Category Archives: Random or philosophical thoughts

The current health debate

No, not THAT health debate…  I’m talking about one of a more personal nature.  The one that involves my gall bladder that may or may not be failing me and, more importantly, what to do about it.  A couple of weeks ago I thought I had a touch of food poisoning – and I blamed the fry sauce in the back of the refrigerator that didn’t have an expiration date I’d eaten the night before.  But a week later after a very rich dinner with heavy cream sauce – oh so yummy! – I had what can only be described as some sort of attack.

This attack was not pretty and involved hours and hours of vomiting – first the projectile kind followed by what happens when there is nothing left to come up.  This by itself is bad – because you see, I. DO. NOT. VOMIT.  Not even once when I was pregnant – either time!  And I can tell you the exact dates of the last two times I had done so previous to this new development in my life.  (Family reunion 2008 and an unfortunate night of drinking circa Halloween 1999)  I’m a master at NOT vomiting…  But not this night!  On top of that horror, I had such excruciating abdominal pain I was crying like a small child who’d just had her stomach run over by a MAC truck and wanted her mommy.  It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt – and remember I just had a baby and felt every bit of it because my epidural failed.  This was worse – way worse.  I couldn’t stand up straight because the pain in my stomach was so bad.  And I couldn’t take a deep breath for HOURS because the pain radiated up into my back.  All total, I suffered for about 20 hours before the pain was gone.  After talking to my mom the nurse and extensive Google searches by my hubby (who needs doctors for diagnosis these days anyway?!) we concluded it is most likely my gall bladder.

Now comes the debate.  The first thing out of EVERYONE’S mouth are things like “oh, easy surgery” or “I had mine removed after my second pregnancy, too”, etc.  Is it just me that thinks removing an entire organ – one that I actually use everyday unlike my appendix – is a bit on the drastic side?  Not to mention the permanent side!  When I started thinking about it, it’s kind of creepy how everyone just assumes I’m going to have surgery to remove it.  Like that is the only option.  Twilight zone-ish creepy even!  I mean, I still have my tonsils and have never had surgery.  Never.  This cannot be taken back people! 

So I Googled some more on the subject this time down the alternative medicine and treatments road.  Since that is my nature after all…  And what I found was pretty interesting.  Both the traditional medical sites as well as the natural healing ones agree that the cause of gall stones is a concentration of cholesterol that builds up and crystalizes.  Which means it is yet another side effect of the American Diet of processed foods.  (Oh God, don’t get her started…)  Okay, so I went further down the rabbit hole.  Are there alternatives to surgery is really what I wanted to know.  Well, that and how specifically do I avoid another attack!  I found a very compelling quote (which I’m paraphrasing because now I can’t find it again…) Gall stones and the accompanying gall bladder attack are caused by the way we eat.  So removing the essential organ which contributes to the digestive process is the equivalent to removing the engine from your car just because you put the wrong gas in it and it stopped on the side of the road.

WOW… that stopped me in my tracks – pun intended – and appealed very deeply to the hippie, naturalist, tree hugger I am at my core.  The irony is not lost on me that this is probably the years of High Fructose Corn Syrup and fast food consumption coming back to haunt me…  And part of me thinks it might be easier to stay on the healthy eating soap box if the consequence of eating crap is a gallbladder attack.  Drastic, yes but very persuasive all the same.

So now comes the dilemma… I’m 4.5 weeks into my 6 week maternity leave already.  IF this is really a problem with my gall bladder AND I decide to treat it surgically, I’m looking at another week of recovery time.  I’m hoping if I can sell it as a complication of my pregnancy (which many people say it is) they will simply extend my leave and I’ll get an additional week off to spend with my newborn and still get paid for it under short term disability.  (That is appealing!)  But, if I decide to treat it naturally with a detox cleanse to rid my organ of the crap that is making it not function properly – that will take two weeks and I’ll be back to work.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll then be subject to taking an additional two weeks off before STD kicks in again.  But just because it is financially convenient to do as part of my leave, does that make it the right decision for me and my body?  UGH! And what if the claims of all the natural remedy people saying you can reverse the damage and keep your organ are just so they can sell me their products?  Decisions decisions….

For now, I’m treading both paths until the last possible minute when I have to commit to one or the other.  I’m seeing my doctor this week for an ultrasound to figure out if it really IS a classic case of gall stones while I start my detox – which I am overdue for anyway.  Part of me whispers ‘this is a cop-out’ because as long as I’m still in the discovery phase I can hold off making the official decision.  (But hey, knowing is half the battle, as my AA friends say, right?)  While another part wonders if I have really diagnosed myself properly – especially considering the one staple in my diet for the past week has been ice cold whole milk which is supposed to be the biggest trigger for a gall bladder attack according to my doctor and I’ve been fine.  I’m not even putting the little tidbit of ‘what else could it be’ into the sunlight at this point.  Nope, just not going there!  Stay tuned… it is sure to be as heated a debate as what they’ve got going on in the Senate right now only on a much more intimate level…


My new favorite quote

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

A very dear cousin sent me this quote today and said when she saw it she thought of me. Indeed it very accurately sums up my philosophy in life – well, that is if I had ever actually taken the time to DEFINE a philosophy for my life. More accurately perhaps is that it sums up how I act. I’m always going to be the friend who tells you exactly how I feel about {insert topic, whatever it is we happen to be talking about}. And I won’t lie if, yes, those pants make your ass look fat. If you don’t want to hear the honest answer, don’t ask the question. I don’t ever apologize for being outspoken and opinionated because I’ve learned exactly what this quote says – those people in my life who matter never mind that I say what I think and most of the time I am endeared to them more because of this quality. The converse is also true – those that do mind don’t matter to me because anyone not willing to allow others to have an opinion AND FREELY EXPRESS IT shouldn’t be allowed the same consideration to express their own, or in the very least have anyone give a shit what their opinion is since they won’t listen to what others have to say either. I can’t tell you how free and easy living life this way is or how uncomplicated life becomes. I pity those who care more about what other people say or think about them than just being themselves. What a time and energy waster that is! So, here’s to being who you are and saying what you feel – WHATEVER THAT IS – and thanks Yayma for the great quote!


Social Experiment – in Review

The long anticipation is over… because I’m assuming at least one person who reads this blog has been waiting anxiously for my follow-up posting about my little social experiment! Here’s a synopsis of what’s going on:

First the big news: After 7 years and at the ripe old age of 37, I am having another baby.

For those who don’t know me or my reproductive history, an explanation is in order so the rest of the experiment makes more sense. I have a single daughter, who will be 8 in the fall. When my husband and I conceived her, it was PURELY on accident-as in UNPLANNED-as in CAREER RUINING-as in COMPLETELY DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING! We had been married 7 years so it wasn’t scandalous but for me it was life altering. Among the hordes of women surrounding me pining away for motherhood or basking in its glow, I was an island of “I don’t really want to be a Mom” that most people couldn’t understand – and I was practically 30 already so figured I was getting out of that one without really ever having to make a scene about it. Of course, looking back on it, I would never change it and I am glad it happened the way it did because otherwise I would have totally missed out. BUT STILL, I am a very unconventional type of Mom. One who works full time as a professional and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. (Did I mention I live in Utah?) AND, on top of that, was COMPLETELY content with only having the one and spoiling the ever-living-shit out of her because that’s what I had always wanted as the oldest of 4 children growing up. (Of course, I wouldn’t trade my siblings either!)

Now you have the history … fast forward to about 2 years ago. It was about the time I lost my maternal grandfather and started thinking about mortality and how I, myself, would face losing a parent when the time comes. The most comforting thing I had to fall back on was the fact that I had aforementioned siblings to handle it together. Which of course made me start thinking about my beloved daughter who, because of my decisions, wouldn’t have that when she lost us. So, we started talking. Now my husband is just like me – sometimes almost frighteningly so – so we had always been in TOTAL agreement on the size of our family. When I broached the subject assuming a rebuff and some comment about had I lost my mind thinking to start all over again, he surprised me that he’d also been thinking that he would be the end of his family name if he didn’t have a son and all other such nonsense that we’d never cared about before now. (Perhaps we had finally grown up? Nah!)

About six months later we made the decision to pull out my IUD (sorry, I’m the daughter of a nurse so if discussing such delicate matters as choice of contraception bothers you, consider yourself forewarned now…) I’ve already mentioned I come from a large family – it is also the tight-knit type of family where every time my brother and his wife decided to conceive a child, we ALL knew about it and knew when they started and practically the day the pee-stick turned pink proclaiming the impending birth. HOWEVER, that is so not me so we told not a single soul. (Ok, there were 2 or 3 VERY VERY special people in my life who might have known we were trying but I don’t want people to feel bad!) Which turned out to be the best decision we ever made because the next 18 months were an emotional roller coaster of anticipation and horror when each month it didn’t happen for us. Of course, all I could think about was the irony of GETTING KNOCKED UP ON ACCIDENT vs the experience of “trying” to conceive again and being foiled. We had pretty much given up. AND I had reverted to my previous selfish ways – and was totally into myself having lost a ton of weight and getting hooked on running – and was over the whole thing of having another baby.

And THAT was when it happened…

When we stopped “trying” and just “did it” whenever we felt like it and didn’t care about getting pregnant (and truth be told, hoped now that it wouldn’t in part of my mind!) it just sort of happened … like magic almost. (Girls, if you’ve always just listened to your mothers tell you that IT ONLY TAKES ONCE when telling you to wait, it is horse shit! There is such a tiny little window each month when it actually can happen… I had spent years and years preventing birth and then was shocked at finding out just how hard it is to actually make it happen! And now that it has happened – with all the charting and tracking and equally stupid horseshit that goes into it, I STILL don’t know how it happened because we totally blew “the window” that month!)

The social experiment itself consisted of watching people’s reactions to the news and watching the patterns of how and where it spread on its own. My family was completely shocked… some even asking me if I was kidding (like I would kid about something like this!) That is how convincing we had been for years that one was enough and we were D O N E – DONE. Some people were amazed we had been trying and hadn’t told anyone (why is the concept of keeping your private life private so foreign to some?) The couple of people I would classify as “non-childbearing on purpose” in my life actually stopped and asked me if this was happy news or not before offering their congratulations (that was so me 10 years ago and made me feel like despite everything I was still sane!) Interestingly enough, the news did not travel as far as I expected such juicy gossip to spread in my neighborhood social circle (and for this I love them all for it!) I told a couple of closest friends fairly early and asked they not share it. Then, at about 10 weeks, I spilled it to my Facebook crowd and even a couple of weeks later when we were all gathered for book club there were some who were hearing it for the first time. Now I am not naïve enough to discount that some may have known but concealed their prior knowledge well and were able to pull off appropriate reactions but in my gut I think that was the exception rather than the rule.

So, in short, my social experiment proved my theory wrong about the ability of women to keep exciting news to themselves. It almost renewed some of my faith in humanity! And, it further endeared to me my little crowd of women with whom for some of them the only thing we have in common is our love of reading. I will also say I am happy some of my cynical nature was proven wrong because honestly I can’t always be right about the human experience, right?

So, embark with me on the journey of pregnancy – soon to be chronicled in vivid detail here…


Off the Wagon and noteworthy sightings

They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step… After cold-turkey and the ensuing Blackberry withdrawals from my very real habit, I have fallen off the wagon and have my very own little black beauty – I love eBay… – that I will never have to give back to an employer. The best thing is that being removed from the habit for a while I was able to break the Pavlovian cycle of addiction so far as I can tell. Now, isn’t that what all addicts say? My own version of ‘I can handle it’, I suppose. My rationalization seems sound. I no longer have a job where I am required to monitor email 24/7/365 for notifications of system problems and can actually leave my work AT work where it belongs minus the few on-call shifts I have per month. Thus, my mentality about my Blackberry seems much more sane and grounded. I can go hours without pulling the thing off my hip and some nights it stays in my purse where I don’t think a thing of it unless it rings. An addiction broken and a new and hopefully non-precarious balance has been erected. I feel so proud of myself! Of course, now I covet the iPhone and am waiting patiently until it is widely available on my wireless carrier of choice…. Ah, the irony!

On another note, I saw the funniest bumper-sticker I have seen in a very long time yesterday on my commute home. Some background is probably in order so the irony isn’t lost on the crowd…. Up until about 3 years ago I had a seriously bad-ass Jeep Wrangler. It was lifted and I was always getting “fix-it” tickets because the tires stuck out too far and I refused to ruin it with sissy mudflaps. I had personalized license plates that read 4X4GIRL and the requisiteJeeperbumper sticker that reads “It’s a Jeep thing… you wouldn’t understand.” I dare you to find a Jeep that doesn’t have that saying posted on it somewhere and you’ll have a pretty hard time of it. So, there’s the setup. I’m driving home and I see this huge sticker that goes the entire width of the rear window of this stock white Chevy pickup and it says…..

“I got your Jeep thing… and now it hurts when I pee!!”

OMG it still makes me laugh! Of course, if I still owned my beloved Jeep I could never admit to appreciating this sticker but… I don’t! So kudos to the creator because that is some seriously funny shit!


Universal forces and writing

It is true what they say: once you decide to do something the universe will line things up for you. “Your wish is my command.” I mentioned earlier that I have committed to writing a novel (or at least attempting one!) as part of the National Novel Writing Month program. And I’m working on a plot outline and some characters beforehand so that I have at least half a chance of it all working out. Some of the ideas are coming together nicely and some I am struggling with a bit more than others. Then along comes help from the most unlikely of places. I have a friend in the book club who wrote a book with her husband and asked me to be one of the first readers and give feedback. The focus group of the three of us asked to do this task met last night to discuss the book – what worked, what didn’t, what we thought, etc. It was amazing how the 5 of us in a room breaking down a book and character development and all the other things we talked about gave me insight into what pieces I am missing in my own attempt at creativity. And then, this little idea that came up at book club about starting a writing group came full circle and we decided that we were going to really do it! I’m taking it on to organize it since that’s one of the things I do well – organize. Now I will have a chance to actually write for the sake of writing and have a space to get feedback and grow in my skills. Hell, maybe I’ll become some insanely popular writer and can kiss my “day job” goodbye? Nah, I think it fits my crazy life better if I just have yet another thing that I do… System engineer, project manager, photographer, Realtor, writer and don’t forget wife and mother. It is insanity but I can’t ignore that the pieces are all lining up like it was all meant to be and am just going to hold on for the ride!


She doesn’t share well with others

Nope, never have, never will. Is it bad for me to admit this? Does it make me a bad person? I find it actually refreshing to be truthful without sugarcoating the bullshit. I’ve always known this tidbit about myself AND others are always trying to make me feel bad about it…. Bottom line is, I never lend out things because no one takes care of my things as well as I do. For instance; I never never lend out hardback books and paperbacks very rarely…. Pretty much only if I don’t care about not seeing it again, which is my assumption at time of lending. For the longest time I kept my kernel of nastiness hidden away and would pretend I couldn’t find things that people had an interest in or “forget” to bring things until the interest waned. But you know what, I wasn’t kidding anyone. Last weekend my sister and I were at a shopping opportunity together with some of my neighbors. Someone suggested that I buy something and then she could borrow it. Big dilema… But, before I could come out with any kind of excuse, out blurts my sister “oh, she doesn’t share!” Well, there you have it folks… SHE DOESN’T SHARE! In that moment I felt as if the weight of years of hiding the real me had been lifted off me. The sun shone just a little brighter, the air was just a bit easier to breath. The best thing is the freedom to have it out there for everyone to know about me. Almost as good was learning that my fabulous neighbor doesn’t share either. We are so much a like it is kind of frightening! (Ace, you make me feel better about being myself when you are near…) Want to know THE FUNNIEST thing about this phenomena of my not sharing and who put it out there for the universe to finally know, the IRONY of the whole thing? One of my earliest memories is of my sister – who as a child even my mother labeled a nightmare – being told by our mother that if she didn’t put her toys away they would get thrown in the garbage. To which my sister smugly smiled and replied, “that’s OK, they aren’t mine!” Bet you can guess who’s toys they WERE; and perhaps now we know just when I determined that sharing things might have negative connotations. Ironic, isn’t it? (Love you Sister – for always knowing the truth about me and loving me anyway!)


War

Had an interesting conversation tonight at the neighborhood book club…. We were discussing “The Book Thief” which is a novel about Germany during WWII. Inevitably, the conversation turned to that of war. Of course, being surrounded by flaming red Republicans, most everyone was saying that it was “right” of America to take over and kick butt then as well as now. I tried (like HELL) to bite my tongue but in the end I couldn’t help but point out that no matter our reasoning for going and invading Iraq – which I personally opposed from the very beginning – we always go too far. It isn’t enough to simply rid a country of a leader – be it Hitler or Saddam Hussein – who was terrorizing his people. No, we have to overstay our welcome and try to force the culture to adopting our way of life. Which, IMO, is exactly where we went wrong in Iraq. Fundamentally, we will never “win” there, because our criteria for a job well done is to have their culture completely converted to the American way of life – which is why they are on the brink or knee-deep in a civil war depending on the specific region. At what point does it all become pointless and not worth the cost of the lives of Americans or Iraqi’s? And at what point does the world begin to view our leader(s) as they did Hitler or Hussein? Bottom line, the Germans in the early 19th century thought that Hitler was a great leader and it was only slowly over time that he got to the insanity of the Holocaust. What makes us different now as we watch our civil liberties slowly whittled away and told it is for our own good to “protect” us?


Being real

So last weekend, I shaved my cousin’s head. Nothing special about that, right? Except my cousin is a girl who has beautiful hair and has always identified herself with her hair. The last week has been such a philosophical wake-up call for me as an observer watching her deal with both her adjusting to it and other people’s reactions to it. It is amazing how many people judged or confronted her and wanted to know “what were you thinking!?”. The reasoning behind her actions are nothing more than that it scared her and so she thought that if she did it she could then confront anything in her life because nothing would be as frightening as shaving off all her hair. So, I took some photos of her for “before” since it had been a long time since she’d had any photos done and had been asking me to get her into my little studio forever. And then we shaved her head and took some more “after” photos. Now granted, it was very easy for me to say “what the hell, just do it!” because it wasn’t my hair we were talking about. But, still, I think that it IS just hair – which will grow back after all…. The amazing thing has been who reacted poorly and who reacted well to the new her. People she doesn’t know or has just met at her new job are supportive and love it. But people in her family and in her life for 20+ years are saying things like they can’t be proud of her anymore and that they don’t want to see her until it grows back. Come on people, it isn’t like she tattooed some mural on her face or even her head. And how would they feel if she had secretly been dealing with some cancer that was the cause of her hair loss but that she didn’t want to freak people out? So, we were talking today and we came to the conclusion that most people just aren’t very real. How many people – women especially – spend hundreds of dollars a year, nay thousands, to take care of their hair. From visits to the salon to hair care products to accessories, everything is about looking good. But, if you take the hair away there is nothing to hide behind and no one is comfortable with that. Go a little further… what if we as people put as much energy into taking care of our bodies instead of eating processed foods and artificial sweeteners that make us sick and fat and in need of more and more medicines that make us more and more sick with their side effects. What if it was more important how healthy we were both on the inside and the out than how we looked or acted or came across to other people? And what if we didn’t think it was necessary to impose our own judgements on others and just let people be who and what they wanted no matter what that looked like? Sounds like an interesting world to live in, doesn’t it? Here’s one of my long-time philosophies: Life is more meaningful when it is based on what you want and not what others expect from you.

Love

The ever elusive and ever popular sentiment that makes the world go around… What is it about ‘Love’ that has everyone so crazy? I am surrounded by people everyday who are either newly in love, struggling to maintain love, lamenting the loss of love, resigning that they may never find love, wishing those they loved would somehow change to suit them better, dissolving the legal bonds of love, and dreaming of a love they hope to find someday when they are grown. Amid all this chaos, there stands an island where I exist in bliss with my soul-mate (who also happens to be my husband… lucky me!). He is the force behind my world turning; he is the warmth of the sun in my world; he is the half of me without whom I cannot exist. He is the first person I want to see in the morning and the last I want to talk to before bed; the first I want to share news with. He is my best friend and my greatest support and I thank the Universe every time I think about how random it was that we came together. The odds were so stacked against our ever meeting and yet we found each other and never looked back. We fit so naturally together in our thoughts and beliefs from the first moments together that only come from lifetimes spent together in previous lives. My greatest hope is that our daughter finds a love as great when she is grown and then spends as many lifetimes as I know we have spent together with hers. Honey, I am truly honored to be your wife, in this life and in all others, and I would cease to exist without you….


Ok, let’s get serious

Ok, so I don’t want my online presence to feel or sound like I’m some raving lunatic. I blame my ranting and hostile initial posts on the fact that Mercury has been in retrograde and everyone is a bit off when that happens. So, here’s something I’ve been contemplating a bit lately. Is it or is it not necessary to self-analyze yourself in order to become enlightened? There are several people in my life who have conflicting opinions on this subject. My husband is on the side who thinks that we don’t need to analyze ourselves in order to be self-aware and enlightened. And he doesn’t indulge in the self-analysis. He is very in touch with the oneness of the Universe and has a very enlightened sense of being. One of my best friends believes that there’s a bit of a need but that we shouldn’t be so absorbed that we become obsessed in the analysis and therefore never progress past the point of analysis to actual enlightenment. She is very down-to-earth and things that come out of her mouth stop me in my tracks with their truthfulness and insight. My other friend is addicted to self-analysis and self-help in every form there is. He finds all the answers and has even realized that all the different experts have the exact same answers, simply wrapped in different packaging to appeal to different people. So, what is the truth? I guess I am sort of a fence-sitter on the subject. I was a debater and love to look at all sides of an idea or argument so self-analysis appeals to me on that level. However, there are certain things that I know in my heart and believe that I didn’t have to go through any such analysis to know and believe. So, is the need for self-analysis as a tool to progress our souls to enlightenment a prerequisite or does the answer change for each individual? Is it like the self-help answers to the meaning of life that are Universal Truths just wrapped in different packaging? I know this, the answers are out there for us all to find and once we do it may not matter how we got there or what path led us to enlightenment, simply that we got there.


Birth of a blog

And so it begins… as with all journeys there must be a beginning so there can be a middle and an ending and thus so it is and will be with my little blogspot. I have always wished I could have a crystal ball or a fairy godmother to tell me my future that wasn’t from the “hindsight” perspective. Maybe being able to post my journey and random thoughts as I travel it to the cyber-space universe will show a pattern to life? Or maybe it will just give me more crazy ideas for book plots that may or may not ever be written in my lifetime? Or maybe others will gain an insight on the window of my crazy soul by being allowed to witness my inner dialogue? For whatever reason you find yourself, here… enjoy. I will rant and I will rave and I will tell you all the things that I find to amuse myself as we travel together. And, let this be a warning that I will not hold back on the language I feel appropriate to the circumstances of life. Sometimes it will merely be PG-13 and others it may just not be suitable for all audiences…. because you’re going to get me and woah, careful what you wish for folks! You may occassionally find tidbits of “family” life thrown in for a bit of seasoning but if you came here for cutsie family photos and yet another “look at how cute my kids and how great a life we have” blog then you’ve come to the wrong place. Welcome and hold on tight!