Monday, June 26, 2006


And yes, i mean "we."

It was a labor of love--not to mention blood, sweat, and tears--to "encourage" Jarel through his final year of high school. We kept our fingers crossed and prayed regularly, did some nagging and some cheerleading, and HALLELUJAH, we graduated!!

It's been a struggle, always. You see, Jarel loves the social life of school, but the actual work? not so much. He has entertained and frustrated for lo these many years now. We've developed deeper relationships with teachers than we ever intended. We've done new math/old math/last week's math, and even in his younger years, dug math homework out of a hole in his bedroom wall. We've received too many to count renditions of "Jarel is delightful to work with BUT..." on report cards. We've restricted/rewarded/cajoled. We've rolled our eyes, pulled our hair, and sobbed (okay, that one was me.)

BUT WE GRADUATED!!!!! Along with something like 600 other students, Jarel walked across the stage and got his fake diploma (what's that about?? "PSYCHE! you thought you graduated!") which he was able to trade after the ceremony for the REAL diploma--

And as we let out the breath we'd been holding all year, Jarel said, "See, I told you I was gonna be fine."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Playing with my food.

Let's talk interruptions! Interruptions in my chocolate consumption, my overall sugar consumption, my breads and potatoes consumption... and, * sigh * did i mention chocolate?

For months now, since early February, i've been playing with my food--elimination diet sort of thing. Heck, i'm no stranger to diets, waaay back in my childhood lo those many years ago, i would try to eat more carrots and less other stuff. i was conscious even at 10 of being fat, as wide as i was tall. That sort of thing is noticeable to other children who are in turn glad to point it out. Didn't matter that my thyroid had apparently ceased to function sometime in the early years, i was a butterball. A cute and cheerful butterball, but a butterball nonetheless. i got to participate in some way cool cutting edge treatments of the time to get my thyroid sorted out, and by the end of high school i was pretty darn cute and slender. Of course, back in those days, doctors would give diet pills to teenagers--i was up for 24 hours straight and trust me, i like my sleep, so i didn't keep taking those. After that there was the fast-once-a-week diet, the grapefruit diet (college,) the Atkins diet (post-college,) the cheesecake diet (no, that one was only in my dreams...) the McDougall diet (early marriage,) Weight Watchers, low carb, you name it, i probably tried it. i finally ended up on the "oh what the heck" diet, which is probably where i got into those X's.

ANYway, like i said, i'm no stranger to diets. So when i read that foods could maybe have an effect on my fibromyalgia pain, i was game to add another diet to my list.

So, on to the hunt for an elimination diet. i know of one fibromyalgia sufferer who ate only rice for a whole month, saw her symptoms disappear, and then added foods slowly back in. i'm not that hardcore, or maybe i should say "not that disciplined." So i trolled (i think that's the right word--i mean "troll" as in "trolling for fish" not as in the little guy who lives under a bridge) for a diet. i found the Caveman Diet, also known as the Rare Foods Diet, but i liked the Caveman thing so much better as a name. Its purpose was either to use as an allergy elimination diet, or to give your immune system a rest, and consisted of dumping all the processed nastiness of the present age of food and replacing it with natural, organic, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, some of the lesser known grains and deep water fish, game, and turkey. But no citrus fruits, and mainly the less often eaten fruits and vegetables, and if there was a fruit or veg on the acceptable list that you commonly ate more than a couple of times a week, not that either. This way a person would still get plenty of choices and plenty of nutritional goodies, but give their body a chance to recover.

Not so bad. Fortunately, here in the bay area we have access to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, making my life easier food shopping wise. i figured out some meal options, made a list and went shopping. Breakfast became something like almond butter and banana. Lunches were stir-fried vegies and turkey or fish, and dinners became salad or vegies and more fish or turkey or Cornish game hen. It was all pretty tasty! Sea salt or a little fresh lemon or ginger were the only seasonings i used. i lost 8 pounds the first week, which told me something--i wasn't sure what, besides maybe "there must be some kinda food allergy component here, cuz i never lose 8 pounds in a week" or simply,"boy i must eat a lot of crap the rest of the time."

And my symptoms? i saw some improvement, the more pure i ate the better (hard to eat out that way, though.) Wondering about the allergy part of it, i found a book about food allergies and started reading. Also very interesting. That's where i am right now, trying to see how dairy, corn, acid foods, and grains effect me. Oh--that's another thing, people with arthritis can do better with an alkaline diet, the opposite of acid. And avoiding foods in the nightshade family. So there's another component to explore.

i'm feeling very Christopher Columbus these days. Just hoping i don't set out for one place and end up another altogether, although i would settle for Hawaii.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Adventures in blogging and shopping.

It's been fun hearing back from people about my Adventure In Blogging. Of course one of the comments was, "You didn't write very much." i believe that one came from my husband--who apparently was surprised by my brevity, given my total lack of it in conversations with him.

And my rose photo--i'm so excited about my roses! i can't believe that * I * acually bought a rosebush, planted it, watered it, and have these gorgeous "Gingersnap" roses. i'm pretty much a gardening reject. My lovely (at least in theory) lilac bush, alas, didn't make it. And as with the rosebush, i purchased, i planted, i even remembered to water the lilac bush, but, * sigh *.... Pretty much i stick to growing geraniums, lots and LOTS of geraniums, since they grow so easily here in mild-wintered SF Bay Area that i think our dachshunds could probably grow 'em. (see "the boys" above.)

Other stuff of the day--i thought i'd try my hand at doing some work through a temp agency my good friend works with--but none of that "full time temp to hire" stuff that she's doing, oh no, i want to be someone that floats through a place, leaving well organized files and awestruck workers in my wake--sort of an office Mary Poppins, floating in with my umbrella and carpetbag to save the day.

ANYway, since i was meeting with the temp agency today and i've been out of the workforce for nearly 4 years, i thought maybe i should try to buy something appropriately interview-ish. And FINE, i know i'm curvy in a very "not of this century" way, but why do clothing manufacturers need to rub it in? "Yes, we know you are larger than the people who shop in the cute clothes sections, but just in case you weren't aware of that fact, we're going to use X's to call your clothing 'Extra Large'. Oh, and 'Extra EXTRA Large.' And then if you don't feel bad enough yet, 'Extra EXTRA EXTRA Large'." Whose stupid idea was that?? Some tiny little Size 2 woman with the metabolism of a hummingbird? (i just looked that up--a hummingbird can eat 1 1/2 to 3 times their weight in insects and nectar in a day--so much for "eating like a bird", eh?)

No business attire in hand, i took my new sunglasses and new underwear to the cashier. (That's close to "interview clothes," right?) The clerk looked up from ringing up my lavender undies and said, "Lingerie is 'final sale', no returns." i looked at her, startled, and said "i hope so!" i mean, that would just be gross.

i met with the temp agency woman, a very nice lady who tried to put me at ease (too late!) and took a few tests--Word, Excel, keyboarding--(i remember when i thought it would be the coolest thing to have a "portable word processor" the size of an apple crate. Woohoo. And now my purse is bigger than a lot of computers.) That job stuff all went reasonably well. We'll see what happens from here. But i thought doing some stuff a few days here and there, a week now and then, would be a good way to try out how well fibromyalgia and i do in the workplace. i know there are loads of people out there with fibromyalgia and much worse still doing full time jobs, but some days it's a challenge just getting up from a chair or out of a car--or even dress myself.

i know the fibromyalgia doesn't define me as a person, there is a lot more to me than that (i'm talking skills and interests here, not those nasty aforementioned "X's.") The thing is, the fibro does seem to define some of my limits of the moment... But the dead plants, that's all on me.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

the "fun with fibromyalgia" interruption.

Okay, so it isn't really fun, but i liked the "f"s (what's that called? Alliteration maybe? School was a looong time ago...)

When i started wondering a couple of years ago if the aches and pains and dizzyness and extreme fatigue and foggy head were symptoms of something besides being over 50, i went where i always go when learning something new: into the obsession-land of reading, reading, reading. Web searches for this combination of symptoms brought up a number of possibilities, fibromyalgia among them. My doctor, bless her, saw my history of depression and put on her Doctorly Face of Compassion and said, "Often when the issues in our lives are resolved, a person will start to feel better." Okay, and maybe if i didn't always feel like i'd been hit by a bus i'd be less depressed. Just a thought.

Bloodwork showed i didn't have some of the other (scarier) things i was worried about, and the fibromyalgia tender points proved on examination to be, well, tender. Go figure. Unpleasant news, but at least there was a (not terminal) name to go with the face of my symptoms.

i guess what i've been trying to learn since is that i may as well stop arguing and instead try to make friends with this stranger, this interruption of my "real" life. i have some thoughts on what caused it to drop by for an extended visit, but i can't change that. So i'm trying to be the good hostess and learn what i can do to make its stay more comfortable. That's an easier job on some days than others.

"If all your friends jumped off a blog..."

Well, here i am, embarking on the blog journey. i can just hear a mother somewhere saying sternly, hands on hips, "If all your friends jumped off a blog, would you jump too??" The answer? Apparently i would.

i've been perusing blogs lately--some friends, some random strangers as i follow a link to a link to a link. One thing i've always enjoyed is seeing what's going on inside somebody's head, and blogs give others a peek. So in a way i guess i'm putting my own head on display. My friends, please be kind as you look in the dusty corners.