Tuesday Ten: My Advice For Our Teens

I had a lovely chat with one of my favorite ladies this morning, and we were talking about kiddos and how fast they grow up, and how we moms just aren’t ready for the teen years. And I was inspired.

So here are the ten things I would tell my teenage son, and all my adopted kiddos.

*You are going to have crushes. You’re going to “date” and you’re going to break hearts…and yes, you’ll have your heart broken. You’re going to care about someone and you’re going to get hurt. It may feel like your life is over, but it will really just be beginning.

*It is true what they say, as much as is possible, treat people how you want to be treated. Put all the good karma you can into the world and you shall be handsomely rewarded.

*You will be bullied. When the time comes and you’re the one doing the bullying, remember how it felt when you were in their shoes.

*You will have many “best” friends. When a friendship goes sour, try to leave it on the best terms possible and with your dignity intact. God knows how hard it will be, but always, ALWAYS try to be the better person. You will be glad you did.

*Take pride in yourself and the values you hold dear, but be willing to accept you won’t always be right. Open yourself up to learning new things and revising what you’ve been taught. There isn’t always one right answer. Find what you hold true and stand up for what you believe in.

*There are consequences to each and every action, some good, some bad, and some may not surface immediately. I can’t tell you what choices to make, but please weigh the outcomes beforehand. Even just one minute of thought can save you a lifetime of hurt.

*Dream. Dream loud and dream often. Chase those dreams and dream new ones. Hold onto that wonderful imagination for as long as you can and use it to dream and accomplish the impossible.

*I know it won’t always be popular to make the “right” decision, but please remember that popularity can and will fade and when it does, your virtue will be all that you can hold on to.

*You will get warnings, people will tell you all of the horrible consequences for many of the decisions you will find yourself faced with…and you will tell yourself they won’t happen to you. Please remember, they can ALWAYS happen to ANYONE. Protect yourself and be smart. Naivety and ignorance will only bring you pain.

*Most importantly, don’t forget to smile, laugh, and LIVE. You are only young with minimal cares for this short period of time. Enjoy every last second; I can promise you, you will be glad you did.

What advice would you give to teenagers?

**This post is adapted from a post I wrote in 2012 for The Band Back Together Project. I certify that I am the sole author of both posts, though they are written under different names. I retain all rights to these words, in both posts.

Ask Away Friday Vol. 14

What a glorious day! Fall is here in full swing. There is a windy, rainy storm outside my windows, I’m bundled under my throw blanket, and I’m sipping hot apple cider while I type this. Life, it’s all about these little moments of great happiness.

FallSky
My stormy Oregon skyline

Another reason it’s a great day, it’s Friday! And that means it’s time for a round of #AskAwayFriday!

If you’re a new reader, AAF is where I swap ten questions with a fellow blogger, and we all get to know each other a little better. This week I had the lovely pleasure of swapping with Bernadyn from B is 4…

AAFBernadynCollage

Bernadyn, or B (as she likes to be called) is a married mom of two adorable little munchkins. She reminds me a bit of myself, as she has many passions- writing, photography, cooking, baking, crafting… She has her finger in a lot of different pies, and unlike me, she seems to pull it all off effortlessly. I’m gonna have to get her to share her secret with me. And all this while chasing around her kiddos! Be sure to hop on over to her site today to see what I asked her, and how she answered. And poke around a bit, her recipes and pictures are phenomenal!

1. What movies and books do you look forward to reading and watching in the next couple months?

Oh goodness! I really need to get back to reading. Maybe these stormy fall days will inspire me to update my reading list and make a sizable dent in it. Do you have any suggestions for me? As for movies- I’d kinda like to see Big Hero Six, the previews are cute. My fiance and I are also going to have a movie night on Halloween. We’ll be watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Young Frankenstein, two of our all time favorites :)

2. I’ve gotten better with it but for me, balancing my time is the hardest challenge to maintain my blog regularly. What is the biggest challenge you may have with blogging?

Mine is also time. I can’t just sit down and crank out a post in minutes, it usually takes me at least a few hours. Then editing, promoting, etc… There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

3. What is your favorite activity to do with your son?

I love movie nights. It sounds so silly, but they’re wonderful. He’ll pick out a movie and we’ll all curl up in our jammies with snacks and blankets and watch together. He’s getting too old for a lot of things, but he still loves movie nights. And so they are my favorite.

4. I love your “Just One…But So Much More” post! I like how you share your character and who you are. What would you say is your best quality? What would you say others think is your best quality?

Thank you so very much! I’m so blessed that post has gotten so much attention, as I wrote it for Invisible Illness Awareness Week. My best quality? I would have to say I value my intelligence. Growing up it wasn’t cool to be the smart girl, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to embrace it. I’m not a genius, but I can hold my own at Scrabble, and that’s no small feat ;) My fiance says my passion, and my ability to put that passion into the things I believe in. (Aw! Thanks honey!)

5. What is your favorite fall activity?

Being cozy! LOL I love being able to bundle up and listen to the storm rage outside. I love the smell of rain. I love hot tea and watching a movie, or reading a book. I love everything about this time of year, all those cozy feelings.

6. Where is a local place (restaurant, store, event, museum, etc.) that you have never been to but would like to visit?

Restaurant: The Old Spaghetti Factory

Store: There are a few new thrift stores that have popped up that I would love to putter through.

Event: About 30 mins away is an Octoberfest every fall. We’ve missed each it each year so far, but I have hopes we’ll be able to go next year.

Museum: I actually haven’t been to any of the local museums since moving here five years ago, so I should probably get on it!

7. What is something on your bucket list that you’d like to accomplish in the next five years?

Well this might be a cop-out, but my bucket list says To Marry The Man Of My Dreams, and we’ll be taking those vows next August. It’s a big deal, for both of us. I’ll take it further by saying I hope to be able to actually walk down the aisle to my groom. When I was first diagnosed, they told me I wouldn’t be able to. I can still walk today, and hope to keep that up, at least through the wedding.

8. Do you keep your phone, computer, tablets or any other electronic devices by you at all times? Does it ever get turned off?

My iPhone is nearly always by my side. Both because I’m addicted to it, and in case of emergencies. The laptop stays nearby during the days, but my phone is the main thing. It stays on my bedside stand at night, but does get put on silent. It rarely, if ever, gets turned completely off.

9. Who is someone who had a big influence on you while you were growing up and why? What’s the most memorable thing about that person?

My grandmother, my mom’s mother. She had such a big heart. My mother and her didn’t get along, but from age 10 to 15, I got to spend nearly every weekend visiting her. Grandma was disabled, diabetes had taken both feet and she was wheelchair bound. She also battled depression, but she didn’t let any of that stop her from making wonderful memories with me. She died from complications of diabetes when I was 15, and I am still heartbroken for her loss. She taught me so many things, but the most memorable was how to be okay with my own company.

10. If you had a magic lamp to make three wishes with but they could not be wishes to directly benefit you, what wishes would you make and for who? (They could be for the same person or for three different people.)

Ooh! Well I’d love to wish for a nice windfall to ease the financial strains on my fiance, but I suppose that would still benefit me, so I’ll play by the rules. :p I’d wish for a windfall for Tracie and her family, to ease their struggles so that they can enjoy life a little bit more. I’d wish for a way to ease the pain of those I love, all my spoonie framily who are battling each and every day. I’d wish for the perfect care home for my future father in law. To date, we’ve only been able to find temporary solutions. I’d like to be able to give him a permanent home that meets all of this medical needs, while still giving him some independence and providing a happy environment.

 

Whoa! Bernadyn sure had some deep-thinker questions for me! Thank you B for such a great swap :) Y’all be sure to head over to her site to see her answers and check out all of her awesomeness. Happy weekend everybody!

 

Vitriol

vitriol (noun) :

harsh and angry words

1. a sulfate of any various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc); especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate

2. something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially : virulence of feeling or speech

(source Miriam-Webster Dictionary)

I once read a story in one of my favorite books about a girl who threw oil of vitriol on another girl because she was jealous of her beauty. Though the story is simply a side note in a much bigger story, it has always stuck with me. Yesterday, my gal Joules’ post had me thinking of that story again.

I often feel like the words and attitudes of people are like throwing oil of vitriol into each others faces.

Think about it-

For every look that judges when I use the motorized scooters while shopping, for every angry word yelled while driving, for every time we call one another fat, skinny, obese, ugly, fake, plastic, lazy, {insert derogatory phrase here}…

It costs us nothing to sling this vileness from our lips, but the damage it causes others is much like an acidic burn, though we can’t see the scars it leaves. And we each carry our own scars, yet still…the burns fly from our mouths with little to no thought.

I’m just as guilty as the next, though being continuously judged these last few years has had its impact on me. Still I catch myself casting a sideways glance, and hear the unsavory thoughts that pass through my mind. I’ve often said I don’t judge based on appearances, I judge on actions. But who am I to pass judgement? I don’t know another’s story until they share it with me, and even then, who am I to pass judgement?

I firmly believe we must be the change we wish to see in the world. It’s why I started Spoons 4 Spoonies, and why I agreed to be a contributing writer for RheumatoidArthritis.com. How can I complain about the world without doing my part to change what I don’t like?

And so, I am challenging myself to be the change, to be the good I wish to see in others. I’m challenging myself to carry kindness in my heart. I want to be the kind of person who leads with compassion and understanding. I want to be an example for my son, to show him that it’s okay to be a gentle adult in what can be a harsh world.

And maybe, just maybe our kindness will soften the world, even if it’s just a little bit.

What change would you like to be? I challenge you to go after it. BE THAT CHANGE. I’m giving you the power, you can do it.

It’s Monday And I’m Grateful

GratefulMondays

*I’m grateful for five years of love, compassion, support, encouragement, and honesty. I’m grateful for a partner who is my perfect half, the yin to my yang, the balance to my chaos, the arms that hold me up when I want to fall.

*I’m grateful for medical staff who are caring, who listen, who show the appropriate amount of concern for a potentially urgent problem.

*I’m grateful his heart is healthy.

*I’m grateful for friends who can talk to me about our doggies, our crappy over-achieving immune systems, and how to balance treatment options with managing a life.

*I’m grateful for new antibiotics that seem to finally be kicking this massive sinus infection’s wicked booty.

*I’m grateful for insurance that covers the spendier antibiotics required.

*I’m grateful he is strong enough to worry about me. It gives me strength when it’s my turn to worry about him.

*I’m grateful for memories that still ache my heart. They remind me I haven’t become so callous in what is an increasingly negative world.

*I’m grateful for gin rummy, popcorn and chocolate, football on our tv kinda afternoons that help to ease my grief.

*I’m grateful for a son who remembers to text his mama. For a son who still tells me he loves me.

*I’m grateful that I have my son, even while I mourn my daughter.

*I’m grateful for Cathy. I’m grateful for her generosity, her understanding, and for her adopting me into her family.

*I’m grateful for love, in all its many forms, and all the ways it has manifested in my life, especially in the last week or so.

Living Better: Life Lessons Of A Spoonie

LivingBetter

I’ve learned a lot of helpful things in life, like don’t touch the hot pot on the stove and don’t stick forks into electrical outlets. (Yes, I learned those both first hand, and no, I probably won’t share those stories. I was a kid, after all.)

Probably the greatest life lessons have been in the few years since I got sick. There’s not much like having your life turned upside down to help you see things more clearly. Certainly, I didn’t learn everything overnight or all at once. Each lesson has come through trial and error, some pain, some loss, happiness, immense effort, and all the usual emotions that accompany the big lightbulb-over-your-head moments. Because I’m kind and generous and extremely humble, I thought I would share some of these great lessons with you.

Things I’ve Learned Since I Became A Spoonie

*It is not a competition. Pain hurts, yo. And it sucks rocks to be sick. But it’s not about who has what illness and how far progressed it may be. What might be a level four on that stupid pain scale for me, is maybe a two for someone else, and yet an eight for another. It’s not about comparing your husband’s cold to what a day in the life of you is like. It’s recognizing that we all battle something, and we’re in this together, not against each other.

*Find your tribe. There will always be people who don’t understand. Always. So it’s important to make sure you have a good support system to turn to. Whether it’s friends who you’ve known since you were in diapers, or your significant other, or family, or an online community, or any combination there of, find who you can turn to on those days when it’s just really hard. Knowing ahead of time who will answer your call in the middle of the night when the pain is keeping you awake and you just can’t stop thinking is a powerful tool.

*Be gentle with yourself. I know I say this often, but it’s probably the most important lesson. And I’m still learning it, over and over again. It’s hard to reconcile our new selves with the previous picture we all had in our heads of who we would be. We often continue to hold ourselves to the old standards, even though we know they’re no longer feasible. I’m in no way saying to give up on yourself, but be kind in your criticism. Remember that it takes energy to heal, and even if the house looks like a tornado has blown through it, you got up and LIVED today, and that is an accomplishment.

*Cut out toxicity. While stress doesn’t cause our illnesses, it can trigger flare ups. When we’re already fighting so hard to live, don’t you think we should try to make it as easy as possible for ourselves? Obviously the bills and chores will always be there, but there are stressors you can cut out. Let go of, or reduce contact with anyone who isn’t supportive. Cut out social outings that always cause you tension or anxiety. And if you’re struggling seeing where you can make some positive changes, sit down with someone you trust and ask them for their honest opinion. Often they see what we’ve become blind to over the years.

*Learn to accept help. And how to ask for it. Another thing I’m still learning on the daily. But truly, our loved ones WANT to help us. And there are certainly times we can use it. So why do we let our pride get in the way? Tell that pesky pride to shut its mouth, and accept the offer from the bag boy for help loading groceries into the car. Smile and nod when a friend offers to have your kids over for a play date and take the opportunity to nap. Most importantly, learn how to express to your loved ones when you’ve hit your limit, or when you’re close to it. Learn how to communicate what you need, even if it’s as simple as someone fetching your heating pad for you so you can just lay still as you feel a flare up coming. Trust me, they WANT to help you.

*Find joy wherever you can. This may be the most important thing I’ve learned. With a life now overwhelmed with medications, symptoms, the depression that often accompanies chronic illness, doctor appointments, and pain, it’s crucial to find joy and happiness. Smile as the cool fall breeze flutters through your hair. Stop and smell the roses. Pick up a box of crayons and remember what it’s like to be a kid again. Play your music loudly and sing along, not caring who hears you. Get excited about new fuzzy slippers and cute pajamas. Facetime or video chat with loved ones far away so you can see their smiles, even if you can’t be with them. Soak up every single ounce of happiness. It will balance out all the yuck, and from my experience, that’s worth more than all of Midas’ gold.

I hope these life lessons can help you to live better. Life may have it’s obstacles, but it doesn’t have to be so damn difficult. Embrace the fact that you are still LIVING and find ways to make life work for you. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.

We Are Love

Scotty-

Five years ago you took me on a picnic for our first date and forever changed my life. Next year we will stand before our loved ones and say aloud the promises we’ve already made to each other. Each year on our anniversary, I write a letter to you or share our story. This year, I didn’t know what else could be said that I hadn’t already written. And then, this came to me…

Us

We are date nights at Denny’s, sipping hot cocoa and playing cards. We are drives around this city while we shared all there was to know about each other. We are popcorn and M&M’s, movie nights, board games, and take-out Chinese food.

Ian

You are passion and humbleness, and I am your biggest fan.

We are five years of the highest highs and the lowest lows. We are overcoming any obstacle. We are “you do for family” and redefining who our family is. We are celebrating any achievement, because they all matter. We are advocates for your dad and I am the daughter-in-law he loves, even if I did beat him at Scrabble on Father’s Day once.

We are late nights in the hospital, with you always holding my hand. You are the hard worker who makes sure I’m taken care of, no matter the cost. We are battling chronic illness together, continuing to live this life to the fullest.

Ring

You are the man who proposed to me three times, with three different rings, each of them as precious to me as our love.

You are the man who loves my son as if he were your own, and my heart swells to see you two together.

Family(framed)

We are the parents of a teenager, both terrified and excited. We are talks of school and grades, and debating whether he’s ready for his own cell phone. We are a family of our own, the three of us and our doggy.

We are the sum of every moment of these five years, and yet so much more. We are the promise of a future together, the promise that we’ll always have a partner in this life.

UsWedding

You are the man I’ve dreamed of all my life, my prince, the one I thought couldn’t possibly exist until you came and rescued me. You are the one who showed me who I could be, who saw the beauty inside me when no one else did.

We will be the cute little old couple helping each other along in the nursing home. I will try to not run over your toes with my wheelchair as you repeat yourself for the tenth time because I’ve gone completely deaf. We will be playing Scrabble with our grandkids while we tell them how Grandma is a Ducks fan and Grandpa is a Beavers fan and it’s the only thing we’ve ever disagreed on in our entire lives together. Well that, and the fact that Grandma doesn’t like pumpkin or avocado.

HouseDivided

You and your love gives me hope EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The promise of our future gives me a reason to keep fighting.

Here’s to another five years, my love, and many more after that. Here’s to making more memories and traditions. Here’s to a lifetime of love.

I’m Grateful For Negativity

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t feeling very grateful.

GratefulMondays

I’m currently fighting off a nasty sinus infection that resulted from the chemical poisoning a few weeks back. The antibiotics are wreaking havoc on my body, and we had to push back my next infusion, so I’m flaring on top of everything. Clearly, I’m loving life right now.

But then something on Facebook stopped me in my whiny tracks. And I realized something very powerful.

I’m grateful for all the nay-sayers. For everyone who’s ever told me I couldn’t do something. For all the people that told I’m not strong enough, or pretty enough, or thin enough, or just…ENOUGH.

For the doctors who told me it was all in my head, and the ones who told me I’d succumb to this disease and be in a wheelchair by now. For the nurses who were rude and treated me like a hassle.

For the “friends” who left when things got rough, and the people who never gave me a chance.

I’m grateful for all of this negativity, because I chose to thrive in spite of it all.

I am doing it. I’m living. I’m writing. I’m DOING. I’m strong, and pretty, and my man happens to like my curves, so there! I am more than enough.

It’s not all in my head, and I haven’t allowed RA to overtake me. While I might need a cane sometimes, I’m not in a wheelchair yet, and I have no plans for one.

And those friends who left? They made room for the people I really needed in my life. They opened the doors for my framily to walk through, and so I’m grateful for them.

I’m grateful for everyone, everything, that has made my life challenging. Because it all has made me who I am. And who I am is someone who’s not giving up.

Ask Away Friday, The Over-Achiever Edition

A few weeks back, Tamara went all over-achiever on the the questions thing.

AAFOverAchieverEdition

If you don’t know Tamara, you should check her out. Possibly start with that post, you’ll learn lots about her. If you know me at all, you’ll probably think Tamara and I are related or best friends since we were toddlers. I’ve come to the conclusion that our souls must be old friends, much like Dawnie. And Tracie. And Teala.

It’s rare to find someone in life whom your soul recognizes. Or maybe, we’ve all become numb to it in this hustle bustle world full of acquaintances and work-friends and people we know but maybe don’t KNOW. I don’t know how I got so lucky, or if I just opened myself up more, but I’ve definitely been blessed to find a few souls my heart knows already. It’s how I knew Scotty was the one for me, and how Nubs became my brother from another mother. It’s the reason why I would choose Teala to be in our wedding, though we’ve never actually met face to face. Sometimes, you just KNOW.

Anyhow, I know Tamara, and she knows me, at least…she says she doesn’t consider me a stalker and I haven’t scared her away yet, so there’s that. And for all of you who’d like to know me a little better, here you go-

1. What are you wearing?

My version of the spoonie uniform: jammie pants, fun socks, and a t-shirt I borrowed from Scotty’s side of the closet.

2. Ever been in love?

I’m currently head over hills in love with Scotty and have been for the last five years.

3. Ever had a terrible breakup?

The dissolution of my first marriage wasn’t exactly easy. Leaving an abusive relationship was also pretty terrible, though in different ways.

4. How tall are you?

I think I’m right around 5’8″

5. How much do you weigh?

My weight has been an issue for the better part of two decades. So while I won’t tell you the number, I will say that I am holding steady and not gaining weight right now, which is an accomplishment with some of the meds I have to take.

6. Any tattoos?

I have one that I got for my 22nd birthday. It’s a crescent moon and my son’s name. I have a few more that I would like to get one of these days…

7. Any piercings?

At one point I had my bottom lip pierced as well as my navel. At another point I had my tongue pierced. But now I just have my ears, and at that, I rarely wear any earrings.

8. OTP (one true pair, favorite fictional couple)?

Claire and Jamie Fraser, forever and always. Also, Emma and Hook, Snow and Charming, Wesley and Buttercup.

9. Favorite show?

Once Upon A Time, Criminal Minds, The Voice, anything true crime.

10. Favorite bands?

Linkin Park. Elvis. Foo Fighters. Nirvana. Fleetwood Mac. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Meatloaf. Heart.

11. Something you miss?

A life free of pain.

12. Favorite song?

Linkin Park’s “A Place For My Head”

“I watch how the moon sits in the sky in the dark night, shining with the light from the sun. And the sun doesn’t give light to the moon assuming the moon’s gonna owe it one. It makes me think of how you act for me. You do favors and then rapidly you just turn around and start asking me about things you want back from me. I’m sick of the tension, sick of the hunger, sick of you acting like I owe you this. Find another place to feed your greed, while I find a place to rest.”

13. How old are you?

32

14. Zodiac sign?

I’m a Leo. And yes, I’m just as stubborn and proud as all the descriptions say I should be.

15. Quality you look for in a partner?

Honesty. Trust. Passion. A good heart. A great smile. Patience.

16. Favorite Quote?

LeoBuscaglia

17. Favorite actor?

Johnny Depp. Robin Williams. Kirsten Vangsness. Audrey Hepburn. Will Ferrell. Mel Brooks. Tim Curry. Gene Wilder. Lucy Ball.

18. Favorite color?

Teal.Turquoise.Aqua. That beautiful range between blue and green.

19. Loud music or soft?

That depends on my mood. There are times I need it loud to drown out the voices in my mind. There are times I need it soft to soothe the pain away.

20. Where do you go when you’re sad?

(I also love Scarlet’s answer.)

I often go to my writing. Whether it’s a journal, an open letter, or my blog, writing helps me talk through what I’m feeling, and to process it so I can heal.

21. How long does it take you to shower?

That depends. If it’s a run of the mill day, about 10 minutes. If it’s a high pain day, it can take up to 20 minutes, or it doesn’t happen at all. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles.

22. How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

Assuming I’m staying home, about 30 minutes start to finish. If I have to get dressed in people clothes for an appointment, it can take closer to an hour.

23. Ever been in a physical fight?

None I’d like to remember.

24. Turn on?

Eyes that light up when he smiles. When he reaches over and caresses my hand. A text message that says he misses me while he’s at work. Hands that try to massage my pain away. That smile that says he’s still madly in love with me.

25. Turn off?

Dishonesty. Mistrust. Disrespect.

26. The reason I started blogging?

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. Blogging seemed like a place to find my words, my path. Who knew it would actually lead to those dreams coming true?

27. Fears?

Dying before I’ve lived. Losing my son. Losing Scotty. That I’ll be forgotten.

28. Last thing that made you cry?

A conversation with my younger sister.

29. Last time you said you loved someone?

About 20 minutes ago, via text.

30. Meaning behind the name of your blog?

It started as a Twitter handle to describe what I thought was a mental breakdown. It morphed into me sharing my stories of pain, mental illness, and loss- my path to crazy, and how I live.

31. Last book you read?

I just finished a number of ebooks that were so memorable I can’t think of their titles. For shame.

32. The book you’re currently reading?

Nothing at this moment, but I’m looking…

33. Last show you watched?

I’m currently watching a Wicked Attraction marathon on Discovery.

34. Last person you talked to?

Scotty

35. The relationship between you and the person you last texted?

He’s the love of my life.

36. Favorite food?

The edible kind. Ha! Truly though. I love comfort food. Pasta, potatoes, bread, soups and stews. Breakfast food. Desserts. Spicy food.

37. Place you want to visit?

Europe. The corner of Canada where K &S are. Florida. Texas. The Eastern seaboard. Scotland and Ireland.

38. Last place you were?

Besides home? My doctor’s office.

39. Do you have a crush?

The actor who plays Jamie Fraser in the Outlander series on Starz. Which I can’t watch because Starz refuses to put it on Hulu. Jerks. But him? He’s pretty dreamy.

40. Last time you kissed someone?

This morning. I kissed Scotty before he headed off to work.

41. Last time you were insulted?

Here.

42. Favorite flavor of sweet?

Chocolate.

43. What instruments do you play?

I don’t play any. I like to pretend I can sing.

44. Favorite piece of jewelry?

My engagement rings. My spoon necklace. A bracelet from Katie. The turquoise earrings that were Scotty’s first gift to me.

45. Last sport you played?

Ha! Ha! Ha!

46. Last song you sang?

Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood

47. Favorite chat up line?

From Scotty: “Are you in a construction zone? Cuz you’re double fine!”

48. Have you ever used it?

Not on my life!

49. Last time you hung out with anyone?

Besides Scotty? I got to visit with Nolan (aka Nubs) and Courtney at Scotty’s gig last weekend.

50. Who should answer these questions next?

Anyone who feels like it. Some are fun, some are kinda serious. Either way, I’d love to know more about YOU.

Not A Flare, But Chemical Poisoning

I had to go to the ER last week.

For the record, I despise having to go to the hospital. I hate when my symptoms get to the point where they are so out of control, I can no longer cope. I hate fearing I will be judged by the staff when they see my chart, I hate those uncomfortable beds, I hate worrying Scotty.

But I had to go.

Thursday afternoon I took my dog out for a walk and saw a notice had been posted to our door. The property managers were going to be coming Friday to spray for the ants we asked them to deal with back in April. Fantastic. I called our onsite lady to see if we could reschedule as I had a lab appointment and hadn’t had time to make arrangements. She informed me that they had already sprayed outside that afternoon, and no we couldn’t reschedule.

At the time I didn’t think much about it. I had dinner and tried to figure out how to rearrange my Friday as I enjoyed the cool breeze coming in through my front window. After dinner, I went to walk my dog again. I thought it smelled funny outside our door, but didn’t pay it much mind. Halfway through our walk, I started feeling dizzy and lightheaded. My chest constricted and I gasped for breath. My little wonder dog looked up at me and took off for home, getting me back just in time to collapse on my couch. I cursed what I thought was a flare coming, and tried to take it easy. When I started feeling queasy, I knew I needed to check in with my doctor.

I called our answering service, and the on call doctor called me right back. We talked about my symptoms and thought maybe I was coming down with the flu and it had triggered a flare. We agreed I would check in with the nurse the next morning when I went in for labs. As we hung up, she urged me to go to the ER if anything got worse. We didn’t want to risk pleurisy or pneumonia if my breathing got too labored for too long.

Scotty came home from band practice and we talked about how I was feeling. Since I wasn’t feeling any better, we called it an early night and off to bed I went. I awoke around 2:oo am sick to my stomach, gasping for breath, and with a metallic taste in my mouth. I tried drinking some Gatorade, but it tasted terrible. After much trepidation, I woke up Scotty and told him something was wrong.

While we don’t normally turn to Dr. Google, he did look up the metallic taste thing, as it was something I’ve never experienced before. One of the first items listed was chemical poisoning.

And then it all clicked.

The only thing I had been exposed to that day, was whatever they had sprayed outside our apartment. We followed what Dr. Google suggested and called Poison Control. Who promptly ordered us off to the hospital.

Fortunately, my exposure was minimal and the damage was minimal. I’m slowly feeling better each day (though now I think I’m getting a cold, drat!), and there were no sores in my mouth or throat from inhaling the fumes. We got orders from the doctor to definitely NOT let them to spray inside the apartment, and so any further exposure was averted.

I’m telling you all about this because it was something that completely caught us unawares. Neither Scotty or our dog were affected. None of the neighbors had any issues. A few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have had any response beyond wrinkling my nose at the smell.

We spoonies are often warned about germs and viruses and all the ways we can lower our exposure to ensure our compromised immune systems have the best chance. In the last three years of walking this path, not once has anyone warned me that I may be more sensitive to things like insecticides or cleaners. I had no idea that it was something I needed to watch out for.

Now I know. And hopefully you do, too.

Living Better: A Meal Plan

LivingBetter

A while back, I promised Rabia that if she posted her meal plan, I would post mine.

Then life happened and I almost forgot…until I started brainstorming meal ideas for October. See, in our house, we do big shopping once a month, at pay day, and try to make big meals that can serve for a few days to stretch our budget to the max. I do the meal planning, scour the internet and paper ads for coupons, and make the master list. Then Scotty takes me shopping and helps me put it all together.

Even though it sounds like a lot of work, and shopping day almost always knocks me on my butt, doing it this way actually saves me a lot of work and energy. With cooking large batches, Scotty always has leftovers for his lunches, and easy things to pull together for dinner if I’m not up to cooking.

So here are a few ideas we’re looking at for October. Note the extensive use of my crockpot :) It truly is my lifesaver!

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing served with Roasted Carrots

Garlic Pot Roast and Veggies served with Fresh Dinner Rolls

Crockpot Cashew Chicken served over Rice

Crockpot Loaded Potato Soup served in Bread Bowls

Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole served with Cinnamon Rolls (I’m thinking the leftovers from the casserole could be used to make breakfast burritos to freeze. Fingers crossed!)

I’ll also be doing a batch of Taco Chicken in the crockpot. We’ll freeze half to use later in the month, and use it for burrito bowls, tacos, enchiladas, and/or quesadillas.

What’s on your menu? Got any recipes you’d like to share with me?

 

**”Living Better” is a new Saturday series here. You’ll be able to find recipes/meal plans, tips and shortcuts to make life a little easier, as well as stories from fellow bloggers/writers on how they’re living better. If you’d like to submit a guest post for this series, please email me at becominneurotic(at)gmail(dot)com.