My Karmic Debt

I sometimes jokingly say that whatever I did in my last life must have been horrible to deserve such a shit life like this. But honestly, I don’t think it was really that bad because I could have it much worse. 

I do honestly think that this life is here as part of a karmic debt and part as a lesson that I have not figured out yet. Whatever I did in a past life wasn’t heinous like the murderous example above but it hurt a lot of people nonetheless and now I am paying my debt.

I am assuming here… It probably has something to do with medical since I am living with so many medical problems and I have a hard time with doctors treating me horrible. It probably has something to do with affection since I have trouble bonding with people. Or maybe those are just random forms of punishment that were doled out it has nothing to do with that at all.

Anyway, I do believe that this life is a punishment (for lack of a better word) where I am paying my karmic debt. I have trouble seeing myself as anything good which, I think, is part of the debt. People tell me I am talented, amazing, and all sorts of amazing things but I just can’t see it. I wish that for one day, I could see myself through someone else’s eyes.

Here is a minor example. I drew this picture of my cat, Sweetie. People say it is amazing and I did a great job. I don’t see it. I don’t see why it is so good. I can see all my mistakes though.

CAM00075 (2)

I think the disconnection I feel is just a part of my karmic debt. I can connect just enough so that I am not completely isolated emotionally. But, if I bond with someone or get close to them, they are taken away in one form or another. I am supposed to be alone this life (this much I know). At some point I may bond with someone and they won’t disappear, and then I will know my karmic debt is paid. It may not happen in this life. If it doesn’t, then I know it will happen early in my next life and we will be very close.

Until then, I only have enough bonding to keep me from going insane. When I meet a person that I instantly feel like I could bond with, I find myself pushing them away. Not because I don’t want to have a bond with people but because I don’t want my friends to keep dying off at an amazing rate and in violent manners. I imagine that the person who pushes back and won’t go away… I imagine that is the person that will help me see my worth and finally have my debt paid.

So, if you are my friend and wonder why I tend to run away and not get close to you, this is why. It’s my punishment. And I am sorry for it but I don’t know how to change it, or make it better, or make my friends stop disappearing, or make them stop dying, or make them stay without clinging to them so much that they start to hate me. But mostly, I am sorry.

I don’t know what karmic debt I am repaying but I hurt someone really bad and now, I am paying for it with this life. There are no words that can convey my sorrow.

50 Questions: What Are You Addicted To?

What are you addicted to, and why?

Coffee. That didn’t take long to think of. There isn’t anything else that I am addicted to. Just coffee.

coffee beans

Why? Because when I don’t drink it, I get horrible migraines. If I continue to avoid coffee, they do not go away. I went about a year or two without coffee and the migraines never went away. In fact, my doctor at the time told me to start drinking coffee to help alleviate the migraines. And it worked. I miss you Dr Morgan!

It also worked this year after I dropped a door on my head. I was leaking clear fluid out my nose and ear. The headache was indescribable. I really have never had a headache like that before. If I was forced to describe it, I would say it was like my brain felt dry and raw and like a pressure behind my eye. The dripping would start and it would get SO much worse.

Yes, I went to the doctor for it. No, they didn’t do anything about it.

Anyway, I started drinking strong coffee (and LOTS of it) and just like Google said, the headaches were a lot less. I could handle them.

Oh sure, I still get the clear water-like drips and it still runs down my throat. And when it does, I just fill up my coffee cup even more and drink coffee until my head isn’t pounding.

So… coffee. I am totally addicted to coffee. And for a good reason.

50 Questions: Life-Changing High School Experience

Question one on the list is:

“What thing that happened in high school that pretty much changed your life forever?”

I have to cheat a little on this question. High school, for me, was hard but nothing life altering really happened. Unless you count getting married, traveling to Georgia to see my father-in-law as we thought he would die, almost dropping out but, I graduated through night school.

Go back one year to grade 9 in Junior High and it’s a different story. Since 9th grade is now in high school, I am going to tell that story.

Grab your popcorn and coffee.

Grade 9 – The Story

I was 15 years old – young, dumb, naive, and immature. I had a boyfriend at the time and he was about 17 or 18. I think he had just turned 18. We had sex because I thought that was the next step in our relationship and because I wanted to be “cool” like everyone else. School started and it wasn’t long after that when I found out I was pregnant.

Since it was 9th grade in a Junior High school with grade 6-8 kids, I was given the option to going to the pregnant girl’s school. At the time it was called Thalia Lynn. It was on the same campus as Princess Anne High School (now it’s the PA Center at Renaissance Academy).

I was due at the end of May 1991. I think it was 28 May 1991 or something close to it. I was excited and scared. I wanted to graduate still but I had no idea how I was going to do everything. Dad Kurt sat us down and had us make a plan for our future. I didn’t believe in abortion so that was out. I was going to keep him no matter what. We had a lot to decide.

Early Labor and Delivery

None of that planning really mattered because my water started leaking and I went into the Portsmouth Naval Hospital’s L&D ward to have it checked out. My water broke in the doctor’s face (how embarrassing!) and my mom managed to stifle a laugh until he left the room to shower and change. Actually, we didn’t see him the rest of the time.

I was in labor for something like 10  1/2 hours after that. He was born at 28 weeks gestation (about 3 1/2 months early) and went straight to NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

Brandon Thomas Latham

I love the sound of his name. I say it to myself a lot and I still get tears in my eyes. It’s something that will haunt me forever. We learned that he had Hydrops Fetalis. Do not google that. It will break your heart.

While I was pregnant, I got the parvovirus B19  which caused him to have Hydrops Fetalis. In case you aren’t familiar with that condition… it is severe edema (fluid accumulation) in a fetus/ baby. It’s like hydrocephalus (water on the brain) but all over the body. He was born with under-developed lungs and a hole in his heart also. We later learned that he also had Downs Syndrome, or Trisomy 21.

Just being born and making it 24 hours was a miracle. He lived on life support the entire time he was alive. His lungs kept collapsing and he had just a slew of health crises. It took such a toll on my psyche to watch my baby decline in health and watch him slowly die before my eyes.

This is also the day I got to finally see his medication wear off a little. With a tube in him mouth and wires coming out of every part of his body, he started writhing in pain… and all I could do was stand there helplessly and cry for the whole three minutes that the nurse had to wait to give him the next dose.

If you are ever confused as to how long 3 minutes is… it is an eternity when you are watching a baby suffer.

Day 5: The Inevitable Happens

By day five, he was struggling pretty bad. I got to hold him for the first time to help change sheets. I was on cloud 9 in that moment. Nothing else existed. Just me and Brandon.

Then the doctors called us for a meeting. It was all the doctors, me, my mom, my boyfriend, and his mom and dad. They told us that sometimes medicine helps but there reaches a point where it stops helping and just starts hurting. We were at the point where it was hurting him. They said we could keep him on life support until he died or we could take him off life support and let him die a little faster. There was no “if he lives” or “maybe he will make it”. He was going to die.

They left and let us decide. My boyfriend and his family were so distraught that they didn’t want to make the decision.

My mom turned to me and said that while, technically, on paper, it was her choice (since I was a minor), she felt it would be wrong to make that decision for me and that she would support me either way I chose. I immediately started bawling and said I couldn’t watch him suffer anymore. Just three minutes of watching him writhe in pain and contort his face in agony while attempting to cry with a tube down his throat was all it took for me to know this was no way to life… or die.

And in my arms on that night…

We went to the chapel and prayed. Let me rephrase that. Everyone else prayed. I begged god that if there was really a god, to take my life and let him live. Make him better. Give him a chance. I had heard too many times that it was my fault because I wasn’t “Christian enough” (not from my family or friends though). I was willing to burn in hell for eternity to let him live.

It didn’t happen though. We went back to NICU where he was struggling to stay alive. The nurse gave him a little extra medicine and then they tied off all the tubes and cut them, removed the intubation tube, and wrapped him in a blanket and put him in my arms.

I think someone said a prayer, he was baptized non-denominational, and then we all took a turn holding him. When he came back to me, I couldn’t let go again.

Tissue please…

For two hours I watched his skin start to grey, I watched him gasp for air as his little lungs couldn’t do anything with the air he drew in, and I felt his skin turn colder and colder.

The doctor came over for another listen for his heartbeat. He asked if I wanted to hear it too. I did! He put the stethoscope on my ears and kept it pressed to Brandon’s chest. I heard a strong THUMP and then waited. I heard a lighter thump and then nothing. I didn’t hear anything after that. I told the doctor I didn’t hear anything anymore. He listened again.

At 7:28 pm, I held my son in my arms as he was pronounced dead. And I felt… numb. My baby had died. My little boy was gone. My first child was laying lifeless in my arms and I couldn’t feel anything for a second. Then I just felt relief. I knew he wasn’t going to hurt anymore. He wasn’t in pain anymore.

The Aftermath

After that, I couldn’t face going back to Thalia Lynn. I couldn’t watch all those girls giving birth to healthy babies knowing that my son was never coming home. I returned to regular school which was hard also.

I joined The Compassionate Friends support group and started my path to healing. They also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. They are free but accept donations. I get paid nothing for saying this; I just highly recommend them.

I got a tattoo done in his honor also.

Brandon's Memorial Tattoo

The purple ribbon is for grieving. The butterfly is The Compassionate Friends symbol for renewed life. It’s a sign of hope that our children are living a new life or that they reincarnated, or went to heaven, or another dimension. You can read the full details in
“Why Butterflies?” here. The two little hearts are for his brothers. And the two little hook things are a symbol for me still holding him in my heart.

I also started writing poetry as a way to grieve. Here is my first poem…

My First Poem – Baby

When my baby died
I cried all night long
I wished that he were here
Yet happy he was gone
For now I know he’s peaceful
And will never be sad inside;
But shouldn’t he be crying
For the ones he’s left behind?
We mortals still have questions
We ask him every day
The one I ask so often is
“Will you be okay?”
We bring him tiny presents
And rest them on his “bed”
I still can’t help but wonder
“Why can’t I be dead?”
But I am here to tell the story
Of how he never cried
Of how he fought for life
Until the day he died
In his ears I whispered
Sweet nothings for him to hear
To let him know I loved him
And that I was very near
But as I whispered softly
He quietly passed away
And took my love to heaven
Forever on that day.

Hopefully the next questions won’t be so depressing.