Friday, July 1, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Back Garden

This was our back garden two months ago. I've been so sick in bed that I was unable to post. Spring is really my favorite time of year when I've lived in a places where the winter is barren.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Untitled Poem


Long strands of ginger

like the pennant
of a
on the rise
of battle

Bright, round eye
intent on 

Crouching -- blinds for cover

Glass insuperable

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I found a letter I wrote to myself some while ago. Its words have been helpful to me, and though I'm too self-conscious to show share all of it with you, perhaps a portion will help you too.

You need to be kinder to yourself. It's okay to rest. It's okay to stop. You're still that special you when you're standing still.

You're not to call yourself stupid when you make a mistake or say that you hate yourself. 

I want you to add fun things on your list of things to do and not just chores.

I give you permission to say 'I've reached my limit,' and stop for a rest.

I want you to forget the bad things that have happened in the past, and I give you permission to enjoy the moment, right now. 

I give you permission to take things slowly and do things on your own time schedule and not what schedule someone else things things should be done.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Majestic Iceland

Hi, all! Look what I found. Sometimes I have to spend two or three days in bed and I surf around or watch movies or read on my little netbook.

This is Iceland! Isn't it cool?

These photos are from that site. It says that this is the Skogafoss Waterfall, South Iceland.

And this beautiful spot is Sydri Fjanear Landmannalaugar.

The city of Reykjvik looks really neat too. Apparently they use geothermal energy so the air is much cleaner there. The site has lots of pictures and movies to browse if you have the time. Enjoy! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Growth

 One of the things I'm loving about this time of year is the way I see the hibernating plants awaken and grow even stronger and bigger than they were the year before.

We have a fairly small back garden that was planted last summer. It may not look like much at the moment and this isn't the best picture of it, but this is the desert and spring has only just begun.

 This is an olive tree. It's blooms are beautiful.

And just recently we're seeing new growth on it's branches. I can't wait to show you the masses of beautiful white blooms it will surely get if all goes well.

On one side our neighbor's tree bloomed pink and on the other side a different neighbor's tree bloomed yellow.

The girls seem to be enjoying the increase of birds and insects and new smells that they get from the window.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pampered Kitties

The girls are loving these Catty Stacks from Cathousesystems. It's basically a cat tree made of cardboard boxes that you can configure in lots of different ways. 

Both Yum-Yum and Pitti-Sing were in on the building.

My brother and I put the boxes together. There's a video on their website that shows you how to do it.

You can see Pitti-Sing in the green one just as soon as we put it together.

At first it was exciting for them. Then the day after they weren't so keen on it, but after a few days it became a part of their environment and now they use it all the time. I used food treats to get them to go up and down through the boxes and through the tunnel. Pitti-Sing (the orange and white) is particularly fond of tunnels so once she got the hang of it she kept going back and forth.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Near Future

I've been mostly housebound for about the last year-and-a-half, and just recently I've taken to enrolling in e-courses. First, there was Mondo Beyondo and Dream Lab, and then, there was Get Your Paint On.

I didn't do all the course assignments. I did just as much as I could do comfortably and still feel like I was getting something for my money.

Now I've enrolled in this course:
I think registration is still open.

It was a tough choice because there are actually a lot of really neat looking e-courses nowadays for painting, drawing, photography, writing, etc. I figured I could use some help with my writing, though, and not in the dry, grammar-precise way that some people teach.

This looks like it should be interesting, and I'm really looking forward to it, although I'm scared as well. I'm scared that I will have a relapse, or things will get crazy here and there will be too much to do, and I'll not be able to complete the assignments (although that fear is mitigated a bit by my 'only do as much as you comfortably can' approach).

I'm afraid I'll sound like an idiot when interacting with fellow students or commenting on their work. I took an online writing course over ten years ago and that was one of my problems. I had to comment on others work and I just didn't know what to say. Time and experience have helped me with this sort of thing. But, quite frankly, it would be odd if I didn't have these sort of fears. It wouldn't be me.

Though I'm still not sure that I'm ready for critical feedback. Part of me wants it because you can't get better if you don't know where you can improve. But part of me says that maybe right now I just need is a little pat on the back. We'll see. I don't even know yet how all that will be handled in this course.

Oh, and another reason for me wanting to take this course is the list of guest speakers, including Brene' Brown.

So, all in all, I'm really excited. {smile}

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Smoothie of the Year

Last summer I tried a raw food diet. Wish I could say it made a miraculous difference in my health, but that wasn't the point. Having food allergies, my diet is a lot better than the typical American diet anyway. I just wanted to add more veggies.
Winter came and I just got too cold. So this is the first smoothie of the year!
All I had was an organic banana, no fresh greens or anything like that. So armed with a banana, some brown rice protein, rice milk, ice cubes, and a sprinkle of cocao nibs, I had lunch! And just when I took the first sip I realized - you know what I forgot? Cinnamon! Oh, well. I have the rest of spring and summer, and possibly fall, to make more.

 I really like food so it probably seems odd that I could be so content and emotionally and physically satisfied with one of these things, but I am. It makes me want to smile.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Le Papillon

I just saw this really beautiful french movie, The Butterfly. 

Everything about this movie was beautifully done. I'm not very good at telling the gist of a story so that others get excited about it, but I'll do my best.

The little girl acted so real. She played an 8-year-old named Elsa who's neglected by her very young mother. The older gentleman who lives downstairs is a butterfly collector who's on the search for a very particular butterfly, the Isabelle, so that he can keep a special promise he made many years before.

Elsa is left alone all day and all night, so she runs away and manipulates the butterfly collector into taking her with him.

As they search for the butterfly, they learn more about each other and he becomes the grandfather-figure she never had. His old wounds begin to heal, and he gets more meaning in his life. He even becomes the mentor for the mother who's not a bad person; her parents neglected her too.

It made me think how important it is for older ones to take a wholesome interest in youths, especially nowadays when families are breaking down.

We've lived here a few years, but I just unpacked some pictures. This was one of them. My friend Lorraine, who was old enough to be my grandmother, bought this for me when I was ten-years-old. She and my mom and I were in the mall, and I remember gushing over these watercolors of old-fashioned women in Victorian/country homes. 

(The signature on the picture says it's by H. Downing Hunter.)

Then Lorraine suggested my mom and I go to another store ahead of her and when she joined us she had gotten me one of the watercolors and my mom a picture that she liked.

Years later I remember going to her house for Bible study. It was so calm and quiet and orderly. We would walk around in her garden. Sometimes she would take me out for frozen yogurt or we'd go for a drive or she'd take me on her errands. I remember those times fondly, especially when I look at the picture.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I have a new artist to inspire me. Her name is Elsa Mora, aka Elsita.

I love that she has more than one artistic outlet, and those outlets aren't the usual illustration, painting, sculpting. I simply have to try papercutting one of these days. And I love the dolls and miniature books.

I read somewhere that learning one set of skills can increase your ability in completely different areas of life.

I believe that everyone is multi-talented. We don't all have the same talents, and we don't always have a chance to learn what all our talents are, but we all have lots of them.   

Monday, March 7, 2011

When The Goodie Stash Runs Dry

I'm in mourning for my favorite bakery. As some of you know, I have a rather acute gluten sensitivity. When this gluten-free bakery opened in the area a couple of months ago they were flooded with business.

I had donuts for the first time in over two years. And they make a really good gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free sandwich bread.
I would toast it with my eggs for breakfast.

Their brownies were really great too. (sigh) And their cinnamon rolls... I would reheat them in the oven for just a few minutes... till the topping was all creamy and gooey...yum...
It's not the bakery's death, I hope, but just a brief illness to get things straightened out as they will only be taking orders from now on. No walk-ins. That's okay with me because we always ordered anyway.

In the meantime, I have these cookies you can even get at the regular store.

This is what they look like unbaked. Their really not bad and they come out soft and warm from the oven. Of course, I can make my own gluten-free cookies, I have lots of gluten-free recipes. My limited energy has to go to other things right now, though.

Besides, the bakery will be up and running soon (hope, hope, hope). :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This is a grey, whole pot of tea sort of day.
Apparently, my mom's step-dad made this teapot for her many years ago. The teacup is a new acquisition I'm really excited about. I've wanted something like it for a long time. There's just something about those big English roses. What can I say?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Desk

This is a recent shot of my messy desk. The book on the middle is my brand new watercolor moleskin.

This is my Mary Engelbreit weekly calender. Eight or nine years ago I became rather depressed because it seemed like I didn't do anything. What I had been told about being a lazy person and a slacker was starting to have an effect. So I wrote down in a calender like this one every little thing I did in the day.

It's sort of a cross between a 'to-do list' and a 'done list.' If I did something on my list I would cross that thing out with a single line (so I could still read what it was), and if I did something that wasn't on the list I would add it and put a line through it.

Having FMS the things I did were often limited. I would write down things like: shower, made dinner, read, journal, put away groceries, etc.

I soon began to see that I wasn't lazy, but that my day was full. So much so that now I have to schedule in rest and down times. The post-it note on the side is a list of larger projects that I have to fit in the next couple of weeks when I have the energy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Is A Blog?

Do you really keep a diary? I'd give anything to look at it. May I?

Oh no. [Puts her hand over it.] You see, it is simply a very young girl's record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication.

 -- The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Is Near

This is one of the plants growing in our back garden. I don't remember what it's called. It's warming up here in the desert, at least a little bit and this little plant is starting to grow.

I love the red leaves down on the bottom of the stem. The whole garden reminds me of the prophesy at Isaiah 35:1, "The wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron."

This is a fairly new plant so I can't wait to see what the blooms look like.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thoughts On Exercise

The Problem With Exercise

Exercise is a big problem for people with Fibromyalgia. It's sort of a catch-22. On the one hand, if a person doesn't work the body, over time the muscles become flaccid making it difficult to perform basic functions and causing more pain. On the other hand, if a person with Fibro exercises they will get sick. Even gentle exercise makes us, in the short term, very ill.

For instance, I just finished a short, very mild aerobic workout. The video itself is easy enough, but I did it with even less intensity because I knew what would happen if I didn't. Not halfway through, the muscles in my torso (muscles you don't even think you have until they start shouting at you) started to spasm. Like lots of charlie horses all over your body.

To make it even worse, there are often long periods of time where you really can't exercise and then you have to go back to it. You're always starting from the beginning.

So what is a person like this suppose to do? The answer is: just do your best. People with FMS/CFS tend to be type-A personalities who want to do everything just so but you can't. Take it easy. Realize that in exercising, as with many other things in Fibro life, you often won't get off the bottom rung. Sometimes you'll fall off the ladder all together. It doesn't matter. It's not like we're being graded.

What Kind of Workouts Work

When I was about 20, I saw a rheumatologist who told me that in the manner of exercising I should treat my body as if I was ninety-years-old. I love this imagery. This was a whole new thought for me as I would do the workouts my friends did and try to work as hard as them and then be sick for weeks.
I started looking around for workouts for seniors and other milder workouts that could be adapted. These are my favorites.

Move Those Joints!: therapeutic exercise with Dian Ramirez

This is really slow and gentle. It was mainly intended for arthritis sufferers. You move pretty much every joint in your body very slowly. It's divided up into sections so you can do only a little bit at a time as you need (I never do the floor section anymore).

The only problem is if your joints are loose and overextend (like mine) then you'll want to be careful not to move through your full range of motion and move only as far as the instructor moves. That hopefully will save a bit of pain.

Stronger Seniors: Stretch and Strength

There are two workouts, each just under an hour long. The stretch workout is slower. There are no breaks between stages. When I did the whole thing I was sick for three days, so now I set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes.

The strength workout is divided into sections. I generally just do the warm-up. Sometimes, if I'm feeling really good and don't have to do anything for a couple of days, I'll add one of the other parts.

(It must be noted here, that I can physically do the whole workout, but then my body rebels afterward leaving me wracked with pain and fatigue. I choose to do less so that the amount of pain and fatigue I get afterward is more tolerable and I still have some energy to do a few other things in my day.)

Leslie Sansone – Walk Away the Pounds (1 mile)

The one mile is a bit of a stretch for me. This is one of the few aerobic workouts I found I can do at all. There are some times when tension and anxiety crush you and you just have to release some energy. That's what I save this for. A brisk walk around the block would work too and might be less strenuous.

Throw Away The Measuring Stick

It has to be noted that it's different for everyone. My mom can only do some basic joint rotations and stretches for a few minutes most days. I go for months without being able to exercise. Then I start all over again. For those of us with FMS/CFS we just can't judge our efforts by what others can do.