Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009: a review


I haven't been the greatest at posting lately. Life has gotten in the way, and actually I kind of prefer it that way. I'd rather be out and about, or at least busying myself at home than sitting in front of my computer with nothing to do. Lately there have been some very very bad days, but there are always good days to outweigh them. I did put my blog address in a few Christmas cards to let people know how they could catch up with me, so I am going to write somewhat of a review of the year. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I hope you enjoy it.

In January after getting to spend quite awhile with family and friends during the last few weeks of 2008, we returned back to Ohio so Ryan could return to school. I really do not remember many specifics of the winter. It was cold, I'm sure I was in pain, but I know I wore a lot of long underwear.

When Ryan was in school I was at home resting, watching TV, reading, and probably crocheting. Occasionally on Friday nights we got together with friends at Barley's Smokehouse and Brewpub for drinks and good bar-b-que. Friends of ours also moved back into their house after having it remodeled so we all enjoyed get togethers to see the new additions. We also attend Terra Nova Community Church on Sunday mornings and we love our church family.

In March I finally found a doctor who was able to help me out with my Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'm thankful for my primary doctor who has stuck through this with all of me and given me freedom and a lot of input into my treatments. I began seeing Dr. Goldfarb at the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Center in Cleveland and learned more about my conditions and the best ways of treating them. I've always had low iron, but I also had deficiencies in other areas, as well as it being clear my immune function was not operating to the best of it's ability. The basic principle at FFC is to treat the whole body, working right down to increasing cellular health. Besides taking care of some nagging infections, I began a new treatment for the thyroid disorder I've known about since 7th grade. I also started taking a plethora of supplements all aimed at optimizing health and increasing energy. Within 6 months I showed significant improvement, which I consider very good news.

So by Spring time I was walking more, getting out of the apartment more, and getting to see friends. In April I went to Lexington, KY to attend a weekend long course I had been eyeing even before the fibro took over my life. It was called the School(s) for Conversion and it was held with the members of an intentional community called Communality. It was an amazing weekend of discussing new ways (and old ways) of Christian living and fellowshiping with a variety of different and like minded folks.

Since we moved to Ohio Ryan has been a teaching assistant for several different biology courses at OSU. In the spring quarter he managed to continue teaching, finish his master's research, and obtain a part time job. He finished his master's degree in Entemology in June and stayed busy working at Gentile's Wine and Beer and Brewing Supply store through the summer. Not only is this a great job for obvious reasons (the wine, beer, and brewing) but also it is just down the street from our apartment and takes less than 2 minutes to walk there. We home brewed beer before he started working there, but Ryan has pretty consistently kept something brewing for the last several months.

My mom, Ryan's parents and brother all came out for visits during the summer. There were no special events or anything, we just showed them a good time and enjoyed them taking us out to eat at our favorite restaurants. We see Ryan's sister and fiance on a fairly regular basis because they live just over an hour away in Cincinnati.

With the warmer weather and slightly healthier body, I was able to get out and enjoy our neighborhood slightly better. Within walking distance of our apartment we have 2 grocery stores, a great butcher shop, several drug stores, and about a dozen or so restaurants. It's actually fairly crazy after growing up in rural northeastern PA. I've really enjoyed getting familiar with the local coffee roasters, Stauf's who have a nice coffee shop and serve lunch. I got there a lot to get out of the apartment and read or write. I've been known to go to the Dairy Queen for dinner on more than one occasion while Ryan has been at work, but I don't make a real habit out of it. The restaurants and bars are great and the people are usually extremely friendly. We chose where we live because we know people who live close by, and it was certainly a good choice. We are close to friends and even run into people while we are out and about now.

I spent the last few weeks in Ithaca with my sister Stacey and her family. My nephew Johnny is getting to be such a big boy and we played and had fun until he went back to school. This year he is in the 2nd grade!!

Ryan came out for a week as well so we got down to Wyalusing and Tunkhannock. We saw friends we hadn't seen in a long time. Our friends Etienne and Danielle were in from Vancouver and Togo so we got to see them at their parents house on our short visit. It was great to get in touch with old friends. We were also able to make an appearance at the Wyoming County Fair for the first time since we had moved to Ohio.

In the fall Ryan started work on his PhD, began teaching again, and continued work at Gentile's. He's busy enough for the both of us since I still am not healthy enough for much other than taking care of myself. His boss at the store Roger is really nice and I think Ryan really enjoys working there.

I've been crocheting away, reading, writing, going to the coffee shop, and I've found my favorite ice cream place of all time, it's called Jeni's and is local with three or four stores in Columbus. As always we have been cheering on the Buckeye's and the football season started off with our friend's annual block party. Ryan made some amazing pulled-pork for the event and I still crave it.

I still spend a lot of time going to doctor's appointments and have been diligently seeing a chiropractor who is helping me out with my pain a lot. In March when I started seeing Dr. Goldfarb I had been walking with a cane pretty much full time. Throughout the summer I didn't need it till the weekend of the fair when I just walked too much, and now that the weather is colder I have been using it occasionally. I do have a lot of pain sometimes, but it is also an energy saver. The less pain I have, and the less effort I have to use to accomplish a task the better I feel and the better my day is.

Most recently I have done all the necessary paper work to head back to school at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio for the Spring semester. I changed my degree program from Christian Education to a Masters in Theological Studies. Given the limitations set on me by my health this will be an easier program to complete since I do not have to a do a year of field education. I still have a lot of class work ahead of me, but since I had done so much work before I got ill, it will be worth it to finish what I started. I hope to be completed by May of 2011, but it's a completely flexible date.

So here I am, officially the day before my birthday. This week I am battling a bout of insomnia that is very common to those with fibromyalgia. I got this written though, and it's been on my list. Tonight we are going to a Blue Jackets hockey game with tickets Ryan got from a customer (another job perk) and on Friday we are headed to Barley's to celebrate with the normal crew. I still have some crocheting, cookie baking, and Buckeye making to take care of before next week. But what gets done gets done, and I'm not going to stress about it at all.

I hope 2010 can bring more good things to life in our nice little world we are creating for ourselves. I hope things are well with you, my reader.

I have one request for the New Year, if you do not know very much about fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, learn it. It sucks and a lot of people out there are suffering quietly. I'm less quiet about it... but when have you known me to be quiet about anything. I really just want more people to be aware of the life changing effects it has one people.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

More than a month

It's been more than a month since I have posted. I have things to say, especially a review for Unexpected Blessings. But it's been quite the whirlwind of a month. Two trips back to PA, followed by a week of feeling horrible after each of them. With the weather turning so cold and unpleasant I have been in some serious pain. I'm also still trying to learn my limits of social interaction. Needless to say, the holidays are probably going to be rough this year. Just wanted to let you know I'm still kicking, and I'm going to try to make a deliberate effort to write this week.

Monday, November 02, 2009

What I'm Reading: Unexpected Blessings


On bookshelves today is Unexpected Blessings by Roxanne Black. I received a slightly advanced copy (meaning I got it yesterday morning) but have not had time to start reading it till this evening.
When the author was 15 years old she was diagnosed with lupus and out of that illness began a community called Friends' Health Connection. Out of her life experiences and those with who she connected with through her community Roxanne has written in inspirational book for those facing challenge.
It appears to be an incredibly easy read and am very much looking forward to digging in. When I finish I will let you all know how I feel, but it certainly has me excited.

What I'm Watching: Castle

Castle, which starts Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic is a crime procedural show on ABC. It's in its second season and going strong. I didn't get really interested in the show till half way through the first season, and then I was only watching it online. Last week Ryan and I made a switch from watching CSI: Miami in the 10 o'clock Monday night slot to watching Castle.

I am a fan of Nathan Fillion from when he starred as Captain Mal Reynolds on Joss Whedon's show Firefly, which is the original reason I began watching and stayed for the rest of the charming cast. Fillion plays a successful writer, Richard Castle, who joins up with NYPD's top detectives to do research for a new book. There he finds his inspiration in Kate Beckett, played by Katic. They have an great dynamic, both working well as detectives and learning to become friends. Castle also doens't hide the fact that he find Beckett incredible attractive.

The supporting cast is amazing. Castle is a single dad, and has an actress mother (Susan Sullivan) who lives with him and his daughter (Molly C. Quinn). The mother/son, father/daughter dynamic is amazing. They have real and positive family relationships and often contribute to Castle's thought process while working on a case or a book.

This show certainly has more humor than most crime shows that are on the air now. It still deals with death in a very real way, it is less about the violence and murder and more about the people invovled in the crime.

I think it is certainly worth a look online if you are not ready to replace your favorite Monday night show.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Everything I do

I was just sitting here at my favorite hang out of late, Stauf's coffee shop and thinking about resent blog posts. I tend to blog about certain topics more than others at any given time. This can be because of my mood, or because something particularly interesting is going on in the world, or because I'm a flake and can't hold my attention on one thing all the time so have many many varied interests.

This got me thinking about the amount of spiritual or Christian centered posts I've written. There haven't been many recently and I've certainly have had plenty to write about. There is a lot of chatter going on these days about climate change, and climate change action, and energy bills, and there is a lot I can say on those topics, both from an environmentalists point of view but especially as a Christian. In fact, any topic I write about is from the point of view as a Christian.

When I write about my struggles, or my joys, or just daily life, I don't ever really say where my strength is coming from, or why I have the beliefs that I do. And I guess for me, I don't have to.

Everything I do and say is because and informed by the fact that I believe and trust in Jesus.

Perhaps I don't say this enough, but it has become such a part of me that I don't feel that I need to. Yes I'm a Christian, yes I read the Bible for guidance, yes I ask God for help and strength. But with every decision I make and every emotion I express I am not going to say this. But I also acknowledge that it's people's right and joy to do so for themselves.

I'm also not saying that I don't share my faith with others, because I do (like I am doing right here in this blog post). What kind of follower of Jesus would I be if I didn't? But personally I find a time and a place for everything. I would rather show people about my beliefs than to sit down and give them a speech.

So remember when you read this, what informs me first and foremost. But also remember that I am not perfect, that sometimes when my intentions are good, my actions are not always the best. I may slip up and do something very un-Christian like. It happens, maybe everyday. But please forgive me. :)

Fibromyalgia Resources

So I just put this little thing together for my mother in law who has a co-worker struggling with Fibromyalgia. Now that I look at it I feel like I left so much out, but I think it's a good primer for starting to deal with fibro. It is by no way exhaustive, and I am in no way a doctor. This is just my little take on it, in simplest terms possible.


Because there are so many theories out there, it is hard to even begin to address the cause and treatment of fibromyalgia. I think it is important for you to find what works the best for your individual self and disregard other techniques. Below is the basics of what I have found helpful, and nothing extra. But remember everyone is different and the pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia effects everyone differently.

Sleep
There are many important aspects to taking care of yourself when diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Different people will have different opinions on what is the most important. Restorative sleep has been the most important for me. I was only getting two or so hours of consecutive sleep at a time which was not helping my body repair and renew itself from the day before. Also sleep dysfunction is seen as perhaps one of the main contributors to fibromyalgia itself.


There are many medications that your doctor can prescribe to help you sleep continuously. Also there are a number of supplements available to help you sleep. Melatonin has been particularly helpful for me, but make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any kind of supplement treatment.

Also maintaining appropriate sleep practices is important.
• Maintain a sleep schedule, going to sleep and waking at the same times every day.
• Limit your napping in the afternoon: this one is hard because fibromyalgia can be extremely exhausting. I find that if I am too tired it is hard for me to sleep at night. If you need to nap limit to no more than an hour in the late afternoon. I try to nap in the early afternoon, but that is not always practical.
• Don’t eat too soon before going to bed, either dinner or snacks. Digestion requires energy and may inhibit sleep.
• Be aware of light, noise, television, temperature etc that may distract you from falling asleep or staying asleep. I sleep better now that the television is out of the bedroom. Use light blocking shades and white noise machines if they help.
• Give yourself time to unwind before bed and create a routine. If watching the news stresses you out, refrain from watching it before bed. Read a book that relaxes you, meditate, listen to music. Whatever works for you.
• Have comfortable bedding: I can’t stress how important this was for me. I already have an incredibly comfortable mattress, but I added a wool mattress pad and I became instantly more comfortable. I also had try different configurations with pillows and different pillows to find what worked best for me.
• Remember, just because something works for someone else it may not work for you. Do not get discouraged and keep trying on getting the restful sleep you need.


Healthy Diet and Exercise
It’s common sense right? To eat healthy and be active. But with fibromyalgia it is SO HARD to do that some times. The way I see it, there is no cure for fibromyalgia and the treatments are wide and vary in the success. Why not make yourself as healthy as possible to begin with. When fibromyalgia is at it’s worse some people discover that they have sensitivities to certain foods. I personally discovered a gluten sensitivity as well as a short term dairy sensitivity. If you feel that something might be making you sick, remove it from your diet and see how it makes you feel.

The best you can do is use common sense. Eat fruit and vegetables as well as proteins. Some days I discover by eating some eggs or chicken, the protein helps my pain immensely. If you don’t feel like eating a lot because you are not feeling great, make what you do eat count. Some days the only thing I can eat is oatmeal or scrambled eggs, but at least I’m benefiting from it.

When I talk about exercise I’m not suggesting you go out and run five miles, or purchase a gym membership. I’m more referring to movement. Don’t get stagnant. If you sit at a desk all day, make sure to get up a few times during the day and walk around the office. Take a walk up the road after dinner to stretch your muscle and help digest your food. I still can do little more than walk at a brisk pace, but I do it as much as I can. Last year I couldn’t even walk the length of my block. But now I can walk several blocks, sometimes even carrying groceries. Take it slow and work up to more activity. It keeps you healthy, it helps with the pain, and it usually puts me in a good mood.

I also really enjoy yoga. Other suggestions might be Tai Chi and water aerobics. Any low impact activity that gets you moving.


Treatments
It’s hard to find a doctor that can treat all aspects of fibromyalgia and that is the most frustrating part. Traditional medicine does have some good medications available: I take Cymbalta, but there are several out there. If you want to go this route and haven’t yet, be sure to talk to your doctor about the best one for you. Also there are muscle relaxants and like I mentioned before sleep aids that can help with your symptoms. I do not have any suggestions as far as pain medication goes. I take ibuprofen, anything else makes me sick. It doesn’t always do the trick, but it is better than nothing.
Non- traditional treatments are varied. There is chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc. If one or more of these things interests you and fits into your budget I suggest you at least try them. I’ve found some great relief through chiropractic and massage therapy.

Supplements
There are all kinds of over the counter supplements available for treating fibromyalgia out there. Because fibromyalgia has such varied symptoms and it is different for everybody there isn’t any one thing that works. I can give you a list of some that I have tried and found success with. Talk with your doctor before taking anything, because supplements can interfere with prescription medications and other medical conditions.
• Multi-vitamin: if you are not already taking a multi-vitamin one might be helpful. My doctor suggested a prenatal vitamin because it contains more vitamins and minerals than an average one a day.
• Calcium: It is not only good for the bones, but aids in muscle function.
• Magnesium: this also helps with muscle function and has been great for calming my sore and tight muscles.
• B-complex vitamins: there are 12 essential components that make up the B complex. B vitamins aid in metabolic reactions, heart health, and immune system function. They also help relieve fatigue.
• Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These two are usually found together and help ease joint pain. It is used most commonly by arthritis suffers because it helps reduce cartilage damage, but many people, including me find it helpful for fibromyalgia.


Other Resources
Finally there are so many other resources out there to help you understand and treat fibromyalgia. Everyone has their own theory and their own treatment. If you read them you have to take them with a grain of salt, and realize that not everything is going to work for you. I’ve found that finding a combination of what works best for my lifestyle and body. I am not one for high maintenance treatments, or limiting myself from things that I enjoy.

If you go into a book store there may be a dozen books that address fibromyalgia. The one that I found with the best information in it is Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia by Mary J. Shomon. While I have found this the best it also has things in it that I disagree with or do not find useful.

There are also several websites that you can visit that have an endless amount of information on them:

• The National Fibromyalgia Association: www.fmaware.org
• Chronic Babe: www.chronicbabe.com
• Healthy Women: www.healthywomen.org

From there you can find other websites and personal sites of people living and working with fibromyalgia.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Struggling

I'm struggling more than usual today. I've come to the point with dealing with my Fibro that I want to be up and around mentally way more than my body can handle physically. I can take outings and activities a few hours at a time, and usually if I do something that requires physical exertion one day, the next day is spent mostly in bed or the recliner. Such is today.

Yesterday was a fantastic day, leisurely, with some good reading and writing accomplished. I've come to realize if I'm going to make a go of writing professional I need to spend a lot more time working on my skills and putting it out there for people to critique and edit. My self esteem isn't quite there yet, but honestly I can't imagine doing anything else but writing and speaking for a career (when I finally am healthy enough.)

I have full intentions on going back to school in the spring so I have a trip planned up north on Thursday to drop off my paper work. I will have to do my financial aid stuff yet. Not that I need anymore debt, but at least it's going towards something.

Ryan and I will only be able to live off love and the kindness of friends and family for so much longer. For as much as I want to work and be productive, I could really use those disability benefits I applied for right about now.

Yesterday I did both mentally and physically stimulating exercise. I walked to Stauf's and spent several hours sipping coffee and working on the sidewalk in front of the shop. It was a beautiful day.

However, today I slept for 12 hours. Which means I did not get up till noon. And now I can barely move because of soreness. Both muscles and joints are screaming, I'll admit it's not the worst pain I've had to deal with over the last two years but it's not fun. The idea of sitting anywhere besides my bed or the recliner is nauseating, if I had to be sitting in a classroom or at an office desk right now I'd probably be on the floor. Often my body feels the effects of a hangover, without actually being induced by alcohol. Emotionally and mentally I am a wreck as well. I want so much to be active and out in the world. Or at least active with the daily tasks of living. So far, this has not been the case.

So here I am stuck in a rut. Perhaps by writing it however it will bring understand to those outside of chronic illness who struggle to understand what their loved ones and co-workers are going through. I am nothing if I am not honest about my feelings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Art of Composting

So many of my friends have asked me either to teach them how to compost or to write a blog post about it. People who are not familiar with composting often think that it is complicated, smelly, and messy. I'm here to tell you, HAVE NO FEAR! Composting is easy.

I personally believe that there is no right or wrong way to compost. There are methods that may expedite or hinder the process. There are also methods that may be more conducive to your residence. But really composting is an art. With practice you can find the best methods for you. What works for one family may not work for another. So take head when reading websites dedicated to the subject. Some insist that their way is the quickest and easiest, while others make it seem like an extremely complicated science.

First, for those not in the know I should explain what compost is. In its most basic form compost is decomposed matter, which is most commonly kitchen scraps and yard waste. As I see it there are two purposes for compost. Finished compost is an excellent addition to your garden or house plants, it adds needed nutrition to help your fruits, vegetables, and flowers grow. Another purpose, which I have benefited the most from, is that it reduces on garbage disposal and odor, causing less waste in the landfill.

There are very few things you need to start compost. Websites will sell you expensive bins, machines, and "compost starter." There is nothing inherently wrong with these things, and if it fits into your budget and lifestyle then by all means purchase them. However, in today's economic climate more people are looking for the do-it-yourself method, which is what I am describing here.

You need a space for composting, this can be a patch of land in your backyard, a out of the way back porch, under your kitchen sink, or any other out of the way place in an apartment. If you have the space outdoors, no container is needed. For people who live in more residential neighborhoods, or in an apartment, simple containers can be made out of common household items. For the purpose of this blog, I am going to describe composting the way that Ryan and I have done it. You can use your imagination to improvise with what you have available to you.

Ryan and I have been familiar with composting our whole lives. Both our families had containers located on the kitchen sink to collect kitchen scraps that were later taken out to the compost pile. At my house, it as in our backyard, and often hosted growing tomatoes, pumpkins, woodland creatures, and even an occasional bear. When we moved to Ohio, we were suddenly posed with the problem of not having any place to put our egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable peels, etc. We originally started disposing some of these things in the sink and utilized our garbage disposal. When the opportunity presented itself, we began a composting bin outside of our back door. This was in the fall of 2006. I originally blogged about it here.

For our containers we bought two 30 gallon Roughneck garbage cans. Again, improvise with what is available to you. In our experience Rubbermaid containers and those similar to Rubbermaid have been the most convenient. We drilled holes into the container to allow air flow and proper decomposition. To learn more about the process of decomposition you can read this Wikipedia article. I'm not guaranteeing its accuracy, but it is helpful in understand what is needed to compost.

When kitchen and yard scraps are in a container the decomposition is performed by micro-organisms. However, other forms of composting can be facilitated such as with worms, which is known as vermi-composting.

Once you have a dedicated area for your materials, the process is pretty self sustainable. When we started our compost bins we layered kitchen scraps, newspaper, and leaves. Simply put, for effective composting you want a good mix of wet and dry items as well as green and brown items. Different people describe these items different, but if you think of them in these terms, composting will be a less daunting task.

Green would be your vegetables, plants, flowers, weeds, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and tea bags. While animal products are compostable, they are not ideal for most composting locations. If you have a large compost pile in a non-residential area you can add meat, however in residential areas and apartments it is ideal to keep these out. This to prevent critters from invading your space, prevent odors, and facilitate faster decomposing.

Brown items would be things such as newspaper, sawdust, branches and shrub trimmings, cardboard, shredded paper, leaves, etc. Proper composting does not require an equal amount of both green and brown. More green than brown is preferable.

Wet and dry items are self explanatory, but if necessary you can add water to your compost. I believe a good compost is about the consistency of a wrung out sponge.

Layer your items into your bin, alternating your different materials. Once the decomposing process has begun it is not as necessary to layer, you can add your materials as they become available keeping and eye on the balance of green to brown and wet to dry.

Now all you have to do is cover and wait. The micro organisms will do their job, and your compost should get warm in the middle. It will be necessary to turn your compost occasionally, this can be anywhere from a few weeks to months. It will allow the materials on top to mix with the active micro organisms.

When your compost looks like a dark rich soil, it is ready to go onto your plants and in your garden. Serve and enjoy!!

Ryan and I are currently vermi-composting and I will write about this at a later time for those who are interested.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Heating Buddies

Besides having an incredibly warm husband, and a cat who likes to keep close, I have a few things that I keep nearby during the chillier months. The cold really effects my joints and muscles. Also in the last two year I have been way more sensitive to temperature changes and my body does not adjust as well as it use to. This means I am often very very cold. So I made some aids to help with this, my rice sock buddies.

What I did was fairly simple, pulling the idea from many store bought items as well as advice from others who have fibromyalgia. Penny asked me to post some instructions, and she's not the first person do so now that the weather is getting chilly, so here they are.

Take a longer sock, tube socks work well. I used a pair of wool socks that didn't fit Ryan or I the way we would like so they are SO SOFT.

Fill the sock with uncooked rice. If you want something firmer put more rice in it, or if you want it to conform to your body and joints use less rice. Leave enough room to tie off the top.

Tie the top of the sock in a knot, or if you feel inclined run some stitching across to sew it shut.

To warm it place in the microwave and heat for one minute. Flip over and heat for another minute. Two minutes in total. WARNING: The rice inside can get very very hot so please monitor the time you heat as well as the areas you are placing your sock. Like any heating pad, you can get burns.

You can also keep a sock in the freezer if you have need for a cold pack.


If you are looking for more of an aromatherapy experience you can add scents to your rice before filling the sock. Place rice in a air tight container and add essential oils or spices and keep covered overnight before filling sock.

Obviously do not wash the sock with the rice inside, but you can empty it out to put through the wash if sock gets stinky.

Stay warm!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Portfolio

I've been working on putting some photos together into a somewhat of a portfolio.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Coffee and Lunch

I had a chiropractic appointment this morning and then came to Stauf's for coffee and lunch. It's raining and the leaves haven't changed yet, so it's not particularly pretty out, but for some reason I am incredibly content.

I had one of the BEST salads for lunch. It was spinach with chicken, red onions, feta, almonds, and blue berries. And the latte I ordered is tasty as always. I am not sure when I fell into this coffee habit. There is something comforting about familiar public places and Stauf's has turned out to be mine. I think sometimes I drink coffee just to be in this space for awhile. The atmosphere is amazing, the people are so pleasant, and there is always something to look at. While I was waiting, Ani DiFranco was even playin on the radio.

So what do I do now. I have no desire to get up and leave from the place, and no real plans for the day. My latte is almost done, should I get another. Should I order something else. Or should I just drink some water and sit. I brought my computer and a book, so really I could sit here all day.

Why don't you tell me about your favorite familiar public place?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom! Part 2

For her birthday I wanted to share a memory that I have of my mom, which also loosely inspired the painting that I posted earlier. There's no doubt I could share over a thousand things that I have done with my mom, or that she has done for me, and I don't think that I could list any of them by importance. Every memory I have is special, and this one is no different.

It's September 30th, so it's fall and the leaves are changing. One thing I really enjoyed doing as a child was looking for and collecting brightly colored leaves that had fallen off the trees in my back yard. I would bring these damp, sometimes crumbly, leaves into the house and from there Mom would press them for me between two pieces of wax paper. It seemed like a magical process and even as an adult I'm not sure if I could do it without making a mess of my iron, I know I would get something wrong.

She usually did this for me as part of a leave identification project for school, but I know that it was also sometimes just for fun. I could probably have had hundreds of leaves a year if I wanted. I'm not sure what happened to my leaves after I got tired of looking at them, because the next year we would do it all over again.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More + Than -

I haven't been the most active at blogging lately. But it's for a very different reason than it has been in the past. Lately I've been way more active in real life. After spending four weeks with my wonderful nephew and sister I came back to Ohio. I bummed to be leaving them, but was glad to see my friends at the Annual Block Party for the OSU-USC game. The outcome of the game wasn't desirable, but the party was amazing.

Since then I've been getting caught up on real life. I've visited the chiropractor, neurologist, and counselor in the last 3 business days. Yesterday I also visited MTSO and picked up some paperwork to return to school in the spring. It's all been pretty refreshing and energizing in the spiritual sense. Physically I'm pretty tired.

Today I slept in, took a shower, and went to the Post Office to mail a package. Since I was already in Grandview Heights I stopped by Stauf's for an iced latte. I'm not a huge coffee drinking, but enjoy Stauf's which is a local roaster. It always smells great and everyone is so friendly. There are people socializing, doing school work, reading for pleasure, or just stopping in for a cup to go. The majority of customers bring reusable mugs which I need to get one for this purpose.

Now I am sitting on the fire escape enjoying the AMAZING weather. There are only a few white wisps in the sky and the tempeture in the shade is very plesant.

So that is what is going on with me. Hopefully I will be writing more informative posts soon.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know

Invisible Illness Week is September 14-20. Check out the website at www.invisibleillnessweek.com

1. The illness I live with is: Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Asthma, Borderline Personality Disorder
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2008
3. But I had symptoms since: 1981
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: Learning to say no and cancel plans
5. Most people assume: I've been healthy my whole life
6. The hardest part about mornings are: Getting my joints moving
7. My favorite medical TV show is: If I had a favorite I guess it would be Scrubs, but I don't really watch any medical TV shows
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: my laptop
9. The hardest part about nights are: getting comfortable in bed so I can sleep
10. Each day I take between 12 and 30 pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: love massage and chiropractic
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I feel blessed to be able to live the life I do, and would not wish for anything else.
13. Regarding working and career: I will get there some day, but right now my full time job is being healthy. I imagine I will be self employed or only work part time.
14. People would be surprised to know: I am still very sensitive about being left out.
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Not being able to do everything that people ask of me.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: Travel to Texas and had a great time.
17. The commercials about my illness: irritate me beyond belief... I am not an old retired woman.. I am 27 years old.
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: camping
19. It was really hard to have to give up: my crazy lifestyle
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: crocheting
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: throw a big party
22. My illness has taught me: patience
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: You look great! (because I usually fell horrible)
24. But I love it when people: give me hugs
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: Philippians 4:13
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: be kind to yourself
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: that even some of the best health care plans are still lacking
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: There has been SO MANY nice things done for me and Ryan. I think our church families have been the best.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: Raising awareness is important.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: Loved.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Vacation

I'm in Ithaca with my sister and her family. It's hot and humid, but it's nice to be away. Hope everyone is having a good August.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Identity

Awhile back I started writing my manifesto. The culmination of all I believe and aspire for. I've kind of stalled. This has to do with the fact that I'm not even sure who I am, or what I aspire to do. Most of my beliefs are pretty steadfast, I am pretty clear on how I feel about right and wrong and the gray areas in between. But I don't know how to synthesize this into words and into an identity that is myself.

Throughout high school and college, I identified myself by the people I spent my time with. They are great people who I enjoyed being around. I often accomplished great things with these people. But that is only one way of defining oneself, and I do not believe that this method works for me anymore.

For one thing, I spend a heck of a lot more time by myself these days as I try to become healthier. Also, I have also found that the people I spend my time with are vastly different from myself and from one another. As adults we all have different interests, desires, needs, and goals. My friends are not defined by my extra curricular activities, social clubs, and academic interests as they once were. And this is tripping me up a bit.

Because of the differences I see in my friends I am having a hard time seeing who I am. I highly value the relationships that I have, and every person brings something unique and different to the table. Now it is time for me to figure out what exactly I bring with me.

I have lot so hobbies and passions. I believe that my deepest desire is to explore the place where theology and ecology intersect. I'm still not exactly sure what that means in terms of a vocation and the actual practical part of living. This is where I need to work the most. To discover my own path, separate from anyone else, but contributing to the lives of those that I come in contact with.

That is what I have tried to do with this blog over the years. To bring all of my interests together and share them with you in some kind of cohesive form. I've been on the short side of posting lately and my interests have wandered and broadened quite a bit since I began writing. With that said, I hope to contribute more in the near future. I hope also, that you, my readers will contribute to the conversation.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Culinary Adventures: Fish Tacos


A few weeks ago I received the newest issue of Women's Health in the mail. This month they had a section of easy summer recipes. One that immediately jumped out at me was fish tacos. I've never eaten a whole lot of fish besides tuna sandwiches, but have started broadening my horizons and thought that it sounded like a very tasty recipe.

It was on my mind for several weeks until I finally got to Whole Foods to purchase some fish on Tuesday. Because of my limited knowledge on such things I asked the man behind the counter. He suggested a sole or halibut. Although the sole was slightly more pricey, I went for it because it looked appetizing. All in all, for the two of us it really didn't cost very much.

My foresight was a little short, so I did not have all the ingredients the recipe called for, but that has never really stopped me from trying my best. This is how it went.

I used olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin to saute the fish. I bought a half a pound for the two of us (we could have eaten more.) I kept the heat high and stirred to break the fish up into pieces until it was opaque and looked done. (Because this was my first time cooking fish, I had no real idea what done was.)

We at the fish on corn tortillas with cabbages and sour cream. Ryan added tomatoes and hot sauce, and I will probably add the hot sauce in the future as well.

The recipe called for red onion and a squeeze of lime, which I believe will be a good addition. I also plan on adding more cumin next time as it could do with a little more kick.

The fish was tender and tasty, the cabbage gave the taco a nice crunch. My corn tortillas left a lot to be desired, I need to work on a more effective was to heat them up (the microwave does not cut it.)

All in all it was a good experiment and one that I can improve upon. Fast, easy, and tasty.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Progress

I continue to progress on getting better. I'm talking baby steps, but it's wonderful.

Yesterday I went shopping at Pier 1 and bought new curtains for our bedroom along with a real curtain rod, as opposed to the white spring loaded ones we have now. I feel pretty class and I will take a picture of them when they get hung.

I also had several appointments, went to the grocery store, made dinner, and did dishes. I was exhausted last night and today, but it was worth it. Did some more dishes today and hope to be more active tomorrow.

I took pictures of dinner and plan on blogging about it soon.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Distractions

Lately I've found it necessary to distract myself from my current situation in life. I'm not incredibly ill anymore like I have been. In fact I'm just well enough to want to a do a list of things that I'm not yet capable of doing. I still do not have the sufficient energy to attempt working, nor do I have the mental capabilities to consider going back to school.

Last week I thought I might be able to do both. I had the opportunity to work on a freelance writing job and I was very excited about it. But when it came time to complete the actual work, I couldn't accomplish anything. Partly this was personal, as I tend to be a procrastinator, but also the fatigue and headaches I've been dealing with on a daily basis really made it impossible.

I hate this. I want to be a productive human being. I'm smart, I'm moderately motivated (I'm not going to fool you if I said I was extremely motivated, you all know I'm some what of a slacker) and I enjoy being active and around people. It is extremely hard to not be able to do the things I love.

What makes it even more difficult is that to look at me I look EXTREMELY healthy. I've lost weight due to the change in my diet. My finger nails are growing wonderfully. I'm a delightful color (not as tan as I once enjoyed being, I've decided staying out of the sun is super healthy and I'd rather be pale). No one can see what my head feels like, constantly like it's going to implode, like a vice is gripping it from all angles. Or that my jaw is sore sore it's hard to chew, or swallow, or talk. No one sees the hours I spend in bed, because when I come in contact with others I'm out and about and trying to enjoy life as much as possible.

It's all so frustrating. But I have enjoyed my distractions. I enjoy watching tv and reading. I keep up to date on my favorite people, friends, tv shows. I love twitter. And occasionally I read the news. But it's mostly sad and I don't need any more negative feelings in my life. I have to keep myself in check however, I do not want to get so distracted that I lose focus on my goal of becoming healthy and active again. It's not easy and there is a balance to be made, and perhaps I'm still working on it. But I hope while I am, you enjoy my entertainment recommendations and observations on the world in general.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Coming Friday

This show begins the second half of the third season friday on Syfy (formally SciFi, they rebranded).
It's a silly, fun, heart warming show about a small town full of geniuses. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Accents

I am constantly amazed by actors and actresses. I really enjoy television and movies and the way that someone can completely be consumed by a role (or at least good actors anyways.) One of the things I enjoy most is when people take on characters that are from a different place than they are and therefore assume and accent of this place.
I am not an actress. I think at times I can be entertaining, and I sometimes can mimic movements or the pace of someone's speech. But I can not assume any kind of accent than what I originally have (and who knows what that is.)
I read a lot of websites and blogs about the entertainment industry and E! Online has a really great survey and photo gallery called Sham Yankees. It gives some of the most notable performances and asks you to vote on whether they are Apple Pie or Crumpets. I'm not sure exactly what they are asking for, as crumpets I would assume refers to England but it doesn't actually say that. And furthermore not all of the comparisons are between England and the US. It's entertaining none the less. And you may learn a few things about the actors from your favorite shows. Check it out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yeah for Dairy Queen!!

I am so glad that I am able to eat dairy in controlled amounts again. Last year at this time I started realizing that eating ice cream and cheese was causing some serious gastrointestinal disturbances. So I stopped eating dairy and a few weeks later stopped eating any kind of gluten. After about a year of not eating dairy I am able to eat small amounts again, and it has been so wonderful.

From what I understand from my readings, people with any kind of gluten intolerance can suffer other sensitivities because their system is damaged from the irritation. Diary is usually one of the first things that people become sensitive too. Because the cause and effect was noticeable when I ate dairy it wasn't a hard thing to give up, but I did miss ice cream and cheese quite a lot. I started drinking soy milk right away and I really enjoy unsweetened Silk, it has a great taste and some very essential nutrients. Since I have been completely gluten free and have no desire to ever go back to eating gluten I decided to try eating some ice cream. It's been so good, I appreciate it so much more after not being able to eat it for a year.

Today I walked to the Dairy Queen. It was such good incentive to get me out of the house and walking as I am suppose to be getting exercise. And I had been craving a hot fudge sundae so badly. So I got my fix and will be good for a couple more days. It's officially summer, and I've had my official summer sundae. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

What I'm Disliking: The Weather

The past week or so has been horrendous for me.  The warm weather has made me nothing but miserable, irritable, and exhausted.  I normally welcome summer, the sunshine, the warmth, and the chance to go swimming.  But this year it has been rough.  With the fibromyalgia it has just been too much to bare.

I grew up without air conditioning and never really cared much for a cold room when it was so nice and summer out.  But not having air conditioning in an apartment that gets full sun all day is pretty rough.  I sit in front of the fan and sometimes all I can do is sleep.

I don't really mean this to sound all whiny like it is coming out.  I just can't really think of much else to say, and I feel I should write something.  Hopefully soon, maybe in the middle of the night when it is much cooler, I will write something of substance.  I will update you on what is going on in my life.  And maybe share some good entertainment news with you while I'm at it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What I Miss: Cartoons

Recently I've been thinking about the rare availability of quality cartoons.  As a kid I rarely watched TV but some of my favorite things to watch were cartoons.  I remember watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the mornings, but mostly I remember watching cartoon specials.  My older sisters or Mom would tape the specials for me on our VCR so I could watch them again and again.  
I watched them so much that I wore some of the tapes out.  I had three favorites.  The first was "Snoopy: The Musical."  I can still sing most of the songs from this wonderful gem.  The second was a tape that had several different Garfield shows on it.  My mom especially liked Garfield. 
The third is the reason I'm writing this post.  I use to LOVE the Looney Tunes.  Most of what we had on tape were season specials that played classic Looney Tune segments.  Bugs Bunny was my favorite and I remember more than one shopping trip in the Warner Bros. Store in NYC.  Last night I watched The Bugs Bunny RoadRunner Movie.  It had some of my very favorite segments in it and it's hosted by Bugs Bunny himself.  It really made my day, made me laugh like I was seeing them for the first time, and also made me smile to remember how much I loved them as a kid.  
Below is a short trailer for the film. 

When Ryan and I first started dating, we enjoyed "Dexter's Laboratory."  It was a story about a boy genius with a secret lab in his basement.  He fought evil villains as well as dealt with his older sister DeeDee.  It's been awhile since I've seen it, so I can't really remember what we liked about it so much.
Some cartoons that are being produced today are quality, but most are obnoxious and not all that funny.  Last summer I spent six weeks at my sisters house and had a lot of time to watch cartoons with my nephew who was 5 at the time.  He watched some things that weren't really aimed at anyone but his specific age group and I didn't mind them, but I didn't really pay much attention either.  "Ben 10: was one of these, it wasn't bad I just didn't care for it much.  "The Fairly Odd Parents" on the other hand are extremely obnoxious and happen to be
on the list of things my sister does not care for my nephew to watch.  They promote bad habits and obnoxious noises, and of course kids find them funny but there is never much of a story.  
My favorite from the summer had to be "Chowder."  This was a cartoon about a "bear-cat thing" who was an apprentice to a chef.  They live in this imaginative and colorful world of food and cooking.  The things they make are all made up and there are always great stories about adventures and misadventures.  Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the show is the theme song which I enjoy sining with my nephew.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tour de Cure 2009

Team NESPAC Rocks!!!

If you click above you will be taken to the Team NESPAC page for the 2009 Tour de Cure, Westerville.  The tour is a bike ride of various milage with riders of skills who raise money for their ride.  The money raised goes to the American Diabetes Association

The ADA is committed to caring for and curing diabetes.  This is especially important to me because many friends and family are dealing with diabetes daily, including Team NESPAC captain Bruce Weaver.

Please consider donating to Team NESPAC's ride as they are a driving force in the central Ohio's fundraising and they are very close to their team goal and cool prizes.  Since I am unable to ride I feel I must make the way to raising funds easier for them.  The ride takes place on Saturday so get those donations in please. 

Music I Dig: Green Day


Green Day had a kick ass performance on Conan's second night hosting The Tonight Show.  When Conan introduced the band he said our very close friends, and they proved that friendship by presenting Conan with a guitar at the end of their performance.  Many of you may not know that Conan actually plays guitar and does so fairly well.

I've been a fan of Green Day since middle school, thanks mostly to my good childhood friend Becki who introduced me to them.  We would watch MTV in her basement and she even ordered VHS tapes of Green Day concerts that we would watch to learn even more of their songs. We also spent summers crushing over the guys in the band and dreaming of meeting them someday.  One of the most amazing things I ever saw, and I still remember how I felt, was a t-shirt on the boardwalk in Seaside Height's, NJ.  The entire front was airbrushed with Billie Joe Armstrong's face.  What a fun time.

I'm sure we knew little about music at the time, but we did know we dug Green Day and their amazing sound.  Not much has changed about them since then and they have a new album, 21st Century Breakdown.  They may be older than they were back in the mid 90s when I liked them so much, but so am I.  They have grown up, their sound has grown up, and I believe their lyrics can speak to anyone in America.

I may not be a music genius, but I enjoy a good sound, a good performance, and I love to be entertained.  Green Day has always done just that.  They don't appear to be coming to Columbus anytime soon, but when they do, I hope to be there.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What I'm Watching- The Tonight Show

It's a new era for The Tonight Show.  Conan O'Brien debuted as host last night and it was the first night that I watched a late night talk show in a very long time.  Ryan and I have been waiting for this day.  
Back when we were in undergrad we heard the announcement that Conan would be taking over when Jay left.  At the time we were faithful fans of Conan and watched what ever show had the better guests before hand.  We thought, by the time Conan gets to an earlier slot we will be too old to stay up that late.  And we were almost right.  We made a special effort last night however because we had been waiting so long.
Critics have mixed reviews about last nights show, but for me it was right on par with what I was expecting.  In the opening scene Conan was seen with a check list of things to do to move to the Tonight Show when he realized he had not moved to LA.  The next several minutes are scenes of him running and even swimming in his suit across the country.  The thought of it itself is funny, but the actual scenes were him in different parts of the country, like the St. Louis Arch.  The entire sequence can be seen below:


With Andy Richter returning as the new Tonight Show announcer, Max Weinberg behind the drum set as always, and new beautiful set it seemed that the show couldn't get any better.  Then his guest was Will Ferrell who had a perfectly appropriate entrance.  Conan of course isn't overly optimistic about his place in late night as he said in his opening monologue "I have to admit I think I timed this moment perfectly -- I'm on a last place network, I've moved to a state that is bankrupt and tonight's show is sponsored by General Motors." 

Conan might have a different kind of humor than Jay, but I believe he will speak to younger generations like Ryan and I better than Jay did.  His guest tonight is Tom Hanks and his musical guests is a favorite of mine, Green Day.  I can't wait.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

What I'm Watching- Eureka


Because Ryan and I have made the decision to not spend money on cable, I have been taking advantage of free online streaming on such sites as hulu, as well as spending a few dollars a month to rent dvds and have access to streaming through Netflix.

One show that I have been fond of over the last several months is Eureka.  Developed and produced by the SciFi network,   beginning in 2006 it is a show about a town full of super geniuses somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.   The stories are seen from the point of view of the sheriff Jack Carter who was a US Marshall until a wrong turn landed him and his daughter Zoey in Eureka. 

The characters are well played and I personally want every one of them to be my favorite character, I can never make a decision.  Colin Ferguson plays Sheriff Carter, like the rest of the cast he is not known for many larger roles but has been in the business for over a decade.  As the sheriff he is always getting the town out of the big messes they find themselves in with his common sense and wit.  As a person who values common sense I find this part of his character very endearing.  

Carter's best friend and rocket scientist Henry is played by Joe Morton.  Henry is always tinkering and is the one to explain the complicated science behind the towns problems to Carter.  The relationship between these two is enough reason alone to watch Eureka, not to mention the hilarity of the situations as well as the more serious and thought provoking moments. 

The series is filmed in British Columbia which gives a beautiful backdrop for the chaos that ensues.  The second half of the third season returns to SciFi on July 10th at 9pm. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lawn Biodiversity

Many people here in Ohio take pride in how their lawns appear.  Sadly they do not give much thought to the actual plant, insect, and other life that may rely on this area for survival.

Biodiversity (the diversity of life in a given area) is important for sustaining our environment, but can also be misunderstood on several levels.  For one, if you have a yard with many different plants this does not mean it may be better than a yard with only one type of plant.  One needs to take into account native and invasive species.  Insects and other life rely on resources such as plants that are native to their habitat.  If a person plants species that do not naturally grow in an area they may be removing a life source for natives.

One example of the importance of biodiversity is the availability of pollen for honey bees.  Without the right resources, honey bees are not able to survive and consequently can no pollinate things like crops that we rely on for food.

If you are doing lawn work and are not sure what is native, what is invasive, and what would be the most useful plant life to make available in your yard, please take the time to do a little research.  Your states department of conservation, or department of natural resources should have information listed on their websites.  Also our local agriculture extension office would be more than happy to give you information.

For my Ohio readers, here is some information about Invasive Plants of Ohio.

Privacy Policy

Because I am using Google AdSense on my blog now to hopefully generate some revenue, I am obligated to post a privacy policy about internet-based advertising.  Please know that I personally never share any information about my readers, and this in strictly for your information:

We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Exploration

During this time of struggle that I've been having physically, emotionally, and mentally I am constantly exploring the possibilities of the future.  What am I going to be capable of accomplishing and will I ever have a career.  I've explored writing and yoga, I've entertained the notions of finishing school and continuing on with an education in a completely different field like nursing, and I've continued my passions for the church and environmental education.

One new thing that I've really become interested in, which almost seems a little shallow, but plenty of people make this the focus of their lives is entertainment. I've been enjoying TV, movies, and other forms on media mostly online.  As someone who never watched a lot of television as a young person, or even as an adult, until I was unable to get out like I wanted to.  I've really taken interest in the imagination behind the writing and creation of good entertainment, as well as the talent for the people who bring these things to us.

Below is a clip of one of my new favorite shows that I enjoy on hulu.  It is amazing technology, with a great imagination, and some fantastic philosophical and psychological aspects. 


Some people might scoff at the idea of being so into television and the media, and perhaps I've been one of those people in the past.  But it really is a creative outlet for me right now, a release, and a way to forget about how much I'm hurting, and just enjoy myself.  I hope you can take some time to enjoy yourself too.

I hope to write some reviews about my favorite shows in the near future.  As well as make some commentary on the different kind of personalities you may find in entertainment writing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Still Alive

Just a short note.  I'm alive with no real desire to write much at the moment.... Taking a short hiatus I guess, but I'll be back.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Unexpected

I've been contemplating the events of the last few days. I heard a lot of ideas, thoughts, personal stories, and inspiring directions while I was attending a School for Conversion at Communality in Lexington, KY.

My head is full and I have not reached a point where I can coherently write my reflections and experiences down yet.  However I keep coming back to one unexpected thing, and this is a big one for me.  As I've previously stated I am big on community, on being around others, and loving those who I share my life with.  While I was in Lexington this past weekend, I felt like the people I was around were people that I had known all my life.  I felt instantly comfortable and enveloped in love the moment I stepped in the door.  

Some of these people I never really expect to see again, but for the time that we shared space on a sunny and extremely warm spring weekend I felt that they were somehow part of my distant family.

This is fairly unexpected for me.  With the general anxiety that I deal with on a daily basis I consistently feel uneasy in the presence of new people.  Even my strong desire to be with others is often overcome by fear, anxiety, and insecurities.  This often leads to missed opportunities.

I went to Lexington to see and to listen to community, with no expectations.  Any fruit that the weekend bears will be unexpected.  However, for now I am practicing delayed gratification, and not beating myself up over perceived missed moments, because the moments that I caught are worth more.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Being Proactive

Today I had my yearly gynecological exam. I write so much about fibromyalgia and trying to make myself better, but I thought I should say something about being proactive about our health. I am speaking both to the men and the women who read my blog. There are a lot of steps out there that everyone can do to make sure they are keeping themselves as healthy as possible.

Obviously a healthy diet and exercise are usually one of the easiest steps. These things get complicated by busy lifestyles that leave us grabbing the most convenient foods, and not having enough time to go to the gym or a jog. But by keeping pre-made healthy meals and snacks in the fridge and freezer solves part of the problem (I am not good at doing this, but I at least try to keep healthy things around.) Also if you don't have time for a long work out during the day take short walks throughout the day, or park your car farther away when running errands. You've heard this all before right?

When we don't get the nutrients we need through our diet it is also important to take a multi-vitamin to supplement what foods we do eat. And women, you should be taking extra calcium as well to support bone health. Ask your doctor for recommended dosages.

Speaking of doctors remember to get regular check ups, people who rarely get sick may not see their doctor enough to notice high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol. These are all easy tests and do not require much extra time. Of course there are also the exams themselves, which while from time can be uncomfortable, are a necessary part to keeping ourselves healthy. The good news, these things usually only need to be done once a year or every other year depending on doctor recommendations. And if your doctor is like mine, they will try to get it over as quickly as possible.

There are also tests like mammograms and colonoscopies that are recommended for people of a certain age. If your doctor recommends something, it's probably a good idea to do it. Early detection is key to the best treatment when dealing with any kind of disease or illness.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Next Two Weeks.

I haven't had a heck of a lot of energy for blogging lately, and nothing going on to speak of. A few things are on my list for the next few weeks. I am going to School(s) for Conversion at a community in Kentucky next weekend. I will need to be working on my pre-weekend reading and reflection. I'm hoping for some renewed energies around faith and community to come out of the weekend.

I also have 2 doctors appointments and I really need to schedule a massage.

I am anxious to get blood tests back and hope for some more answers. While there have been some high points in the last several weeks, there have also been some serious low points. I've had days where I've struggle just to keep my eyes open and others where the weather has made my body so sensitive and painful. Spring in Ohio is not a happy one at the moment. Hopefully things will come around soon.

I've also realized the need to rediscover my passion for creation and the environment. I haven't been participating in the conversation about our environment much lately, and I'd like for that to change.

I've been utilizing Twitter to mini update my blog, follow friends, and also learn about faith and environmental organizations. I believe it is going to be a good tool. This might be the only full post for the next two weeks, but I will attempt to Twitter often.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Twittering

I set up a twitter account so you can see twitter updates from me on my blog to the left. I haven't felt a whole lot like writing recently, so this way you will at least know what is on my mind. I'm working on some deeper faith related stuff that I will post soon, it just needs to marinate a little longer before I can post. Keep an eye out.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Latest Popeye

Popeye has been being his regular cat self. He's been spending a lot of time in the window watching birds, and the wind moving the branches on the trees. He's also recently been banished from the bedroom at night, doctor's orders so I can get a better night sleep.  
However, we get to spend a lot of quality time together and recently Ryan caught some of those moments on the camera.  
From 2009
From 2009


From 2009
From 2009



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Updated

So I figured I should update my blog, it's been awhile since I've posted anything with substance.  The last several weeks have been filled with extreme fatigue and a few good days.  Last Monday I was able to ride my bike to have tea with a friend, that was good exercise.  But then Ryan and I both came down with an illness that kept us in the house till Thursday.

Thursday was the day I saw a new doctor in the Cleveland area at the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Center.  It's an integrative approach to treating fibro and chronic fatigue.  I won't say much about it now as I just had one appointment and do not know how things are going to work out.  I'm hopeful but do not want to get excited before I actually start seeing results.  While my pain was fairly controlled on the mediations I was taking, the fatigue was unbearable and I was not able to do much of anything.  I am on a protocol of supplements and vitamins, as well as continuing my regular medications.  I'm sleeping better right from the start.  So that's a positive.  But that's all I really want to say about my treatment until I know more.

I haven't been on the yoga mat in a long time.  I've just been too exhausted to even think about it.  I still try to stretch on a regular basis so I do not get too stiff.  My right shoulder has been the biggest bother.  It's is knotted and gets cramped and just plain hurts.  My right hip is also one of my bigger issues, but that seems to behaving itself for the most part.  I'm going to try to get back to practicing this week for sure, and maybe even get to the studio.

I've been able to attend church more recently and that has been wonderful.  I've gotten to know some great people the last couple of months.  Several people started attending Terra Nova while I was sick and not attending regularly, so I have some catching up to do.  They are all wonderful and caring people and I love my church family very much.  

I think that is probably all for now, I haven't done much crocheting or photography to speak of.  So nothing to show there.  But I do have some recent photos of Popeye being his silly and cute self that I will post next time.  If you read all this, thanks for visiting my blog, I really appreciate those of you out there who care about me.




Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm behind.

I haven't posted in awhile, but that's because I've either been exhausted or busy.  The last few days were good, but now Ryan and I are both sick... so I'll be back when that has blown over with some updates and some pictures.

Monday, March 16, 2009

a joy for today

Today is a shitty day... yes I said it... shitty.  But for the last few weeks I've been able to hear an owl or two out of my windows.  This makes me happy.  Reminds me of God.  Reminds me that yes, I am still alive.  If all I can do is listen to the owl, I'm still alive.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Slumdog Millionare

I have posted in awhile, not because I've been particularly ill, mostly because I've been trying to get out more and do some things.  One of those things was to go see Slumdog Millionaire on Saturday.  I don't want to write a review or anything, it won awards and you can read any amount of reviews online.

I did want to write about my thoughts since seeing the movie.  It's been over a year since I visited India, and obviously the movie brought back a lot of memories and emotions.  As soon as the film began and I saw the children of India, I began to cry.  When I encountered children in India, they were some of the most life affirming moments for me.
They were excited to meet Americans and practice their English on us.  They were also incredibly eager to have their pictures taken and were always flirting.  Several children actually told me I was beautiful, no doubt they were looking for a couple rupees in return, but I will never forget the experience.

So these children in the film, playing cricket in the opening scene made me weep.  It made me recall the lives of the children we met in India, in all the different villages and cities that we visited.  And throughout the movie, I had one thought.  

Now that we've caught a glimpse of India, what children's lives can sometimes be like, what do we do with it?  What do we do with Slumdog Millionaire?  We can give it awards, and sing it's praises, but does that contribute anything to the people it's about, ultimately the children in India.  At the end of the movie Jamal, the newly minted millionaire, is only 18.  This is still a child by American standards. 

India has gotten a lot of attention since this film, and the Indian government has taken some steps to better the lives of the child stars of the movie.  But does this ultimately help.

We can take a mission trip to India, play with the children, build them a better home, but does this prevent it from being torn down.  Can we prevent violence in the street, can we prevent sickness that overcomes those in poverty?  

What do we do with this film??  It's more than just a movie, but what is it?

It's been nagging at me since I returned from India, what can I do, if anything to return the favor of what the people of India gave me when I visited?  I'm not sure there is an answer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yoga


So, I can't believe I haven't written about this yet, but I guess that's just the way things are.  

I've been practicing yoga for several months now.  It is one of the best experiences of my life, the fitness aspect as well as the life, body, mind centering that it brings.  I practice at a studio just a few blocks from where I live called Grow Yoga.  I just finished the first 8 week beginner Hatha series.  Of course I did not participate in all 8 weeks, because of my condition I missed out on 3 of them, but hope to continue going on Tuesday mornings.

I've become stronger after the sedentary life I had been living because of my condition.  I am also more flexible than I have ever been.  Which just blows my mind.  The benefits yoga has brought to my life are innumerable.

I will say this about the practice of yoga:

  • No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs are, for at least a few moments during your practice you can become centered on that one thing that holds your life together.  
  • You become more aware of yourself, both in how your body moves and how your mind works. 
  •  You can come to each practice moving only in the way your body will allow you.  This is most important for me, because of all the chronic pain and fatigue I experience.  
  • From day to day you may not know what your abilities are going to be, but you can always participate in the practice of yoga as your body allows you to move in only comfortable non-harmful ways.

Because I am a new yogi on this journey I am not going to recommend any specific practice or style that may be better than another.  I am not going to tell you to go out and spend money on any one particular book or DVD.  But I do want to encourage you, if you feel that your body could use some movement and you can't find the one thing that works for you, seek out a yoga class.  Hatha yoga is perfect for beginners.  Be careful of classes that claim to be power yoga or hot yoga, while these are valid practices, if you have any kind of chronic condition that causes pain, weakness or fatigue, they would not be helpful classes for you. 

Don't be afraid to ask questions before you take a class, meet the instructor, make sure they know your specific needs.  If a particular instructor is not willing to listen about your limitations, then move on and find someone new.  This is not advice just for those of us in chronic pain, but everyone.  You need to find what works for you and not just what happens to be the biggest or most popular class.  

You will not master all poses immediately, but you may find that some things come more easy than others.  Work on those, but also challenge yourself into poses that give you problems.  I have benefited from working my body in as many directions as possible.  I have better posture, and I feel healthier from it.  

Because of the benefits I have received from yoga as a person in chronic pain, I've launched on a quest to learn all I can about the practice of yoga, and I would like to train to become a teacher specializing in helping those in chronic pain.  This isn't going to take place immediately as the amount of knowledge to be acquired by a yoga instructor is vast, and I do not want to rush my study because I want to enjoy the journey, and hopefully bring my experiences to help others like me.

As for what other paths I will be taking in the future, they are still unknown, but I trust they will be revealed in time.  In yoga we end with the word Namaste, meaning "the light in me honors the light in you."  This warrants it's own post in itself relating to my experiences in India.  But for now I will just finish this post with Namaste.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Productivity

Productivity is something that I have constantly struggled with throughout this illness...  I want to be out there, doing SOMETHING.  Fryer Drew gave me a book in December called Being Well When We're Ill : Wholeness and Hope in Spite of Infirmity by Marva J. Dawn.  I've been enjoying the book and have gotten a lot out of it.

This morning I finished the chapter about Unproductivity -- The Mysterious Workings of God.  It spoke to what I've been feeling all along about wanting to be able to do all the things I was doing before.  There were a few parts that I found particularly helpful in processing my feelings about this. 

It seems therefore that the tendency aroused in us by our society to demand productivity from ourselves is coupled with our own deep desire to do what we have loved in the past.  Thus, we feel both guilt and an absence of pleaser and think (mistakenly) that we should somehow make ourselves capable of accomplishing things again. (pg. 133)
Yes!  This is exactly how I am feeling. 

She goes on further to discuss about knowing that we are accepted and loved by God.  She recalls the story of Martha and Mary and encourages us to replace Martha's name with our own in Luke 10: 41-42.  Which would read "Chrissy, Chrissy you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need for only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

Reading this chapter was exactly what I needed today as I have been flaring over the last three or four days and have accomplished nothing.  Thanks Fryer Drew.

Being Well When We're Ill was published by Augsburg Books and can be found online.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Neti Pot

Here is a video I made about the Neti Pot.  The process shown in the video is done once through each nostril.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Disability

I'm in the process of appealing my denial of Social Security Disability.  I struggle every day with the fact that I even have to utter the word.  I feel some how inferior to everyone else.  I ask the questions: What if I really can do more than I am doing?  What if I'm just lazy?
I also fear judgment from other people, people who might see me as lazy or a slacker.

There are days when I consider calling my lawyer and canceling the whole thing.  And then there are days like today that remind me why I started the process in the first place.  This week was a pretty good week, I've been content with my level of activity, I've had some enjoyment in my life, but I've also struggled a little.  A good level of activity means I left the house three times this week, yeah not all that much to write home about, but I felt good.  My main struggle is fatigue, and I'm constantly trying new things to combat this.  Yesterday, I was absolutely exhausted.  I just couldn't shake it.  I got a fever in the early evening and just felt like I was starting to get sick.  I should have known what was coming then.  About 12:30 my entire body started to ache.  And then it started to send searing pain down my legs and arms when I moved.  My back has been sore for weeks and it's about 10 times as bad now.

This morning, when I woke up, I could barely stand.  It's hard for me to walk to the bathroom.  My apartment measures about 600 square feet in its entirety, so the bathroom is not that far away.  I fluffed my pillows, had Ryan scramble me some eggs for extra protein and settled in for a pain filled day.  Then, I was glad that I had filled out the medical releases for the lawyer last night.  Because right now, working, school, general responsibility in life is not an option.

There are days I hate myself for this.  I know I didn't do anything wrong.  But it just SUCKS, that's all I can really say.  I'm an active woman inside, and I just wish my outside could represent that.  Now I'm crying... well, I think I just needed to get that out.  To let you know of my struggles, both physically and mentally when it comes to living life.  

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Rain

It's raining like Niagara Falls here and my body can tell.  My joints are sore, and my fingers are not working like they are suppose to.  Hopefully today will be a good resting day, but I really don't want to spend the whole time in bed.  
We will see what it holds, hopefully some good, moving, soulful, healing, reading.  I like reading, going to places from my recliner.  I never did it much as I was younger.  I need to catch up on the classics, as well as some theology I might be missing while out of school.

Yoga is making me stronger which hopefully means less pain in the long run.  I hope to write more soon about all that.  But not this morning.