Yes! I’m still around!

Yes! I’m still around!

It’s been a while since my last post so I thought I’d do a quick update on where things are at! The last year has brought a lot of changes. My husband retired from the military and is now learning to weld. We left Wyoming and are back on the east coast for the first time in 20(!) years. I’m still writing and recently started sketching and painting which I’m having a lot of fun with!

Of course it’s birds!

I’ve had a some “firsts” since we came to Maryland. Including my first beer! Which, I know. I’m in my 30’s and had never had a beer? My long-term plan was to have my first beer at a pub in Ireland. I’m glad I didn’t wait because it turns out I really don’t like beer. I tried a couple of different homebrews that everyone else thought were great but I just didn’t like the yeasty taste they all shared. I did discover that I like mead though! As for Ireland, I’ll just have to find something else to try!

I went to my first renfair at the ‘Maryland Renaissance Festival’. I even went in traditional garb! I watched ‘Macbeth in 20 minutes or less’, ate a giant turkey leg, found some great ‘wares and generally just had an amazing time! I can’t wait until it comes back this year.

All in all, I’m settling in to all the changes. I miss owning a home, but the apartment is a lot easier to keep up after. I miss the mountains and having Rocky Mountain National Park in our backyard, but there are plenty of mountains here too. Not to mention the ocean, which I’ve missed so, so much after nearly 20 years land-locked. I miss the birds that came to my feeders in Wyoming, one crow in particular who would announce his presence if there was no food out for him! Still, I’ve set up a feeder here on the balcony and have been seeing so many new birds! There is still so much to see and do while we’re here. Washington D.C. is down the road, there are some amazing libraries here, the Baltimore Zoo and Aquarium. Some fantastic parks and birdwatching spots. I’m looking forward to taking advantage of this part of the country until our next great adventure.

 

 

 

Spending time with shared experiences

Spending time with shared experiences

Carrie Fisher

Yesterday while getting some stuff done around the house I listened the Carrie Fisher’s “Shockaholic”. I really enjoyed the whole thing but the first three chapters (more prominent in Ch. 2 &3) focus on her experiences with ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy or “Shock Therapy”). As someone who has had ECT in the past I’m always looking for relatable stories about something that was so helpful for me and is still so misunderstood. Carrie Fisher did not disappoint.

She talks about how she got to the point where something like ECT seemed like an acceptable option (when at one time she never, ever would have considered it). She talks about the experience of the procedures and the after effects. She even adds in a bit of history (other than the well known facts of it being used as punishment).

If you’re interested in knowing more about the process on a personal level or have experienced it yourself I highly recommend “Shockaholic”. I also recommend sticking around for the rest of the book. Carrie Fisher was an amazing woman and writer. I also really enjoyed her narration (should you also choose the audio version).

(That’s all! Just a quick post while it’s fresh in my head. )

Reflecting Back & Looking Forward

Reflecting Back & Looking Forward

2016 was different for all of us. Some good, some bad and some a healthy mix of both. For me, it was the latter. I can’t knock it too much though because something amazing happened for me this year. Something I didn’t know was possible.

I started and completed a DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) program. Something I wish I’d had access to years ago. It brought me out of a place of constant depression and anxiety, a place where my past was present in every day. Despite years of being told that I would never feel right until I faced my past, lived in it and processed it I’ve learned that that way of thinking was dragging me down. I won’t say that the past is not important. I won’t say that it shouldn’t be faced. Everyone is different and has different ways of coping. For me putting more focus on how to get through the day-to-day symptoms and not so much on what brought them here has given me a sort of freedom. I ended the three month program about a month ago. I still have work to do (and that’s just what it is – lot of hard work). As someone who earlier this year felt that things would never change, could never change I’m so glad to be putting that work in.

For a long time I didn’t bother with making goals. I knew I’d fail every time, and I dreaded the disappointment inside that would follow. I’m feeling more, for lack of a better word, able these days. I’ve made some goals for the new year.

  • Turn my writing inward. I don’t know if I can completely leave fiction writing behind but I would like to put more focus on self-exploration with my writing.
  • Make more effort/ time for self-care. To include eating better and getting back to regular exercise. I used to jog and I loved doing it. I stopped when I developed chronic pain. When I was both jogging and eating well both my mood and body felt so much better!
  • More books!! I definitely want to fit in more books this year. I read kind of slowly and always wish I was able to consume more fictional awesomeness.
  • Grow out my pixie cut. Okay – probably a silly goal but I’ve tried three or four times in the past and just get frustrated and shorten it back up. This year I shall be victorious!

Have you got any goals for this year? Or this month or week? Even if it’s just for today. Maybe to get dressed or make sure that you drink enough water. Whatever your goals or plans please be kind to yourself. I know that on some days that’s the hardest goal to achieve.

Welcome to your 36th year! Please leave all dairy behind.

Welcome to your 36th year! Please leave all dairy behind.

It really seemed as cut and dry as the title suggests. I turned thirty-six at the end of October and it was around that time that I started to notice that eating had become less of a necessary, sometimes enjoyable thing and more of an “Oh god, do I really have to?”. Nearly every time I put food in my mouth my body reacted with itching, flushed face, coughing, etc. Generally within twenty minutes of the first bite. I started keeping track of what I was eating versus symptoms and it didn’t take too long to realize that my body had decided that dairy was the enemy.

My first thought? “Fuck!” My second? “Shit!”Like most people the thought of giving up dairy (or any major food type) seemed literally impossible. No more milk? No more cheese? No more ice cream?! Nevermind the types of packaged foods that have some measure of dairy in them. Casein. Whey. Things I really never paid attention to were now the secret undercover enemy. I became that person at the grocery store who checks every label before adding something to their cart. I also started pointing excitedly to things while telling my husband “Hey! Look! I can still eat this!”

It’s been about eight weeks since my discovery and the literal grieving process. (1. “No, it’s not dairy. There must be something else..” 2.”Oh FFS! Seriously? How? How all of a sudden?” 3. “I’m sure it’s okay if I have it sometimes. I mean, it’s not full anaphylaxis after all…” 4. I mentally list all the things I’ll never eat again and feel sorry for myself about it. 5. “Alright. Fine. By taking dairy out of my diet eating is no longer a dangerous activity. Plus my mood has turned up a bit as well.”) Since then I have begun a love affair with coconut milk. As a beverage, coffee creamer, yogurt, ice cream, etc. I’ve learned how to make dairy-free sour cream with tofu and actually like Daiya’s “Cheddar style shreds”. I am at no point going to mistake these substitutes for the real thing but they have a good flavor in their own right. I’m cooking more of my own meals which is never a bad thing. I really have noticed a difference in both my mood and the amount of energy I have.

I don’t know why in my mid-thirties my body suddenly just said “Nope!” and it still kinda sucks. But I’ve got a great husband who brings me home dark chocolate bars without dairy and awesome friends who make readjusting – especially at restaurants and such – much easier. I’m also not blind to the fact that there’s a lot of stuff going on right now – in my own world and the world in general – that hanging on to the negatives of this change is a waste of my energy. Energy much better spent on the people, animals and things I love.