Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category.

Not so Icy

So I linked up my blog to Facebook and it posted my almost exactly 1-year-old post “Icy Roads” as a “new” update and freaked out my friends, so I guess it’s a sign that I need something more recent!

My health has improved a lot over the last year.  I’m back to functional again, though once in a while I hit a slick spot and land on my butt for a while, but for the most part, the grass is looking greener and greener even on my side of the fence 🙂

For those wondering, I never did get a specific diagnosis, but the overall problem is hormone depletion and below that, is the heavy metal poisoning that I’ve known about for years and just haven’t gotten around to treating as it’s a long, arduous process.  The dizzy spells were fixed by supplemental DHEA and pregnenalone, both OTC but at your own risk etc, and some of the fatigue was fixed by Armour thyroid.  Then I shore up my system with a bunch of other stuff.

For the first several months, the supplements barely kept me afloat, but over time they really have gotten me back to a state of “normal” – perhaps not the “normal” I was used to, but a new one that is still a good place to be.  I now even can miss them for a few hours and not notice a huge drop.

Exercise other than short-and-mild still takes more out of me than it “should”, and I get angry about that still sometimes, and the weight I’ve gained in trying to build up my health bugs the heck out of me.  It’s funny how, when it felt like everything was  falling apart, I could recognize and appreciate the little progress and not fret over the less critical stuff, but now that I’ve made a lot of progress, I feel greedy – I should be able to exercise AND have a functional day where I get a lot done AND lose weight.

But for the most part, I’ve accepted my new level of functionality and things are going well.  I had plenty of time as a Type A – there are advantages to learning to let that go.  And, mainly, when I look back at where I was a year ago, I’m very grateful.   Very grateful.

Icy Roads

I’ve been struggling with my health for weeks and it seems to be getting worse; my ability to explain it is slowly leaking away.  I’ve been trying to come up with an analogy of what my brain feels like. Sometimes, the words come out garbled, even reading a line of text, and I’m so distracted that if I don’t watch out I’m off on another topic entirely.

How does one describe having no energy but yet not being tired? Feeling “wrong” but not feeling sick? Especially when one’s brain is the problem in the first place and expected to do that thinking.

What I do know is that the internal feelings seems eerily connected and similar to the external symptoms that my son has struggled with for years. I find myself not wanting to get off the couch and attend to basic things, and wonder if that is what he feels like. I reach for thoughts that are no longer there and try to force out words that slip away like eels or change into the wrong words, and I recall all the times where at his worst, he wouldn’t even speak. A song with static plays while I try to read text, and I want to scream from the chaos.   I recall his reaction to me talking too much – he screams at me to shut up.  I’m 40, though, so I don’t.

The best I have come up with is the feeling of driving on icy roads. At first, the snow fell gently and lightly; it got in the way of my thinking but I could brush it aside, and normal operations of my brain felt like driving on soft snow that fell on dry ground. There is a surreal feeling; things aren’t quite the way I’m used to, but it’s fine, even pretty. In fact I’ve taken substances that make me feel this way, only this time I’ve not had anything to drink and yet feel a bit as if I have. Like driving on snow, everything works, you just take it a bit slower and try to enjoy the scenery. Most of the time, my mental road all feels fine and working. Then I put on the brake and for a second it just doesn’t do anything. I think, “I did put on the brake, right?” and then suddenly I feel myself slowing, back in control, wondering if anything unusual actually happened. When driving on snow, you pay more attention – slowly you realize all the times where the tires slip, just a little, but you don’t know for sure. Maybe it is your imagination…it feels fine right now.

Lately, though the mental roads are getting icy and slick. At times my brain can’t hold a thought from the sink to the fridge. Oh, I’m used to this – but usually it’s because I am driving too fast. I’m thinking of 10 things, and what to put in my tea is lowest of the list and so it takes a while for the gears to click in and bring it to the surface. But when my only task in the moment is making tea, I don’t expect black ice between the sink and the fridge. My coordination is off, and I need a wider road during those times. I reach for something and my hands don’t quite land where I put them. I look at the writing on my three out of four vials of spit for the lab test, and I see the writing decline over the course of the day. Yet, still, I tell myself it’s not a big deal – I probably just rested that one with the pretty handwriting on the table. Until I try that with the fourth, and am shaken when my name comes out stilted and jumpy.

I live in Colorado and the weather here varies not just from month to month, but from day to day and hour to hour. I should be used to this but I’m tired of having Colorado weather in my head. Earlier this week, my mental roads were very snowpacked and icy, and I was starting to panic. I laid down to read, and fell asleep. Though it took me an hour to clear the sleep from my head, I then had 5 hours of perfect clarity – exactly like a typical Colorado winter day once the snow has started to melt because the sun has come out. Then after a stressful situation, I could feel the snow in my head start to fall, like a blanket, obscuring everything I was trying to think about and even making my hands slippery and awkward on the keyboard.

Today has dawned sunny and bright, but with high winds – both literally and figuratively. The clouds on the horizon are fuzzy and tenuous, but the clouds in my head are starting to billow and threaten. It will be interesting to see what weather the future brings.

My life story

I’ve been talking about it for years.  I interviewed my family months ago.  And finally, I have actually started to write.

The oddest thing is happening.  You know when you read a book after having read the back cover, or having heard some of the punchline you shouldn’t have, and you are reading eagerly wondering when some event will happen and how?

That’s how it feels writing.  My memory is not great, so as I’m listening to the interviews with my mom, I know there is juicy stuff coming, though I can’t quite remember what it is.  Similarly, with my own memories.  I will recall something I’ve not remembered or thought about in years, and then the memory will end, like having to close the book mid-chapter.   It’s tantalizing and yet frustrating.

I wish I could write as fast as I read!

Am I a stalker?

Today I was reading a blog written by a local woman that I remembered meeting a few months ago. At the time, I remember thinking she was interesting and that I would like to get to know her, but of course without an actual working memory, I never followed through. Reading her stories, I felt curiously drawn to her.

Similarities to myself that I saw within her words touched me in ways I can’t quite describe. Her wry sense of humor despite a painful situation, her mostly-philosophical approach made more realistic with a bit of anger and lots of grief, and her willingness to expose emotions to the world– I greatly admire someone whose words have the power to make me feel as if we are old friends sitting in her living room. I admired her ability to describe the details amongst a flood of heavy situations, to add bits of playfulness into the seriousness – in short, to make me feel.

My first reaction was a connectedness of emotion (combined with a bit of envy at the quality of her writing). Despite very different circumstances, a mother’s love, pain, and transformation is universal, and I wanted to reach out and connect.

Right on the heels of that though, was another reaction, though some might consider it odd: fear and self-doubt. I thought to myself, maybe it would be rather odd (or to be honest, what I mean is that she might think it rather odd) to try to be friends with someone that I’ve only met once. Perhaps contacting her with a renumeration of all the similarities between us would feel just a tad bit too stalking? I briefly considered listing some qualifications to be her friend – after all, I’m not entirely unconnected or unknown in the parenting community – but quickly decided that would sound desperate at best and self-important at worst.

Then I realized, if I – an extrovert who makes friends fairly easily – am having these doubts, how must it be for others? How selfish am I being, worrying about this?

My own feelings began to make me consider the nature of friendships and connection, of women and self-doubt. Why are we always questioning ourselves? Why do we always think we are not good enough? Recently I was watching a show where women unhappy with their bodies were asked to place themselves in a line-up, based on how big they thought they were compared to other women. They consistently put themselves at the large end of the line, instead of at the smaller end where they actually belonged. I see this again and again in real life – people that I’m sure are more fit than I tell me how wonderful I look, and then go on to berate themselves. On the flip side, I, instead of taking their compliments to heart, feel an inner dismissiveness and downplay their remarks, taking anything negative much more to heart.

This happens not just in relation to body image and looks, but across the board with women, and I find it sad at the same time I’m victim to it.

But, will this realization be enough to get me past my self-consciousness and brave enough to send a simple email? I’m still not sure.


Last week I found on my desk a small scrap of paper that said, “3/7, 9:00”. I looked on my calendar and saw nothing at that time (am or pm), but I did vaguely remember a phone call where I had said, “I don’t have my calendar but I think that will work”, and specifically written down a time so I wouldn’t forget to add it to my calendar.

My memory is very odd. In talking with others, I get the impression that a memory is either there, or it is not. Mine reminds me of a statistics class I took in college (though I remember very little of that either) where there are no certainties, just possibilities of greater or lessor probability. I will take a clue – for example the scrap of paper, and compare it to various possibilities in my head, evaluating the probability…”It must be AM, because I never make appointments that late and I think it would have stuck in my memory if I did. It has to be current, because it’s a bit of paper from my scrapbooking (and being in the basement would be consistent with not having my calendar). Could it be meeting a friend for coffee? No, I would have known hubby would be at work. Could it be a client? Possibly – I ran through the ones I could recall offhand and none seemed to match. Etc.” Often, I will run various scenarios through my head, looking for a “deja-vu” type of feeling, and the situation I will pick as correct is just one that feels the most real. I had to assume that the scrap and the memory of the phone call were tied together (that clicked in as, ‘yup, that feels right’) but for the life of me, couldn’t figure out who was on the other end of the phone.

Perhaps the scrap meant something entirely different; maybe “3/7 9:00” has some other meaning (like a movie that has clues that seem obviously one thing but are really another). I guess I’ll never know….3/7 came and went and nothing happened….kind of disappointing actually!


I never thought I would say this, but I had kale for dinner last night and it was delicious.

As a child, I was forced to eat kale and I hated it. Kale was out-hated only by okra (which I have to try again, though I’m told it is a delicacy). I lived on a large community (what you would call a “commune”) where most of our food was grown by hand, and only a small amount of necessities were purchased with the small pot of community money. I can remember toilet paper being rationed to a certain number of rolls per household per week, and bananas being only given to children under 2, and only 1 per week at that.

Kale was good for me, I was told, and since it was one of the few vegies that would grow *in the snow*, it came at a time when nutrition was especially low. I had heard tales of “wheat berry winter” where the mills had broken down, there was no money to fix them, and all there was to eat were wheat berries cooked like cereal – perhaps a little salt if you had stored some away – but fortunately I didn’t live there during that time!

Luckily I actually didn’t mind the bland flavor of soybeans, which were the mainstay of our diet; most children detested them. Pinto beans, more of a rarity, I didn’t care for and would often eat as pills, swallowing each one whole, or I would surreptitiously feed them to the cat waiting under the table, who couldn’t afford to be picky either. But kale, there really is no way to swallow whole. I clearly remember gagging down this horribly bitter tasting leaf which I was convinced really was a noxious weed. If we had vinegar, sometimes I could mask the taste with that, but as I grew older and we moved off the community, I resolved to leave kale and pinto beans behind me as a part of my past. I would explain to friends in college that it wasn’t that I didn’t like beans – I had simply already eaten my lifetime supply.

So I was quite surprised when, over at a friends house, I observed her and her 3 year old daughter not only enjoying but fighting over (complete with dualing forks) sauteed kale. Eating kale is definitely not something I would put past this vegetarian, ultra-nutrition oriented friend, but her daughter? I tentatively asked to try a bite – whoever came up with the strategy of not giving your children food that you want them to have, and eating it all yourself with relish, must have been a genius as it certainly worked on me.

It must have some nutrient I’m in need of, because that one bite (which I admitted was quite good) got a hold of me. I started craving more and bought my own bunch. Of course, once it was in my kitchen, all of my doubts returned – it still was that squeaky, beautifully dark-colored leaf that I had detested for so long and admired as a pretty addition to a plate but not actually considered food. After several days of considering it and opting for the lettuce instead, I finally tried it, cooked in some bacon fat and lots of apple cider vinegar. It was … not bad, I admitted. The next day I tried microwaving it, as I only had a few minutes. That was a horrible mistake – I can only guess that it was the metal content caused it to spark and shrivel. Finally on my third try, it came out wonderful. Delicious. Here’s what I did.

Lisa Rediscovers Kale

Wash kale and tear leaves from stalks into bite-sized pieces. Trim ends off stalks, and slice into very thin disks. Melt a pat of butter in a covered pan. Add kale and stalk disks, 1/2 cup of water, and steam for about 10 minutes or until disks lose their bitterness and kale is starting to get soft. Meanwhile, chop about 1/2 cup red or sweet yellow onion and a bit of garlic. Push kale to sides, and add onion and garlic with another pat of butter to center of pan and soften to transparent.

Taste, and add salt, vinegar, or other ingredients as needed. (At the last minute, I added some sliced breakfast sausage that I had leftover so that it was made into a meal – it went surpisingly well together!)

Fruit Loops

Fruit loops have a long history in my life and it seems to have come full circle. I grew up on a “commune” so most everything was home-grown. However, when I would visit my grandmother each summer, I would stay an extra couple weeks and travel back by myself. It is one of the highlights of my childhood.

I don’t know how Fruit Loops became something I craved. My parent’s rule was that I not have sweetened cereal, but others were OK. We reached a happy compromise with Honey-Nut Cheerios. At the time, I thought I had pulled one over on my Grammie, convincing her that they weren’t nearly as sweetened as others and that at least it was honey (yeah…riiiiight); looking back, I have to wonder if she just thought the rule was silly, just like the one about not eating meat, of which she let me have as much as I wanted and never told my parents.

Nevertheless, Fruit Loops became a symbol for me, for a while. Given my poor memory, I was surprised when as an adult, my cousins gave me a huge box of Fruit Loops for my birthday. I was very touched. 7 years later, I suggested to my 10 year old son that Fruit Loops would be something I would like for my birthday – a special treat that I would never buy as a staple, but something I would slowly eat and treasure.

Last night I spoke to him on the phone while at Gramma’s. (Unfortunately, he’s only there for one night; not two weeks). They had gone shopping, to get milk and cheese. Somehow, they ended up with ice cream cones and Fruit Loops. She figured since I had gotten them for my birthday, they must be OK.

After my initial consternation, which I was careful to keep to myself, I let it go and said he had to have protein at the same time, and only a small bowl. (Luckily he doesn’t react to food dye, only blood sugar swings). It took me a few minutes to realize that we’ve come full circle, and that in a way, convincing Gramma to buy sweetened cereal against the parent’s wishes must be some sort of rite of passage in our family.

Speaking Engagement

So I’m really going to do it. I’m going to be a speaker at a conference and get paid and everything.

I think it really hit me how real it was about the end of last week. I spent 3 days in a virtual fetal position trying to get myself to make progress on my slides and speech, but it came together.

I did it as a sample presentation to our local API group. The main comment was that I rushed a LOT. Who, me? haha. I’ve been busily putting in

reminders throughout my slideset….I think being aware is the biggest thing…we’ll see! 🙂

Summer garland swap

My summer garland pieces are finally finished, photographed, and delivered!

garland swap

I wanted to capture the spirit of summer which for me, at least, had to include flowers! Mine are made with flowers from my garden, including miniature pansies, yarrow, lobelia, thyme and lavender. The “vase” is made of marbled and stamped polymer clay. I had so much fun making them!

Painting the boards:Back (before stamping):


Front detail:

All 31 finished!


Ever dream of candy stores?

I don’t know who else will appreciate this find IRL…

Anyone else have a dream as a child..that you got to take home a huge bag of candy and it didn’t cost anything…Ok, maybe I’m strange and was deprived but it was a recurring one for me.

Well, the other day…jeans shopping…feeling fat as usual. I try on a pair of 10s even though I’m pushing 12s these days (ack! I was down to a loose 8 for a while…which is just right as I’m not that tall). They were HUGE!! I go to the saleslady in disbelief and she says, oh, the sizes vary widely on those, that’s why they are 70% off. So I grab a huge pile to try on. The 12s were too tight.

Well, I got 3 pairs of size 8 jeans that look fabulous (though a little long, I’ll have to wear pretty high heels 🙂 for $13.45 a peice!! Just like the candy dream 🙂