Thursday, April 27, 2017

[Vlog 4.26.17] Winter is over and we are back at it

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Where there's a will, there's a way

Chronic fatigue has been added to my list of medical conditions. I didn't even know about it till I went into the patient portal and viewed my medical records. But that's okay because CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

My response? Hell, tell me something I didn't already know! For most of my life, I didn't have to go to the doctor nearly as much as other people did. In fact, I used to brag about it. I wasn't on any medications (save for birth control) and it wasn't unusual for me to go *YEARS* without a doctor or hospital visit. Except for colds and the flu, nothing of concern was happening with me.

About six years ago, all that changed. The overwhelming stress and pressure of soul-crushing life circumstances tripped switches in my body and, all of a sudden, a whole bunch of health conditions and diseases showed up out of the blue. I thought I was Super Woman, but I wasn't that at all. Let me tell you, adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue will knock you flat on your ASS and MAKE you take notice.

I firmly believe when you're under near-constant mental duress and crushing stress, your body exhibits problems and conditions in ways you can finally see on the outside. In other words, when you ignore or try to dismiss the internal issues, your body gets your attention in ways you CANNOT continue to ignore.

I haven't had a full-fledged vacation since 2001; I'm way past due for one. I started working a full-time job at age 16. Even before that, by the age of 10, I took on more responsibility than kids my age usually had. The adults around me often acted like children (I loved them, but it's TRUE), so I had to grow up (at least mentally) faster than I would've liked.

At age 11, I began babysitting. Then I worked in the Provost Marshal's office in Mannheim, Germany, before we moved back to the United States. Bit of trivia: that's where I first learned what 'fellatio' meant from the various reports I had to log. *laughs*.

In college, at one point I worked THREE jobs in addition to attending classes – National Supply, Pizza Hut, and the switchboard at Phillips University. I eventually had to drop down to only two because sleep is important, but I carried a full load of classes in addition to those remaining two jobs.

I don't mention any of this for pity or that kind of B.S. I mention it because I have done my fair share – and even more than my fair share – in this lifetime. I'd still rather work than do anything else, if given a choice. Then again, writing and editing are NEVER chores to me. I get to do the kind of work I enjoy!

But I digress (which is normal for me)...

I am a hard worker and have had a lot of shitty things happen in my life. I've had to deal with unmentionable events and circumstances that NOBODY should have to endure. This is why my psychiatrist was surprised I wasn't a drug addict, alcoholic, or had committed suicide by now. I was lucky I didn't fall into any of those traps. However, my life experiences (and mental health issues that run rampant on the maternal side of my birth family) led me to diagnoses in 2006 for PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

But guess what? I'm still too stubborn to give up. I have dreams, goals, and a butt-ton of ambition. I have persisted and will continue to persist. Nobody should EVER underestimate me. It may take me a while, but I will eventually find a way. I'm a tenacious and determined woman. If I cannot find a way through something, I'll look for ways to keep moving forward by going around, over, under, or any other way I can. I'm not a quitter. If I'm blocked on all sides, I'll simply plow a new path.

Here's my message to YOU: if you're tired, stressed, worn out, or ready to throw in the towel, I hear you. I know what it's like. Getting up every day is a struggle. LIFE can be a struggle! But you can do this. WE can do this. The only constant in life is change. Don't ever give up on your dreams or goals. Don't listen to naysayers or critics. Do your thing! It doesn't matter what they think or what they say. You are the captain of your own ship. Steer it toward the horizon you seek, waving at them as you sail past them!

On my right forearm, I have a big tattoo of the rune Ingwaz (Inguz). It signifies a lot of things, but to me it means, "Where there's a will, there's a way." If you have the will, then you can eventually find a way.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Genetic profile updates -- yes!

Haven't been over to 23andme for a while, so I popped in to see if there were any updates to my genetic profile, and there were! Ongoing discoveries and updates are a couple of the many reasons why I love 23andme.

This time they had a couple of interesting profile updates, including a report that tells me how my genes affect my weight and how far back some of my ancestors from certain countries were and when they showed up in my ancestry.

Turns out I'm predisposed to weighing 11% more due to my genetic makeup.

In addition, my Scandinavian and Italian ancestors go way farther back than do my UK, Irish, French, and German ancestors. Interesting indeed!

I highly recommend 23andme. And hey, if you decide to order your own DNA kit, I'd love it if you'd use my referral code. I'll get a handy credit at Amazon if you do -- and you KNOW how I love eBooks!

Friday, March 17, 2017

From my 7 chromosomes to you, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

From the Irish DNA located on my chromosomes #6,7,8,10,12, 20, and 22, I wish a Happy St. Patrick's Day to those who celebrate it.

(Source: My 23andme DNA ancestry report. Want to get yours? Go here.)

Ruined Memes

Ever find the perfect meme to share, then you realize it's ruined because whoever made it failed at punctuation, grammar, spelling, or capitalization?

We've all been there, and the crew at Ruined Memes is damned tired of it. It's sad to see so many destined-to-be-great memes unceremoniously tossed asunder into the fail pile.

Here at Ruined Memes, we adopt these broken memes so they can live on forever in mediocrity.

Hop on over and enjoy a laugh or two on us!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Coming June 10, 2017: Lippy Legs & All – My Life with Lipedema

Scheduled for June 10, 2017 release.
You can pre-order your copy from the publisher here:


For years, I watched as my calves legs grew larger, bruised easily, and became more painful. Even bumping against a chair or the corner of a wall would send shockwaves of pain through my calves and leave me with huge bluish-purple bruises.

I knew something was wrong, but what could it be? I thought it was a simple case of edema or general swelling, but keeping my legs elevated and taking diuretic pills had no effect. In fact, they only became worse.

In 2014, after several attempts to locate a physician who would help me figure out what was wrong, I was lucky enough to get a diagnosis. I had Lipedema, a genetic disease I'd never heard of before. It's a mystery disease with no known cure thus far.

Not widely discussed, Lipedema is rare and only affects about 11% of women. Few doctors are able to recognize the symptoms, nor have they been exposed to information about the condition and how it relates to the all-important lymphatic system.

LIPPY LEGS & ALL is the story of my life (thus far) with Lipedema. I'll discuss, in detail, what I've learned about the disease, how it's permanently changed me both physically and mentally, and why I'm determined to bring awareness to this condition so women who may suffer from Lipedema can get the essential diagnosis and treatment they deserve.

Without proper diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, a Lipedema sufferer can face a bleak future of wheelchair-bound immobility or, worse yet, amputation of their limbs. No woman deserves either of those things; if I can cast a wider spotlight on Lipedema through the publication of this book, I will.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Creepy (possibly) past-life stories

Today I read an article about creepy (possibly) past-life stories parents recently shared on an AskReddit feed. Go over and check it out for yourself!

Now lemme add my own creepy kid story. When Britt, my daughter, was three years old, she nonchalantly told me she was a nun in her previous life and she had died in a fire. She's always seemed like an old soul to me. I often go to her for advice and guidance because the way she reasons is way beyond her 24 1/2 years.

Now, at the time Britt told me about her memory, my kids had NEVER been to church, had never been exposed to nuns or knew what they were and what role they played in religion or any of that. Their father was Baptist, but I was firm on having the kids research and explore which path of belief (or non-belief) made sense to them. I wouldn't allow them to be baptized into a religion that they had no idea about simply because one parent wanted it that way. Each person, when he or she is mature and ready enough, should be allowed to decide his or her own structure of belief (or lack thereof).

To this day, I still remember thinking, "Hmmm...that's interesting." She doesn't remember telling me, but I sure as heck remember!

Here's the funny part: when I was a young girl of seven or eight, I wanted to be a nun. I was raised Presbyterian but had always been drawn to the Catholic church. In fact, I had a huge crucifix that hung in my room. It was made out of plaster but painted dark brown so it looked like it was wood. I also believed that nothing should ever sit on top of the bible. And, mind you, after my dad Leo died, our family stopped going to church. My dad was Mormon but then became Presbyterian. I still have his bible from the 1920s.

Many of you know I haven't been Christian since the age of 18 when I became pagan. Yet, to this day, I am drawn to Catholic churches, used to watch the Catholic network on cable, and love to listen to Latin or mass. In addition, I also collect rosaries. None of this makes sense given my belief system that I've followed for nearly 35 years.

I've noticed that lapsed Catholics seem to be drawn to paganism and particularly Wicca. The rituals and such probably appeal to them because of their Catholic background.

I've often wondered if I was Catholic or a nun in a previous life, too. Who knows? Perhaps Britt and I were in the same convent. Life is a huge mystery; so many things are possible.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Daughter of the Celts/Vikings

Yes, I am a proud daughter of the Celts/Vikings.

From the Celts, my ancestors were from Scotland (Clan MacNeil from the Isle of Barra & Clan Fergusson), Wales (9th generation, Mary Molly Daten from Wales), and Ireland.

From the Vikings, my ancestors were from Norway, Finland, and Sweden, with the majority of DNA from Norway.

The Norse raiders came to the Isle of Barra, the home of Clan MacNeil, and procreated with them. So I'm a Scot/Norse lass :).

Monday, February 6, 2017

Cacophony? No thanks!

I enjoy jazz a great deal and listen to it often. However, I don't care for the type of jazz that devolves into a chaotic, noisy mess. Just can't get into it no matter what I do.

In terms of sensory reaction, when a jazz song collapses into nothing more than a haphazard, uneven cacophony of sheer noise, I'm driven to skip to another song. Such discordant tunes jar my mind and stoke my agitation.

John Coltrane was, undeniably, a great jazz musician. But all too often I can't make it through many of his songs. :-(

Monday, January 30, 2017

Remembering Lyn and wishing we could speak once more

I really miss my friend, mentor, and first HPS*, Lyn Benoit Goodnight.

What I'd really love to do is sit down with her – or, failing that, have an online conversation with her – and get her reaction to what is happening now with the Trump presidency and the daily disruption on so many levels that is occurring.

Pretty sure I'd already know what she would say about all of it. But I'd give anything to spend time with her talking, laughing, and getting her opinion on many events.

Miss you, Lyn. Still cannot believe you're gone :(. She would've graduated this month with her Ph.D. So tragic.

* High Priestess

Saturday, January 28, 2017

I will NEVER support a fascist or a demagogue

I get bothered by the whole, "Wanting Trump to fail as president is like wanting a plane all of us are on to crash." Oh, hold up. A lot of people who opposed Obama weren't repeating that mantra when he was in office.

If, in fact, Trump can be compared to Mussolini or Hitler in some of the actions he is taking or plans to take, imagine how ridiculous it would be to tell people that they need to get on the bandwagon and hope he succeeds. That makes NO sense. You don't just blindly fall behind or support ANY leader who is a threat to the nation and, possibly, the world.

Just like if it was Hitler or Mussolini, I would NEVER just 'get on board and support them' to keep the plane from crashing. In fact, as my husband pointed out, I'd WANT the plane to crash – even if I was on it – because I would want to be a decent human being and NOT support policies that cause irreparable harm or destroy our country. Alternatively, I would want to wrest control of the plane from the pilot. The latter, of course, is preferable.

Nope, I will NEVER be on board with Trump and his despicable administration, just as I would never be a team player under Hitler and Mussolini. And yes, I DO believe Trump could be THAT dangerous. I hope I will be wrong when all is said and done.

I also find it interesting how, for eight years, all we heard were people saying, "Hell no, Obummer isn't my president, never will be, and I hope he fails," and how the #1 directive of Republicans was to obstruct anything Obama did, regardless of how it might've helped average Americans.

NOW, all of a sudden, WE are supposed to be in lockstep with Trump and 'come together' for the sake of our country. I will NOT support a fascist or a demagogue.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

[Survey] Ten albums that influenced me when I was a teenager

Ten albums that had a profound effect on me as a teenager. One album only, per artist.

KISS - Alive II
Queen - News of the World
Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain
DEVO - Freedom of Choice
Kansas - Point of No Return
The Fixx - Reach the Beach
The Police - Synchronicity
Yaz - Upstairs at Eric's
Pink Floyd - The Wall
David Bowie - Let's Dance

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Proust Questionnaire - Version 2017

From Vanity Fair:
"The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. Here is the basic Proust Questionnaire.

Here are my answers to the Proust Questionnaire:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Living in a cozy cabin at the edge of a lake, far away from most of humanity. Think about the book or movie 'Secret Window' and you'll get the picture.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My eclectic, yet sometimes unpredictable, nature

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Continuing to survive despite an array of effed-up events, starting at about age 10. My psychiatrist expressed surprise that I wasn't a raging alcoholic or drug addict after all the events I've lived through (which most people DO NOT know about).

What is your greatest fear?
Knowing I'm going to die before it happens. I'd rather go to sleep and not wake up. I don't want to be on an airplane, for instance, and KNOW it's gonna crash and I'm gonna die. I'd rather NOT know when I'm getting ready to bite the big one.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Mary Shelley.

Which living person do you most admire?
Stephen King.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Creative people – writers, artists, musicians, etc. People who continue to pursue their artistic passions past the point of childhood when society and authoritarians urge you to abandon your 'dreams.'

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What is your favorite journey?
The one where serendipity shows up regularly.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Detachment. I want to be hands-on in life and to feel what it's like to live in an all-encompassing way.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse?

F*ck. The more people dislike the word, the more I use it.

What is your greatest regret?
Getting married too early, at age 20.

What is your current state of mind?

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
That some members would accept me as I am and not how they want me to be to suit their egos and wishes.

What is your most treasured possession?
My mind.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being prevented from living a life where one can follow his or her passions and earn a livable wage by doing so.

Where would you like to live?
The highlands of Scotland.

What is your favorite occupation?
Writing, especially when I can spend time working on my OWN books and creative projects.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Lack of two-faced cattiness. Things that seem to afflict 90% of the females I've ever known.

What are your favorite names?
Peter & Alexandra.

What is your motto?
Smile and nod at your naysayers, then do whatever the hell you planned to do anyway.