How Much Wood Can A Wood Chuck Chuck?

This post might make a wood chuck upchuck.  And maybe you too.  It’s…errr…ummm…introspective?  I hope I used that word in the right context…

First off…let me begin by introducing you to my logs.  (Heh Heh…)

Look at those tree trunks sitting on a log!

Look at those tree trunks sitting on a log!

It all started when I saw a cool table that one of my favorite bloggers over at The Art Of Doing Stuff made out of a tree stump. (If you like cool projects, chickens and funny Canadian chicks then you’ll like her.) I wanted to try the same project minus the legs.  Ummm…the table legs AND Trap’s legs.  Then I saw that ol’ Martha had done a stump table too but she left off the legs and painted the top with a beautiful blue enamel paint. (If you like impossible projects that involve Pantone colored chicken eggs or hand harvested wheat that is only available in 1 square mile of Eastern Maine for 76 hours out of the year…then you’ll like Martha’s blog.)

I haven’t learned how to link yet so here is the table from The Art Of Doing Stuff:

And here is Martha’s.  (Or Marty as I like to call her when we get together and knock back a few brewskies):

“Heeeeey!” I thought.  “I have access to lots of logs!” (Heh heh…)

Sidenote:  To Whom It May Concern.  In my next life, please do not send me back with a 14 year old boy’s sense of humor.  Thank you.

We have family with some land.  And a lot of dead trees from the drought last year.  They have been cutting them down like crazy so I asked them to keep an eye out for any good pieces of wood they might come across.

Of course this caused MUCH rolling of the eyes from my spouse.  He was rolling his eyes so hard that 13 year old girls were coming over to take lessons from him.

So now I HAD to actually do something with these logs.  Doh.

Now I was supposed to let them sit and dry out for a month.  To make the bark easier to peel off.  Ooops.  Instead I just started working on them right way.  With a little help from my friends.

"Okay, you stab yourself in the leg with that screwdriver and I'll tip this log over and crush Mom's ankle.  Aaaand GO."

“Okay, you stab yourself in the leg with that screwdriver and I’ll tip this log over and crush Mom’s ankle. Aaaand GO.”

It took forever.  No joke.  The kids were fascinated the first few days I worked on them.  Sharp tools and the possibility of being maimed…what wasn’t to love?

Until I got out the sander.  They hate the sander.  TOO NOISY!


In unrelated news....sales of sanders have risen 300% amongst women with small children...

In unrelated news….sales of sanders have risen 300% amongst women with small children…

In the midst of this project I had my first visit with the naturopathic doctor.  Now a naturopathic does a whole body/mind thing.  So for the first 2 hour appointment we just talked.  About…everything.  Stuff.  I cried. A lot.  I’m a crier.  It was VERY therapeutic.  But one thing she asked me that really stuck with me was, “Are you an angry person?  Do you hold anger?”


That was my immediate, knee jerk reply.  And it’s mostly true.  I don’t like to be angry.  I’m the person you can cut in front of in the grocery store line and I probably won’t say anything because I don’t feel like it’s worth it.  Getting mad never makes me feel better.  And it certainly doesn’t make the person you get mad at feel better.  I’ll make the conscious decision to either say something to the person or just let it go.

Except that I got home from that appointment and started sanding down those logs.  And thinking.  And thinking.  And thinking.  Sanding those things became almost meditative and do you know what I realized?

I was furious.  I was shakingly, ragingly mad.

I had been slowly been getting sick since last summer.  It started with fevers every night for a month.  Anywhere from 99 to 102 degrees.  Horrible night sweats.  Then all of a sudden…a rash.  A different rash than the ones I’ve shown you.  This was on my elbows.  Knees.  Scalp. And so painful on my hands that I couldn’t pick up my kids.

August. Dermatitis Herpetifomis.  Celiac that comes out through your skin.  So I gave up gluten and it took a few months but everything calmed down.

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.

September.  The swollen thyroid.  The nodules.  The biopsies.  Everything clear.

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.

October.  Every lymph node in my body swells up.  They recommend putting me under to take out and biopsy a whole lymph node from the back of my neck.  It comes back as negative for lymphoma.  They culture it for 2 months to check for bacteria or fungus.  Negative.

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.

November.  The hives start.  I’m so over doctors at this point that I decide to keep a food diary and discover that I get the hives when I drink or eat anything with sulfates.  Wine, pickled foods etc.  No problem, I cut them all out.

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.

Sometimes I would get random hives and I would think, “Huh…I must have eaten SOMETHING with sulfates and just didn’t realize it.”

End of February.  That’s where you joined me.  That’s when my body exploded.  Remember this?

photo 3

It just gets better with age, doesn't it?

It just gets better with age, doesn’t it?

Guess what?  That’s not okay.

That. Is. Not. Okay.

So here is what I’ve discovered while I’ve been sanding down these old pieces of oak.

Being diagnosed with a ‘chronic illness’ sucks.  It’s scary.  You go to bed every night and you don’t know what your body will do while you sleep.  More hives?  More broken blood vessels?  Lumps on my face?  Feet and hands cramping so badly from the steroids that you wake up gasping with pain.

That is justifiably infuriating.

Scarred from the vasculitis.  From the biopsies.  My body now bears marks that are a testament to this journey.

I kept sanding.  Furious.

Then I found the paths the worms had burrowed through those stumps.  And I thought they were beautiful.  It calmed me.

Don't ask me why I found a dental tool in Kyle's's rather 'Dexter' of him...


I found scarring where they had gotten too close to the fire and been rescued just in the nick of time.  And I loved the character it gave them.

Tree Nip

And I found a superfluous nipple which I loved because I am truly a juvenile.

This has been such a journey for me.  A scary, confusing journey.  One that has caused me to stop.  And think.  And decide what I am worth.  A journey that has made me stand up and fight for myself.  To cherish and care for myself.  To put myself out there to the world every time I publish a blog post because it is scary.  But worth it if one person is helped.

Look.  At this.  Off of almost all my meds expect for the steroids (down from 60 mg/day to 25 mg/day with an end date of June 21st).  I did this.  I won’t even pretend to not be so proud that I’m giddy.

The picture on the left was taken May 3rd.  The picture on the right was taken today, May 26th.

The picture on the left was taken May 3rd. The picture on the right was taken today, May 26th.

The logs and I…we have a lot in common.  Slowly peeling off the bark.  Revealing the scarring.  And finding a beauty in it.  I’ve gotten really close to the fire.  But I’ve pulled back just in the nick of time.  And you know what?

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay.

It really is.


13 thoughts on “How Much Wood Can A Wood Chuck Chuck?

  1. what a wonderful, inspiring story, my sweet dear Dannyelle ….you are truly the MOST AMAZING gal I know and love!!! YOU WILL OVERCOME….we are all praying and wishing you true health and wellness …and keep that razor sense of humor too! :))) love you YOUR DADDDI-O!!

  2. Wow wow wow wow wow. I’m smiling while reading through blurry, tear-filled eyes! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

  3. I’ve been reading all of your posts and can’t believe I haven’t commented yet. I so admire your humor and strength throughout this entire ordeal. You are amazing, my dear. We hope to see you soon! I miss you and your beautiful family 🙂

  4. It’s funny where we find inspiration and insight, isn’t it? I cried when I read this too. I’m so glad you are feeling better!

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