My favorite folks ! :)

31 August 2009


Subtitle: My husband is so patient!

This is the story of our lighting. (The pics aren't the best.) (And the cabinets are much darker than these pics show.

Our kitchen is very dark. When we first moved to Sugarbear, this was our only kitchen light (pic is funny because it is cut from a panorama). It provided about 60 watts, & only over the sink.

We had the good fortune to do some minor remodeling last fall. We put in new sink & faucet, a dishwasher, new stove, & a microwave. Also this light. And, because it was halogen light, it was an improvement over the previous fixture. But it still didn't give much light to the room. There is a light over the stove as well, but not very bright.

So we've been planning to add a light to the middle of the room. We have put in an "island," meaning a counter-top height chest. We do plan to expand this cabinet with a new top. So Duane put in the light fixture this past weekend. Kimmy was here today & impressed with the professional look of the installation.

It makes such a difference to the room! I know that these pics really don't
show it, but the light is so wonderful. Working in the kitchen after dark won't be such a problem any more.

But, while Duane was getting ready to hook up the light (he had to hook into the one over the sink), i decided i'd really like a different fixture
over the sink. I like that fixture quite a lot, but i wanted a black one, & the way it was attached made it rather wobbly. So, just before Duane was to hook it in i stopped him & we went to the lighting store here in town (the only one, or we could have gone to Kmart, or one of the hardware stores). Nothing really clicked for us, but i did choose one. It looks kind of funky up.

However, the one that was in the kitchen got moved to our upstairs bath. This is what was up before.

This is what we have now. I LOVE it!!! We haven't done much - um, w
e haven't done anything - to that bathroom because we plan to remodel. But it is a very dark room & i love so much the way the light works in that room.

And my poor, patient husband forgave me (kind of) for stopping him in the middle of a project to go buy another light. But he does like the light in the upstairs bathroom.


30 August 2009

At my own risk

At the risk of being accused of being unpatriotic . . . i'm tired of hype over 9/11.

I just received a "pass this on to 11 of your closest friends" type email about 9/11.

Please believe me, i know it was a tragedy & a great shock to our Country.

However, we are enmeshed in conflicts in Afghanistan & Iraq (which i do not support) & our Country men & women are being killed & maimed there daily.

I think our obsession with 9/11 is similar to celebrity worship. Nine/eleven, like those famous in Hollywood get a lot of press & attention. The real heroes, men & women who work hard & dutifully to put food on the table & take care of their families, like the heroes who are putting their lives on the line for the choices our leaders have made, are being overlooked. Yes, once in a while i get an email honoring the folks who are "fighting for our freedom" but it seems to me that something is badly off with our priorities.

Just saying.


What to do?

Duane has a very good friend, "A," whom he has known for a number of years. The truth is, i'm not very comfortable with A, & while i'm very happy for him to be Duane's friend, i prefer not to be a threesome to dinner or errands very often.

Duane & A do some activities together, & usually A drives & Duane helps with gas money. Last week (when i was home, not in OC) they went to an activity together & Duane drove. Later that evening Duane & i went to town together & when we got in the car i kept smelling something funny. After about a
minute i said, "You drove when you went with A to the pre-event set up, didn't you?" Duane rather grimaced.

You see, i don't think A showers in water. I'm sure he showers in cologne.

I've not been to town in a couple of days now, but we went in this afternoon to get a light fixture for the kitchen. And, still, the car smells very heavily of that cologne. In fact, i can't rest my head back against the head rest because the smell is so strong. Both times after i've ridden in the car i've had to change my shirt when we've gotten home.

Neither Duane nor i use scent of any kind. Unscented almost everything that is product. We don't do candles or air fresheners (except sometimes i'll run a lemon thru the garbage disposal). Incense give both of us asthma. Air fresheners come close. When i used to still use chemical products & would go to Bath & Bodyworks Duane waited for me outside because it would make him ill to be in there.

These days, after so long of not using products with a lot of chemicals & scent, i have a hard time walking down the laundry isle at the grocery. (I am only on that isle to get 20 mule team borax.)
I doubt i could go into Bath & Bodyworks these days. I do use a Thieve's Oil blend made for cleaning, but in general i don't even use essential oils very much.

Yada, yada. I don't really know what to do. Because of spiders & dust & leaves & other issues, leaving the car open to air isn't really an option. I guess we'll be driving with the windows open for a while. I was thinking i'd attach a box of baking soda to the headrest. ???

I'll take pics of the light fixtures & post them soon.


28 August 2009

The List

These are the things i used to try to treat the rash:

Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera juice
Baby powder with cornstarch (not talc, to which i'm allergic)
Baking soda
Bentonite clay
French clay
Hydrocortisone cream (helped with the itching)
Hydrocortisone ointment (did not work at all)
Mankua honey (from New Zealand +15 Active)
Organic diaper rash cream with zinc
Silver ointment
Silver solution
Stinging nettle tea & tea bags
Tea tree oil
Vitamin D oil
Witch hazel
Young Living essential oil (i don't remember the name of the blend, maybe Endoflex)
Young Living essential oil Purification

I also was taking some detox stuff orally from the acupuncture doc.

Now that i know the type of rash, i could have tried a couple of others such as oil of oregano, or olive leaf oil, coconut oil, Pau d'arco bark, garlic, yogurt, or lemon grass.

But, at the end of today it no longer hurts to wash with water. It looked like the redness was fading, but i wasn't entirely sure because both the cream & powder are white. But after washing tonight it does seem that the redness is fading. And i haven't had pain or itching today.

I need to start taking a probiotic again. And, probably in October, i'll begin a candida diet. It always seems that i need one in August, but i just don't think that is fair for that is when fresh peaches are in season & peaches are my favorite fruit. The candida cleanse/diet limits - eliminates - fruit for the first few weeks.

Anyway, i'm thankful that after weeks of trying to handle this, it is finally (after MD intervention) going away.

(This darn new blogger editing program is putting in spaces & extra lines where i did not put them!)


I am SO blessed!

I was so blessed to have Kimmy here again today.

She helped me fold sheets & straighten up the "cat free" room (that we don't use much & keep cat-free because my sister has a moderate allergy).  She washed down the trim & garage door that we plan to paint & got some of the cobwebs as well.  She got cobwebs in the house, & swept out & straightened the garage, & cleaned the mud room (laundry room, cat litter box room), & vacuumed & did dishes.  How could i possibly NOT be blessed!  

And she is such a sweetheart & encouragement to me.  And she likes the things i make!  I finally got around to making the fat burner soup, she liked that.  And i made a chocolate shake with raw milk & organic coco & acai powder & maca powder ice & almond (& agave nectar - i don't consider that last healthy, but i'm using up what i have bought); she loved it!  I wasn't sure she would.  Duane got his usual smoothie with OJ, a banana, frozen strawberriew & blueberries.  And Kimmy cleaned this all up for me!  Isn't she wonderful!

My biggest problem is that she is going to Australia in October & will be gone a year.  I don't know what i'll do without her!  I wish i'd taken a pic of her sweet face to post.  :)  She is absolutely beautiful.  

And, the plan is to get a massage from friend David tonight, too.  So many blessings!

The rash doesn't look any better, but i'm alternating hydrocortisone cream & benedryl cream with the nystatin, & at least i'm not itching.  I don't consider either of those creams good for me (they are filled with chemicals like parabens & propolene glycol) but as a short term stop-gap to getting healed, this is a good place to be.  Oh, i have tried some homeopathic things.  I've a long list of natural things that i've tried that were less successful than i hoped they would be.  Maybe i'll post that another time.

It has been quite warm today.  It got up to 84F, even the breeze feels warm.  Downstairs is still comfortable, however, last night dropped to 41F, so the heat doesn't last too long.  Duane's office feels uncomfortably warm to me, but he likes it that way.

Curly Muse - don't ever apologize for your comments!  I so appreciate you.  I am looking for a doc who has knowledge of immune problems.  The acupuncture doc recommended someone i'm going to check out.  Will post on how that pans out.  

I put blogger's new thingy on here; i'm finding it a challenge to do the pics.  I haven't many to share.  The one shows a little of the mountains behind Sugarbear.  (If you read David's blog, he is closer to that mountain than are we.)  These bushes are junipers.  They are currently covered with berries.  A neighbor child thought they were berry bushes.  Since he has said that i've been quite taken with the idea of replacing these with bushes that produce fruit - blueberries, raspberries, something.  BUT, if you had any idea how extensive these bushes are, how rocky the ground is, & what a job it would be to dig these up - it may not happen.  

So, i'm ending thankful for my all friends - bloggers, internet email pals, & those up close that i can touch; also all our many blessings.  I'm thankful i don't have to worry about petrol being stolen from my car (our current one does not lock, but the last 2 i had did) nor that folks will steal my decorations.  I'm thankful that the house will be in shape i won't be ashamed of showing my family thanks to the hard work or Kimmy & the help of Duane.  I'm thankful that i'm not as uncomfortable with the rash as i was previously.  And i'm just thankful in general.  God is good.  :)


27 August 2009

I do utilize conventional medicine, sometimes

Ok, this rash has been around for weeks, but it has gotten much worse the last couple of days & seems to be spreading. It has not responded to anything that i've tried (& it is a long list) & so i went into town today to be seen at the "Urgent Care."

Both the PA & doc saw me, & they concurred that it is candida.

HUH? I've had both oral & vaginal candida, but never skin. And i HATE doing a candida diet in the summer.

The doc didn't seem to think the candida diet would work. (But then at least 80% of docs discount food/food allergies as an issue.) And i did choose to buy the Nystatin powder to be applied topically. I chose not to take an oral agent as i respond so poorly to medications. (Now that i think of it, i think the oral agent is fluoride-based, & i do VERY poorly with that.) But i figured a topical, short term item shouldn't be a problem.

I may have figured wrong.

This rash has been rather painful, but it hasn't been terribly itchy. Until i started the Nystatin. Now it is driving me NUTS it itches so bad AND hurts, too.

I don't know what to do about this. Except i do have some things like olive leaf oil & oregano oil & coconut oil that are suppose to be anti-fungal. I may end up giving them a try.

Or i may try to wait it out. The rash is so painful now that water is almost unbearable. So, i'm in a quandary here.


Not much of anything

If you've been reading long, you may know that i'm not all that comfortable with the pastor of our church. He's a good guy & all, but more than anything, he has solidified my position that anything a pastor preaches is opinion. Like this past weekend. There was not a lot in his sermon that i found uplifting. (But then, he doesn't believe in "uplifting" but in reminding us how much we need God, & if that means underlining our "manifest sin" then so be it.)

I am not "New Age." I don't believe all paths lead to God. I wish it were so, but then i didn't create the world, etc., so i don't make the rules. Even so, i believe some churches focus too much on sin & the smallness of man. To me this takes focus off the greatness of God & puts it on how insignificant & inept we are. Which is true, but i don't believe self focus to be the point of our existence. In fact, i go farther & believe that we shouldn't even argue with folks who say, "I'm a good person." Why focus on trying to convince them that they are wicked & depraved? They have the genuine belief that they are good. Work with it. Because what it comes down to is we can be the "goodest" there ever was, & still not reach God. And that is the focus. Not so much how small & unimportant & trifling i am, but how God desires to have relationship with me & with all the world, & in order to achieve that he sent Jesus.

I had this discussion with our pastor a few months ago. He said he found it "offensive." Not me or that he was rude. He said my point "offended" him because he couldn't find an argument with it, it offended his belief system.

Well, evidently he forgot that discussion because he started this last sermon with "If you hear someone say 'I'm a good person,' then you know they are headed for hell." Which, in truth, i don't have an argument over this point, because most folks who say, "I'm a good person," mean they are good enough to get to God their own way. If you choose to call yourself a Christian that, by definition, is stating that you need Jesus to bridge to God. And again, i find the "I'm good/you're vile & wicked" a pointless argument. And, the sermon became how small & inept & wicked we are. (BTW, i don't need a reminder of that! I am fully aware.)

But, but, but . . . he ended that sermon with this:
Adam & Eve in the garden essentially said to God, "I don't believe you have my best interests at heart." And that was sin. So, am i really trusting God? Do i believe he has my best interests at heart?

And that, folks is why i stay at this church. There are times when i am pierced to the heart with things i need to hear or be reminded of. Because, in light of my struggles with illness & disability, & in light of our struggle to have a family, i think i stopped believing God has my best interests at heart. I needed a reminder.

Different kind of TMI: I was late this month. By about a week. I didn't freak over it or anything. I've kind of reached the point where i am guessing i'm starting menopause & being late will become the norm. That doesn't mean i didn't hope, of course, but there was no expectation in that hope, just . . . hope.

It has been nearly 4 years since i lost Kaylee. And in that 4 years there have been two other times i'm sure i was pregnant, tho we never had a positive test. And, in light of how heavily i am flowing currently, which is unusual for me, & that i was having some symptoms i ignored, this may have been another such month, tho i'm not as sure of it as i was those other two times.

We had our only "for sure" pregnancy when we had been married 11 months. Given that we had been "trying" for only six months that isn't a bad record. Especially as i had a history of issues so that we didn't know if pregnancy was even possible. So even tho it was hard & it hurt, i guess in the back of my mind there was the belief that eventually it would happen for us again.

And, in the subsequent two "i'm sure i am" times, there was still the hope, real hope, that if we held on & had faith, it would happen for us again.

But this time? It is kind of along the lines of "What does it matter if this was another early MC? They aren't holding, it is not going to result in a baby." In other words, while i use the word "hope" i don't believe that is what i am feeling. It is more like a wistful dream or fancy. Certainly no hope that leads to expectation. There comes a time where positive thoughts & "calling on the Universe" (a la "The Secret") doesn't work.

And so my prayer is that i find myself aligned with what is coming to my life, being allowed by God. That i truly seek him & not a desperate baby quest. That i truly believe that God has my best interests at heart, even if it doesn't feel so to me.

If you HAVE to wish me the hopes of a baby & that God will fulfill my desire, i think i have reached the point where i can take it. But let me challenge you with this thought: God's best interests don't always look like what we want. Many times they don't result in what we would consider a "happy ending." And, if you feel you have to give this response (hope for a happy ending) to everyone, you might want to check your belief system. More to the point, to someone trying to cope with infertility/miscarriage/child loss, such wishes can be very hurtful.

God could still make a miracle happen in our desire for a family, but it is much more likely that he is calling me to trust him, to trust that he has our best interests at heart, even if that does not mean fulfilling our hearts' desires.

After that sermon Sunday, i had another run in with "C" the lady who has determined i don't have enough faith because i'm fighting chronic illness. This one was brief as i refused to engage her.

I was in conversation with "S" who was at church after an absence of several months. S has been dealing with a very painful condition. At first the docs thought it was shingles, but then they determined that it is a diabetic neuropathy. S has been in a great deal of pain & on serious painkillers for quite some time now. The docs told her it would be six months to a year before she saw much improvement, & essentially, she has just had to suffer thru. (And my current very painful rash has made me appreciate what S has had to suffer much more than i have wanted to know!) So i was so happy to see S in church. She isn't well, but she has improved to the point she can get out & about a bit more.

And C came up & joined our conversation & told S how glad she is that her condition has improved. Then, of course, she turned to me with expectation of hearing of great improvement. And i made a mistake. The proper answer to C is, "I'm doing fine, thank you." But instead i just told her i'm dealing with chronic issues that may take years to improve. I'm tired of being asked all the time, with expecatation, if i'm better. This is a long, slow climb up a steep hill. If i move by inches i will be fortunate. "This may take years," is my equivient to "back off & leave me alone!" But she didn't hear that.

Her response was, "I don't accept that!"

And she began arguing with me. In truth i wanted to argue back. Because she was hurting me. I wanted to fight back. But it was also a day of no energy at all. A day where i was leaning against Duane during the service because i didn't know how much longer i could stay upright. And i knew that if i took the energy to argue with her i would not be able to function for the rest of the day. She was being an energy vampire in her attack. So i chose to disengage. The only way i could do that was to turn away & stop speaking to her, not respond to her prodding. I could not, as a friend suggested, say "I don't like you, i don't want to talk to you, go away." However, i'm getting closer to that, & in essence i did that by refusing to speak to her.

I'm so glad she knows only of the illness & not of our desire for a child. Lord knows how she would attack me with that info!

What was also interesting to me came about in conversation with S a little later. S was talking about how her current condition is "her fault" thru not being vigilant in her diet for diabetes. In the same way the acute issues (mostly rash) i'm dealing with currently are "my fault" for not sticking to the gluten free diet i know i need to follow. (The more chronic issues are not ones for which i can take blame.)

More than ever, this current fight makes it clear to me that cheating on gluten IS detrimental to my health & functioning & has given me a lot of incentive to stick to the diet. I had to be hit with a ton of bricks to get it into my head, but i haven't any doubt about it now.

So i was very surprised when S laughed & said, "But you know, when this clears up & i'm well again, i know i'll do the same thing all over again." Say WHAT???? This poor lady has been having severe, debiliting pain that has limited her functioning, lasted for months, & made her want to die at times. And she said that she's likely to do the same things all over again?

In truth, this kind of thing makes me despair for our country. Because the large majority of people will do what they want to do, what makes them feel good for a moment, & then turn to docs & expect a pill or something as a quick fix to what they themselves caused. No self-discipline, & no personal responsibility, & no accepting consequences for actions. Our country, culture, & much of the world has become a "quick fix for what i did wrong."

But then, hangovers don't cure some folks from drinking to excess.

I'm a week away from my parents arriving. They will arrive next Wednesday, & we will be bringing them up the mountain on Thursday. I'm getting a lot done, & pacing myself well, too. Kimmy is coming for more cleaning tomorrow & Monday.

I have a "to do" list, but more, i'm keeping a list of things i ACTUALLY did because it seems i often get to the end of a day & feel like i've not done anything.

Yesterday i became aware, however, that i'm dreading this visit. It is, frankly, too soon since our visit with them in June. I still feel hurt over some things that happened then, that they are unresolved & will not be resolved, & i just need more time to pass.

I am so thankful for God's blessing in my husband Duane. We do have a healthy relationship. We talk about all kinds of things, & if there are issues, we discuss them & move on.

That is not how the family in which i was raised works. Nothing gets discussed or resolved. I learn more & more how dysfunctional & very sick it was. And the only way i can handle that is to simply walk away. Not engage. Abandon ship.

I had a fairly long conversation with Sis #3 last night.

I was 9 years old when Sis #3 was born. I loved that child deeply, fully, completely. I wanted to be her mama. And, when i was 13 & people started thinking i was her mama, i was very pleased. I wanted to protect her, love her, cuddle her & give her the things (comfort & love) i had not had. But i could see her faults, too. There were several times Sis #2 was punished by our mother for things that had really been instigated by Sis #3, & i knew it. And there were a few occasions where i was able to step in & comfort Sis #3 in a manner that a child needs.

Sis #3 knew early on that our mother was not safe, & she did not take hurts & pains or any other sensitive matter to our mother.

But i moved away when Sis #3 was not yet 9 years old. And our mother kept her from ever having much more to do with me. In fact, mother not only told my sisters that i was a bad influence & could not be trusted, she told them i was demon possessed & demented.

So i did not know that Sis #3 DID confide in mother when she was in HS. I think it was out of desperation as she had no one else to talk to. But last night she was telling me that when she confided in mother, mother sat across the room from her. Sis #3 cried & poured her heart out. And when she had finished & stopped crying mother's response was, "Well, it is late. We need to go to bed now."

And my sister would go to bed & fantisize about ways to kill herself in a manner that no one would know it was suicide. (Which, BTW, was what i did in HS, but without the confiding in mother.)

And that makes me ache. My dearly loved sister, needing comfort, needing hugs, understanding, & love, my sister whom i desperately wanted to be near, had to go thru this, & go thru it alone. I couldn't be there. I was helpless to help her at all.

I am not looking forward to next week's visit.


25 August 2009

Don't know why i'm so tired

I've put out the fall decorations. I used to keep these on my front door, but Sugarbear doesn't have a "front door." We have a sliding glass door for the front & i don't want to decorate it. So i put all the decorations under our house number. I change them out for the season. (The bag at the bottom almost looks like it is meant to be a Halloween ghost, but it is actually a bag of potting soil, waiting to be taken in.) Oh, & that eve to the right of the number is part of the trim waiting to be painted.

Today is just one of those days, i guess. I don't know why i'm so tired. Duane has gone down the hill. I did go to the farmer's market, rather late. I got some fruit, but mostly ingredients for the "fat burner soup." I certainly need to lose weight, but that's not my focus, i don't follow the diet. I just consider it a healthy soup, & i like it. In general i don't like soup too much, but i do like this one, i even like it cold. Now i've got to find the energy to get down there & chop up the veggies for the soup.

Kimmy came & cleaned all the windows yesterday! So wonderful to see out. Well, actually, she did the 3 windows in the living room & all 4 sliding glass doors. We don't have many windows that aren't doors as well.

Our birds are camera-shy! There were a lot out on the deck, but as soon as i picked up the camera, they disappeared. I tried taking pics of the birds thru our newly cleaned windows, but i'm finding it a challenge! They blend into the tree & shadows behind & don't show up very well. I'm more impressed than ever with Duane's skills.

Of course i have to throw in a pic of a squirrel. Squirrels are a daily part of our life. This pic is a little fuzzy 'cause i took it thru the screen.

And i took pics of the apples & the peaches. The neighbor across the street swears it is a peach tree. It is fairly loaded, but they are quite small. They are not much bigger than a golf ball. The apples are growing fast, but the birds are having a feast with them. I'm sure we'll still get alot.

None of these pics begin to show how blue, blue, deep blue
the sky is today.

And then here is Jazz, Bird watching. He likes to look down at them on our deck. When he saw i was going to take his picture he closed his eyes & pretended he didn't see me.

Mac is here, "helping" me clean out my clothes cabinet.

Beside both cats you can see the new brown curtains for our windows. They are inexpensive (cheap) "linen look" from Kmart. (Kmart is our "big store" up here.) We've had the white ones for privacy since we moved in & i like them, but they don't block much light. It occurred i may be waking so early due to the light, so i got these. They aren't great blockers, but better than the white alone. If i wanted them to do a really good job i'd line them. And i may, eventually. The first AM we had them up i slept until 7.45! Monday i woke early as usual, & this AM i woke early again, but went back to sleep until 7.30. Nice! The drawback is that Duane sleeps
too long without light to wake him, but i've promised to open them when i wake so that he won't sleep too long (he slept until nearly 10 yesterday). Wish i could sleep as well & easily as he does.

And here is the little guitar i told you about. It only has 14 frets, where as i understand the standard is 21. (Or at least the brochure said it had 14. I just counted 19.) Duane bought it so i can learn to play & see if i would actually use it. Dear friend Cindy has offered to teach me the basics.


Message to Shimp

Dear Alane -

I did not know about your son. I guess i've not read far enough back in your archives to be aware. Please forgive me if my stand or the things i've said have hurt you. That was not my intent.

I think we both agree that there is a need in this country for reform of the medical situation, we just disagree on where that needs to occur.

I am not trying to deny that folks with chronic issues need to have access to care. Your son's situation is most definitely one of those where medical care & intervention are paramount, & we must not do away with that care or access to that care.

My concern is also personal. Quite frankly, conventional medical care has made me very ill. And they have treated me like i'm stupid & mentally ill. And nothing that they have done or suggested has improved my situation in any way. We spend quite a lot of money every month on those things that i listed. None of it would be covered by insurance. Non-conventional ("alternative") treatments CAN help many folks (no guarantee, but none for conventional medical either). But i'm not trying to force that on anyone, any more than i think conventional care should be forced. I'm concerned that if a national health plan goes into effect, alternative treatments that are beneficial will be squeezed out & we will be left with no choice.

What is more, it is my belief that conventional medical care partnered with food companies have made the country ill. Our understanding of the body & how it works is still very rudimentary, & pharmaceuticals, chemicals, & other issues are a big problem for our society. Flu vaccines are NOT the best way to combat flu, but they will be given as the only choice & that is where the money will be spent.

The problem, as i see it, is how the system is likely to be developed. Drug companies already make a lot of money in the US. Money that they do not make in other countries. The pharmaceutical companies have prices set here & they got Congress to pass a measure so that Medicare cannot negotiate prices. If we develop a health care system in this manner, our country will go down in flames. I'm NOT opposed to a system like Canada's - at least for those who op-in to it. But i'm very fearful that is not what will happen here.

If we are going to spend the amount of money proposed, i'd be much more in favor of a medical savings account system for people to utilize, because i am a big fan of choice & personal responsibility. I do NOT have all the answers. In fact, like the cartoon in the previous post, i'm not too sure of what i "know" any more.

I think that we are on the same side in that we both want people to be cared for, particularly those who are in dire need of care. I just think that we see that happening in different ways. And again, if i have hurt you in any way, please forgive me. I was not trying to be oppositional or rude.

And, learning about other situations like the one in which you live helps to stretch me & hopefully make me more compassionate.


22 August 2009

More Blah, blah, blah

Thank you for all your kind comments on the previous two posts. They do mean so much to me.

Duane has kind of been in a grumpy mood on & off for the past
couple of days. I can't seem to do anything about it. I got tired of it today & sent him across the street to "play" with a neighbor who is building something.

I received a lovely massage from good friend David last night. He has never formally trained, but he is very good. I know some women don't like to be massaged by a man, but, frankly i love it. David's hands are so large & gentle that i can't help but relax when he works on me.

The rash is so much worse. It is very angry & red & painful. I've tried nearly everything possible to treat it (or at least i feel i tried everything known to man) & nothing seems to help much. It is painful to have anything touching it - it obviously is in a spot that does not get massaged! The underwires of my bra are killing me, but it is just as painful without that item of clothing. My next step is to brew some stinging nettle tea, drink that & put the tea bags in the freezer to apply as compresses later.

It did occur to me that i may be getting unknown gluten from the vitamin D i use (will have to check into this) or possibly at dinner
Wednesday night. I went to Pickup Stix & ordered a vegetable bowl. Rice & veggies, & shrimp (i still sometimes eat sea food). But it had a teriyaki sauce on it & i realized later that if that sauce was made with soy sauce it had gluten for most soy sauces are made with soy & wheat & i know the one at Pickup Stix is made with wheat. I'm not used to needing to be that careful about gluten.

Over all, however, i'm thankful for this wake up call. I wasn't being that careful before & this is making it clear to me that it is time to be vigilant about going GF.

Duane bought me the cutest guitar. I'll have to take a picture of it. It arrived yesterday. It is an odd shape.

A couple of months ago we were at a neighbor's garage sale. He is a musician. He had a couple of guitars for sale & one was the most beautiful acoustic guitar. I fell in love with it, but he wanted $200, & i just wasn't sure about that as i don't play & was concerned that we'd spend the money & then i'd never use it. So Duane ordered this one for me to see if i can learn & will use it. I'm assuming that if i do utilize it, that at a later point i'd get one that is more "normal." I love to sing, but don't know much. I used to, auld lang syne, play the violin tho i don't remember that at all. I also took piano & voice lessons, & can do passably with the piano. Not well. Sis #3 is the pianist in our family.

Part of Duane's less than good mood may be that i've not done much with the guitar yet. But i don't really know what to do with it! I need a couple of basic lessons.

I'm knitting a scarf with the yarn left over from the baby blanket i made. And i bought some more, deciding i'll make a hat, too. I've used circular knitting needles before to do regular knitting, but this is the first time i've done a seamless project. I don't know if i'm doing it right. To make
it come out properly it seems i have to do the stitches backwards to what i'm used to. I'll take pics of them before long, too. I'm knitting the scarf tightly on size 2 knitting needles. I'm finding that the yarn is not so soft when knitted tightly as it was when i used a larger needle.

I had another dream last night of feeling unheard, unimportant, out of control. I didn't remember it very well even when i woke, & because i didn't write it down i don't remember it much at all now. But i felt, again, frustrated & as if i had no control over circumstances.

And i woke to about 2 hours of steady rain this AM. I had no control over that, either! Not that i'm complaining. Summer rain is unusual here, but always welcome. But we'd planned to buy some wood today & i didn't want to buy it wet. Our hardware stores here do not have warehouses. The wood is stored in the open. I wasn't planning to paint today either (it is on the list for next week) but painting was out of the question, too. It has been off & on cloudy today. Right now the sun is lovely, but they warn we may get "heavy storms" later with warning for possible flash flooding.

Because it was mentioned in a comment before ( :) Alane), here is a list of the things i usually do to try to keep myself healthy:

I get a chiropractic adjustment at least twice a month, & sometimes once a week.

I get acupuncture regularly (haven't been so good about this recently, but i do try to get in twice a month).

I get CranioSacral work done regularly (usually once a month to once every 6 weeks, it is rather pricey).

I do see a therapist (John) about once a month.

I do utilize EFT (emotional freedom technique) to handle stress & other issues; i also teach it to clients whom i feel would benefit, if they are interested.

I get an occasional massage.

I do take supplements that i feel might help & the docs i work with feel are appropriate.

I try to eat a mostly organic, vegetarian (pescitarian actually) diet.

When appropriate, i order & run diagnostic lab tests (you can order these yourself in most states).

And, at this point i'm considering trying to find someone who is good at holistic work to contract with me & give advice. Both a nurse practitioner & an endocrinologist have been recommended. I haven't decided yet.

I do carry insurance that would be useful if i'm in a car accident or something catastrophic. We dropped my HMO insurance a couple years ago as we were paying a lot of money for it & it didn't cover any of the above listed items, so we were paying double, as far as i was concerned. What really blew me away was that the HMO wouldn't cover a basic physical for me because it was for work. I didn't see this doc any other time of the year, i was paying $350/month for HMO coverage, & i STILL had to pay $200 for a work physical.

I'm not a very big proponent of insurance, except catastrophic coverage. I think it would work better as a capitalist system, health savings account style, so that the PATIENT, not doc, not ins, not gov't, the PATIENT makes the decisions on how his/her money will be spent. But of course, the person has to educate themselves & take responsibility then, & that is an uphill battle in our society.

I could go on & on on this. I do agree that it is unfair that there are folks who can't get coverage, etc. I don't know the answer to that one, i wish i did. But i don't think our gov't - which has already proved it can't handle money well - should be involved in a universal plan for all US citizens. I think that is a recipe for disaster.

Wow, that issue certainly has a lot of folks heated up. I agree that the fear mongers need to be . . . .what - silenced, stopped, ??? That sounds harsh but we don't need any additional panic. Much of the heat of this debate has come from folks who prey on the fears of others to make this a hot topic. I do not wish to do that. I just simply don't believe that the folks "we" have elected to represent us show the ability to manage such an elephantine plan.

I've tried to make myself shut up four times now, it is time to stop!


21 August 2009

Night dreams (as opposed to day dreams!)

When i'm really not doing well at all, i don't dream. At first i just thought it was that i didn't remember dreaming, but when i started feeling better i was aware i had been dreaming even if i didn't remember the dream. And the fact is i usually don't remember dreams, but i was so relieved when i had the awareness i'd had them. Because i realized i was feeling better when i was dreaming.

I haven't had much awareness of dreaming lately. And, a couple of days ago i woke with that heaviness. I think i wrote of it before. It reminds me the feeling a child has after a hard day of play & just drapes herself over the shoulder of the adult who picks her up to go to bed. And it is a good feeling! It is a feeling that you played hard all day, & soon bed will take you to oblivion. And that heaviness helps you to sink right into sleep.

It is a lovely feeling, at the end of the day. It is a horrible feeling to wake up to. And there are some days i wake to that feeling & know that it is not going to be an easy day. When i woke the other morning feeling that way, before my consciousness set in, it was actually a pleasant feeling, "Now i'm going to sink into sleep!" But when awareness kicked in that it was morning & i needed to get up that pleasant feeling evaporated. It is nasty to wake up feeling like you need a good 8 hours sleep. So i assumed that i've not been dreaming much. And was surprised to wake to the awareness of today's dream.

This is what i dreampt:

I was at a function at the college where i'm alumni (an alumnus?). Went out to my car & saw the door standing open. But i had just dropped some things off & ran an errand, so my first thought was "Funny, did i walk away with it open?" I got in & ready to shut the door & saw that the door was broken. (Strange thing, with car break-ins often the window is broken, but in this case the door was all window & the outter part was gone. Dreams are funny.) Also my purse, phone, money, etc. was all gone.

So i got out of the car & a few people were passing by - not many, it was fairly late at night. I asked if i could borrow a cell phone to report the break in & theft, & no one would let me use their phone.

So i walked to the nearest dorm. And tried to find someone to help me. Got to a pay phone (lost my money so i don't know how i made the call) & couldn't seem to get anywhere with anyone. So i went to the little office nearby & asked the dorm monitor on duty to use the phone.

His response was, "You already did." He'd heard me on the payphone.

"But i didn't reach anyone to help me!" I wailed. He shrugged. We talked back & forth some, but i wasn't going to get help. So i walked out.

"Where are you going?" he asked me.

"I'll walk to the police station & make a report," i responded.

So i walked for a while & reached the police station. When i got there i found 2 people behind a desk, & a number of folks - probably 8 or 10 - waiting, but in no apparent order. Also there was an office off to the side with other police personel & the folks behind the desk came & went into the office.

What was going on there was totally disorganized. People were walking to the desk in random order but it looked like nothing was done. I stood in a "line" behind an elderly lady, but before long she walked off.

I'm a big believer in not thinking i'm more important than the next guy. I don't believe at a 4 way stop that the person next to go should always be me. (I saw a lady - on her cell phone - breeze thru a stop sign the other day behind someone who had come to a proper stop. I suppose she figured if she'd already stopped behind the other person she shouldn't have to stop again.) I don't think i should automatically go to the head of the queue whether it is people standing in the line, or a line of cars. (I've seen folks also "pass" others on the side of the road when we are waiting for an accident to clear. They are too important to wait for the rest of us to get out of their way.)

So i waited, hoping that work was being done & i would be helped eventually. After a while i just went on to the desk, but the person behind it ignored me. So i began to speak, rather loudly, "I need help! My car has been broken into & things stolen. Isn't there anyone who can help me with this?" I may have been whining a bit, too.

I went on like this for a little bit, & both the folks went into the side office & shut the door. I woke up remembering the shut door.

I'm not into dream analysis. On the rare occasion i remember a dream i don't usually think, "Wonder what that meant?" Instead i usually think of it as a good story my brain created. So i woke from this dream & thought, "Wow, that was really frustrating!"

But, independent of that, a few minutes later i was thinking about my strange-odd-bizarre-really awful monthly pain pattern. This has been going on for years. No cause has ever been postulated by a doc, nor has any doc ever shown any real interest or curiosity in this highly unusual situation. And i realized that my experience in trying to get help from the medical field with this pain pattern is similar to the frustration i felt in the dream.


20 August 2009

I've got a twisted mind

As i've mentioned before, i read a lot of different blogs. I do follow several blogs on mamas, tho sometimes i can't tell you why . . . ? I don't mean that in a bad way, i love hearing about other folks' lives, but sometimes it does seem to be a form of self torture to read about how motherhood is the best job, etc.

Anyway, one of the blogs i follow, because she writes so well of healthy, simple living, also has a very new baby in the house. And she was posting about how she doesn't need a lot of equipment or things for the baby (she listed 7 she finds indispensable). She always tries to engage the reader as well,
usually by a question at the end of the post.

So the question on this last post was: What do
you find indispensable after the birth of a baby? And i almost, almost wrote, "A baby."

But i stopped myself, 'cause that is cruel & a cheap shot. But i have to admit my mind is twisted & i'm a rather bitter person at moments. Reading of the joys of motherhood sometimes elicits an internal, sarcastic response of "How very nice for you."

But i keep that internal, because i don't want to be bitter, nor do i want to sound bitter. Such a response raises fences & walls & inhibit interaction.
And, others could say the same to me on issues of a truly happy marriage, Duane's job doing well, home ownership, & living in one of the most beautiful places on the earth (but i'm a bit biased there!).

A few days ago i mentioned i intended to write on tolerance/intolerance.
I didn't mean in general.

I follow a lot of blogs. Many are on healthy living, or living
simply, several are on gluten-free living, one is on money issues, a couple are on Christain issues, a couple are devotional, a couple on decorating or design. But the large majority are just folks. They write about their lives. I began following them because something in the blog hit me when i visited. It could be beautiful pics, or artwork, it could be excellent & humorous writing, it could be because the things of which they wrote resonated with me. And these folks come from all walks of life: Outspoken Christians, Christians, folks i don't know their belief, folks who are New Age or otherwise, Agnostic, & Athiest, folks who have families, folks who want families, folks who are living without children, grandparents, folks with weight loss issues, health issues, infertility/miscarriage issues, special needs children, serious blogs, light-hearted blogs, & some folks who simply make me laugh. Some blogs are on specific topics, others just about their lives as it happens. I read folks who post daily, some who post a few times a week, others monthly, a few just now & then. (Like Duane's blog, Croggled. Total of 4 posts, one of which i wrote.)

BTW, i don't list the ones i follow here on the blog. The list would be too long. Check out my profile, link of which is at the bottom.

But with such a list of folks i read, you would think i'm fairly tolerant. ??? And, in some ways i am. But there are things with which i'm finding i don't have a lot of patience.

Everyone makes spelling & grammar mistakes on occasion. I probably make them more often than i am aware. But i tend to have a negative attitude when folks have poor writing on a consistent basis. I find that it colors the way in which i see them. I'm not very tolerant of poor writing skills.

I'm not very tolerant of health decisions folks make.

When i hear women saying, "Oh i have to have a mammogram tomorrow," i want to shriek, "Don't do it!" Benefits of breast cancer screenings report here. Oh, & in case you think it is worth having 2,970 women screened to save one life, the 2,969 women not benefited by this screening are exposed, over & over, to radiation - to one of the body areas most sensitive to radiation. What is more, a number of women go thru a great amount of stress with false positives & disfiguring surgeries. You see, most cysts, tumors, etc., found are NOT cancer, or if they are cancer they often are a non-invasive, slow-growing cancer that are not life-threatening. AND if you question the doctor, you might get them to admit that mammograms do not differentiate between types of cancer, nor can the docs tell you which ones are dangerous & rapid growing as opposed to slow-growth, non-threatening.

But the public has been duped to believing that after the age of 40, going off & having this barbaric procedure done yearly is the BEST form of prevention.

The flu shot is a similar scenario. The CDC claims, on its website, that the flu vaccine is the best form of prevention. What they do not tell you is that the flu vaccines impair your body's immune system. It does not make you stronger or better able to fight infection. Just the opposite, in fact. There are a number of things in a flu vaccine that you do not want in your body. Introducing them via injection by passes your body's own defense system.

Very few people are aware of the concept of "Number Need to Treat." Information needed on that here, & here, & here.

. . . The numbers of children who needed to be vaccinated to prevent 1 hospitalization in a year with 50% vaccine efficacy ranged from 1031 to 3050 for children 6 to 23 months of age and from 4255 to 6897 for children 24 to 59 months of age. For every 12 to 42 children 6 to 59 months of age vaccinated in a year with 50% vaccine efficacy, we estimated that 1 influenza-attributable outpatient visit would be prevented. CONCLUSIONS: With 1 outpatient visit being prevented through vaccination of (less than) 50 children, influenza vaccination can reduce influenza-attributable medical visits in children significantly, even in years with modest vaccine efficacy.

This particular report is from PubMed. They may consider it reasonable to vacicinate 1,031 to 3,050 to prevent one hospitalization, but given the chance of adverse reactions in those children, i do not, especially given the young age of these chilren. I'm not impressed with their NNT for outpatient prevention, either.

I'm going to stop now, for i could go on & on & on.

If what was being proposed by our gov't was true healthcare reform, i'd be all for it. But they are just trying to find a way to undergird the current broken system. You have to follow the money, & a lot of people have a great deal to lose if true health care reform took place. But the rest of us have so much to gain. Healthier lives, less obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease. The list goes on & on. It is hard for me to listen to folks blindly following the status quo that brought us to this sick place. It can be better, but the current system will never do it.

But please note, i still love the folks who are making these decisions. I simply have to bite my tongue & sit on my hands NOT to comment on their choices. I think 95% of the time i manage well. :)

More pics from 2007 Faire.


18 August 2009

Weird sort of week

We were surprised coming home on Thursday to see a haze of smog-looking air over Big Bear. Such things generally do not happen unless there is a fire. But the radio was giving no reports of such, & so we rather forgot it. But Friday AM the smoke smell was heavy in the air.

Turns out that this is "drift smoke" coming from the Santa Barbara fires 205 miles W/NW of us. Usually we are high enough that smog & other air issues from below don't reach us, but i guess there was a wind blowing the stuff up the mountain. Anyway, i've been keeping them in our prayers as i think of it.

I don't remember doing anything particular on Friday or Saturday. Usual stuff. Went to town.

Sunday we went to church & then to the Renaissance Faire, which is actually held in Fawnskin across the lake. These pics are not from this year. Duane forgot his camera. They are from when we went 2 years ago. But it looked much the same. It runs 2 weekends in August. It is small, & largely commercial, meaning that most of the booths are of things for folks to buy. But they do have several stages where different events go on.

Beyond the jousting we watched on where
some ladies introduced five animals from the Moonridge Animal Park/Big Bear Zoo. They had a Barn Owl, a female kestrel, an opossom, an African Pigmy hedgehog, & a grey fox. It was interesting to learn that the hedgehog was bred only for pet sales, but that it is illegal in CA. So if Fish & Game confiscates animals, they are taken to this animal park if, for whatever reason, they cannot be turned to the wild. I didn't know that grey foxes can climb trees like cats, which is the reason red foxes were introduced into the US. Foxhunters got bored with trying to hunt foxes that could climb trees!

They did not have the parrot man this year. That was one of Duane's favorite shows when we went before.

They claim the jousting is "real" in that it is dangerous & they use real wood & not just something that is made to break when hit. It is true that what they were using was a lance of pine wood that certainly splintered when hit. And one of the knights was knocked off his horse in heavy armour & landed flat on his back, hard, & hit his head hard too. He had a concussion & was done for the day.

We stood in the shade & watched the joust, & it was at that point that i started
to feel not very well. I hadn't felt all that well for a couple of days - things tasted "off" to me. But i felt not very well at all then. So we left not long after that. We stopped for lunch in town & i couldn't eat much (but i was very good; 100% gluten-free for 6 days now, i'm like an alcoholic, "6 days sober"!). By then time i got home i was feeling really awful, achey, & yucky. I had a fever just under 100F & oh, my body ached! But i took a lot of vitamin D & some quercetin & just rested.

By Monday AM the fever had passed, tho i still feel some tightness/heaviness in my chest. But i'm much better. It may have been something really short-lived, or it may be that vitamin D is truly a miracle. I'm still a little weak, but i've only one person scheduled this week & so will rest in the in-between time. And make an appt for acupuncture on Thursday.

Then, because i wanted a distraction we saw the movie "District 9." Whoever thought it could be compared to "Matrix" . . . well, let's just say i question their sanity. Duane defended it because the CGI was so incredible. And, "it does have a story." Yes, it did. Not one that i'd care to watch again, but it does have a story.

Coming down the hill today the sky was (as almost alway
s) the deepest, amazing blue. I think i could stare for hours at the blue, blue sky & the green trees against it. God sure knew what he was doing when he created our world.

On a side note, i don't like to decorate with blue much. I wear blue, aqua, teal, periwinkle & those colors more often than not. I do like pure white with a cobalt blue for a kitchen or bath, but those aren't really available to me with the way we have our house set up. But i don't like house paint - interior or exterior - in blue. Ah well, we all have our way of looking at things.

As we came down the mountain the sk
y got paler & paler. Then at a certain point when we can see beyond the horizion of mountains & into the valley, we were looking at dark, dark haze. Most of it is smog i suppose, with a mixture of that drift smoke from the fires north of that area. It looked awful. And driving into it visibility was limited to about 2 miles. Yuck, yuck, yuck. So that was the circle of this week.

I'm quite behind on blog reading. When i was ill & recovering i didn't feel much like keeping up. Too much work to try to make my brain function. Not that anyone would really know that i was missing! I don't comment very often.

This is the hat we bought for Duane at the 2007 Faire. We also got a straw hat for me, but just an inexpensive thing, straw, made in China. I don't have a pic of it. They did have wonderful, handmade straw hats, but i just couldn't justify spending that amount of money on them. Not that i devalue what those ladies do, i know it is valuable. But 2007 we weren't doing all that great with money & i didn't want to spend $70 (or whatever it was) on a hat.


15 August 2009

TMI Revisited

A few days ago i wrote about trying a no shampoo method of keeping my hair clean. I first came across the idea at Keeper of the Home at this post. It didn't really gel with me at the time, but later when i had issues with allergies to shampoo i decided to give it a try.

Well, i came across this at another blog today (can't report which, sorry, i was blog-hopping). So i did a Google search on "no 'poo" & discovered that there is a lot written about this! Many blogs & even a product called "No 'Poo" tho i think i had heard of that before. I thought i'd mention it here, because one of the things often commented about is a "transition phase" where your hair is oilier than normal when you first make the switch. Consensus seems to be that normal product strips your scalp of all oil & your body ramps up oil production to balance that. So it may take your body a while to adjust to the new normal.

So far, i've not hit a transition phase. However, i use a heavy, heavy paste that is not much more than slightly damp baking soda. I measured & what i'm using is 1/3rd cup BS, 1-1/2 tsp soap nut liquid, & 2 TB aloe vera juice. However, i don't use all that on my hair! About half of that is on my hair, & the rest i use as a soft soap paste with a tiny amount of soap to clean the rest of me. It has helped a little with the rash (or i choose to perceive that it does) & the skin on my face is smoother & softer than it has been in some time.

Also, from what i read, as i do this longer i can probably go to a much more liquid form of this - 1 part BS to 6 parts water. But i think using the heavier paste now is helping with "transition phase." I was using the cider vinegar straight, but every one else dilutes it. I tried it diluted today & wasn't thrilled with the immediate result, but my hair hasn't dried yet, so i don't know the total result. And some folks don't like the smell of ACV, & so they put a vanilla bean or essential oil in the vinegar to counter that. Truth is, after it has been rinsed & dried i never smell the vinegar. But i tried putting a couple of cinnamon sticks & a small piece of minature coconut in it. Don't know the result yet, 'cause it hasn't soaked long enough.

I had a massage last night & it was wonderful! Rita is very good & works at listening to her client & following their direction. I'm comfortable enough with her that i can tell her when she's working too deep, with often is a problem for me when working with someone else. I KNOW as a client & as a massage therapist that the person working on me can't tell when it is too deep, but it is hard for me to stop them (especially as a couple of them will argue with me about it & i have a harder time with that).

Also, i made a quiche from this blog recipe, & i thought it soooooo good! I made it with mushrooms, a little zuccini, & onions; also more cheese than was called for. Duane wasn't so enamored by it, but i thought it very good. I used gluten-free flour, of course, with a little salt, baking powder & baking soda added to make it "self-rising." I added the baking soda because i think the milk i used was a little sour.

Gotta go & do things, but i do have one question: What's up with folks putting music on their blogs? If you do this, please don't be offended, but i find it very irritating. Most of the time i am on without speakers, & i turn the speakers on when i want to listen to something. I also have the tendency to open many windows & go from one to the next, closing the window after i'm finished. When i come across something i WANT to hear & i find there is other stuff already on, i have to go search out which blog is playing what & turn it off.

Sorry, but i'm highly noise sensitive, & while you may really love the music on your blog, i have issues. However, if you do, 90% of the time i don't know it 'cause i keep my speakers off. So, i guess i'm a minority on the music/noise issue.

Thanks for letting me vent! :)

P.S. - the ears are perfect cups. Rinse well or you'll end up with baking soda deposits! Google no 'poo if you want other options - folks use lots of other things mixed with it.

P.P.S. - need more vinegar. I notice, for me, that if i don't have a good vinegar rinse my hair is heavy, hard to manage, & easily tangled. (It is mid-back length.) Will a good vinegar rinse it is soft, shiny, & easy to manage.

Oh, & go check out this post by Gitz/Sara Frankl. Well worth the read no matter what you're struggling with.