Wednesday, October 31, 2012

6 Reasons To Cherish Your Alone Time


I love this article I read on Positively Positive. So much of it applies to my life, I can't help but share. Being single has been on my mind a lot lately. I will blog about it soon.

By Brett Blumenthal - Intent
I love to be alone. This may sound absurd, but for me, being alone is somewhat therapeutic. On one hand, you could chalk this up to the fact that I am an only child. Many only children are very comfortable being alone and are happy doing things by themselves.  Or, you might think it is because I am an introvert. (Although I have very extroverted moments, I am, indeed, an introvert at heart.) Whatever the case may be, when I don’t have enough time for myself, I feel drained, antsy, and overly stimulated. As a result, alone time becomes very important.
It doesn’t matter what I do when I am alone, as long as I get my “me time” fix. I might shop. I might write. I might go for a run. I might take a bath. I might even just veg out in front of the TV. Whatever the activity, it gives me the time I need to get away from others and to let myself recharge.
Being alone isn’t a statement about your relationships. Although I believe that relationships with others are a very important aspect to life and to our happiness, spending time alone is also extremely beneficial to our mental health and happiness.
Here Is Why:

1. Self Discovery
Spending time alone gives you the ability to discover things about yourself and to get a real understanding of who you are. We have grown to appreciate the art of getting to know others, but in reality, it is even more important to get to know ourselves, our preferences, and our likes and dislikes, without other people’s influences.
2. Higher Sense of Independence and Increased Self-Esteem
Being alone and getting comfortable with being alone gives you a higher sense of independence. Relying on yourself to make choices and decisions increases your self confidence, which then permeates other aspects of your life, including the times you are in the presence of others.
3. No Need to Compromise
Often, we compromise when we are in the presence of others. We usually work with one another to reach agreement on everything, from what we will have for dinner to what TV show to watch. Spending time alone allows you to indulge yourself with the things you want to do and the things you love, without any negotiation.
4. Rejuvenation for Your Soul
Getting away from others allows you to decompress and relax. It gives you a break from the “have tos” and allows you to focus on the “want tos.” It lets you address your own needs as opposed to everyone elses’ and gives you the opportunity to rejuvenate and push the restart button.
5. A Fresh Perspective
Time alone gives you the opportunity to clear your mind and weed through a lot of thoughts. This allows you to get to the heart of what YOU really think as opposed to being told or influenced by others and their opinions. It gives you time to reflect on what is important in your life and how you feel about everyday situations that need to be addressed.
6. Higher Appreciation for Those You Love
Giving yourself the ability to be alone allows you to have a greater appreciation for the time you spend with others. If you never have time for yourself, you’ll wish you did. It is important to find some balance in this, but once you do, you’ll enjoy your relationships even more.
If you find that spending time alone is challenging, try to start with a small dosage each day, even if it is for only five minutes. Each day, try to amp it up by a minute or so until you get to an hour. After practicing being alone, you will find it comes more naturally in time.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Funnies: The Fake Doughnut

I laughed so hard at this...kids are the best!


If it's too small to read, you can find it on Facebook here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Painted Bra Art Project Auction & Juried Exhibit

I am SO excited to let you know that one of my art bras, TARDIS (A Doctor Who Tribute), was one of the bras chosen to be on display for The Painted Bra Art Project, and is being auctioned online for the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund.



The auction opened this morning, and will run through November 4th. 100% of the purchase price benefits the charity, and bidding starts at $25.00.

I wish I could have attended the exhibit opening, but Huntsville is too far for me to travel in my condition. I am so very honored to be a part of this mission, however, and I look forward to doing so again next year!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Facebook Tip: How to stop comment notifications after you've commented on someone's post (pictures included)

Do ya hate when you comment on someone's post, and then receive a bunch of notifications of others' comments from that moment forward? It can get kinda annoying, right?

I finally figured out how to bring it to a halt!

Once you receive a comment notification following your comment, you can do the following:


Go to your notifications icon



Hover over the post you wish to unfollow



Click on the X



Choose Unfollow



TA DA!

You've unfollowed that post and will no longer receive notifications on it. Please tell me I'm not the only person who didn't know about this until recently. Glad I know now. My notifications are much less cluttered!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Won't Give Up



Can't enough of this song. My current favorite.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SIDS Bracelet - For Max and all SIDS babies



From the website: "SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the leading cause of death among infants between ages 
1-12 months. It is defined as the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of clinical history. Generally what happens is that parents go in to check on their sleeping child to find them no longer breathing, even though the child had been extremely healthy. The only thing doctors know to say is simply between one heart beat to the next, their heart just stopped. At this time there is no known cause of SIDS, and therefore it cannot be 100% prevented. However, there are many ways to help reduce the risk of SIDS. The proceeds will go towards the American SIDS Institute."


How nice of Bands For Arms to create a SIDS bracelet in memory of my baby bro. Max's birthday was today, and he would have been 17 years old.


The bracelet simply says "SIDS" and "SAVE THE BABIES". As always, the bracelet is made from a recycled military uniform. As they stated above, the proceeds will go to the American SIDS Institute.


Happy Birthday Max. Wish you were here.

Social Security: Good News & Bad News


My recent visit to the Social Security office was successful. With detailed documentation by my doctors, and my visibly obvious condition, I was declared disabled effective immediately.

That's the good news.

The bad news...very bad news...is that they are only giving me $65 a month. This is based on my living arrangements and the assistance I have been getting from relatives for food, fuel, and medication, all of which is temporary. The most I would have received is $698, but their calculations brought me down to minimal support. Forced to quit all of my jobs and drop out of college thanks to a disease that I was born with, and I get a whopping sixty-five bucks a month to live on.

I don't even know what to say to that. Doomed? That's a pretty accurate word. I don't have a chance in hell of making it. Once my aunt and uncle step out of the picture as caregivers, I assume based on the lack of consideration I have received since this began over 20 years ago that I will have no other relatives to turn to.

So what's next? Only God knows. All I know is that I didn't ask for this BS. Never have and never will. I have fought people tooth and nail to be believed in order to receive the medical help I needed to keep this disease at bay for as long as possible. Yet, here I am not even 35 years old at what seems to be the near-end of the rope. I have battled my own body since childhood with one goal in mind - to be completely independent. I despise with every fiber of my being a life of relying on others to meet my needs, and at the present time there is no hope in sight of that ever changing. It is unjust and unacceptable.

That is all I have to say right now.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Doctor Who: The Pond Finale, My Theory, & Other Thoughts

If you haven't seen it and don't want spoilers, you obviously don't want to read this. Fair warning, kids.

All photos and videos are property of either BBC America or one of many amazing Doctor Who Facebook pages. No infringement was intended. If a captioned photo was made by your hands, find me on Facebook or Twitter and tell me. I will be happy to credit you. Thanks!


"This is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends."


If you wish to read my pre-finale prediction on what was going to happen, you can find it here.


I would have written a follow-up before now, but I've been wallowing in Post-Pond Depression. :)


No, really. I knew I'd cry, but I didn't expect it to affect me as much as it did. I didn't just cry, I sobbed for well over 24 hours. I sobbed in my bed. I sobbed in the car. I sobbed in my bowl of soup. I...could...not...stop...weeping.


Even two weeks later, I still gush over tribute pics and vids. I'm a mess.


So to all the people I snarked at a couple years ago for having complete meltdowns over the Lost finale, this is my payback. You're welcome.

To be fair, my emotions were already running high. A friend had just passed away, and prior to that, several loved ones of close friends had passed away. Five people in three weeks, in fact. Some of my tears were a matter of bad timing...the straw, if you will. But besides that, it really did affect me deeply. The Pond farewell was beautifully devastating, and I was surprisingly right on the money with how Rory and Amy would go out. Hard to believe how accurate my prediction was, although I admit the episode "Blink" was somewhat fresh in my mind as I had seen it only a month prior (I'm new to Who and watched long marathons while stuck in bed over the summer).

I was quite off the mark about Brian, and like the rest of the Whovians out there, was sorely bitter about him not being included in the finale. Along with everyone else, I wondered what became of him. Surely, he had to be told that his son was dead. I couldn't believe we were left hanging like that.

As it turns out, Brian's scene was written but ended up on the cutting room floor. And here it is:


Just when I thought I was done boohooing, right? I thought this was beautifully done...heartbreaking. I'm actually in tears just typing about it. Congratulations, BBC. You've hooked a devoted non-fiction nerd with your fiction television program.

There have been some questions concerning why the Doctor can't go back in time to rescue the Ponds. Thanks to my recent Who marathons, I believe I can answer this.

As the Doctor himself explained in The Angels Take Manhattan, once he reads about an event in history, it becomes fixed and time lords cannot interfere with or revisit a fixed point in time. To do so would rip an unrepairable hole in the universe, and Amelia's crack in the wall was rather symbolic of that. Amy could be zapped back in time with Rory because she's human, but the Doctor cannot ever return with them because it would "tear New York apart", as confirmed by both the Doctor and River Song. If New York was torn apart, well they would all die anyway, wouldn't they? The answer is yes. They would not only die, they would die young. And take all of New York and eventually the rest of the world with it.

Let's flashback to a few previous episodes that reflect this truth (spoiler alert if you haven't seen these):

Season 1 (of the reboot), Father's Day: Rose and the Doctor screw up by going to a fixed point when Rose's father was going to be killed. Rose saving him ripped a hole in the universe, and in came the monsters to kill them all. Sadly, her father then had to save the world by making his own death happen. Repairing that fixed event in time is what repaired the hole in the universe, thus saving everyone else.

Season 4, The Fires of Pompeii: Donna and the Doctor arrive in Pompeii on the day of the eruption. He knows he cannot change anything but he tries anyway and nearly brings on the destruction of the entire world. He was then forced to cause the volcanic eruption himself to repair the fixed point in time, thus saving Earth (except Pompeii, obviously).

Tennant Special, The Waters of Mars: The Doctor knew he shouldn't have messed with the fixed point in time, but he saved Adelaide anyway. This caused the destruction of Mars, and eventually the universe. When Adelaide figured this out, she committed suicide to save the world for the sake of her Granddaughter. Her death was a fixed event in history that had to happen, and the way it went down because of the Doctor's mistake became part of his downfall (the following episode being his last...The End of Time).

So imagine if the Doctor did go back to Amy and Rory's fixed point in time to be with them. The universe tears apart and everyone is going to die. The only way to repair the tear is to repair the fixed event, which is Amy's death. Can you imagine the Doctor being forced to bring on Amy's death? He would never do it, and rightfully so. That is why the Doctor flipped out when he read her death in the book's table of contents, and why he knew it was over when he read Rory's and Amy's names on the tombstone. It was officially a fixed point in history, and it cannot be changed.

The fixed event rule is part of the Doctor Who blueprint. I suppose it always has been. I hope this helps everyone to understand why he can't just go back and sweep them away to the TARDIS. The universe and everyone's lives therein depend on it. Very sad, and very brilliant.

What an incredible show this is. I'm a fan for life.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup (With Chicken Tortilla Soup Conversion)


Crock Pot
How do I love thee
Let me count the ways


I've been having a passionate relationship with my Crock Pot since my Muscular Dystrophy kicked into high gear. It is very difficult if not impossible at times to stand in the kitchen and cook anything worthwhile, but my slow cooker has stepped up to bat on my behalf and helped a great deal.

I've been laid up in the bed for a little over 24 hours now with the migraine from hades, but I was able to crawl out of my dark bedroom long enough to pull off a great cheeseburger soup tonight. Not only that, I can use almost the same recipe for a chicken tortilla soup later on. I'll include the conversion details at the end. This is kinda like a 2 in 1 special, isn't it? Sign me up!

If you're new here, be aware that I am on a reduced sodium, low carb diet due to systemic disease. Therefore, I will mention my low sodium choices in the ingredients. If you do not want a reduced sodium soup, by all means use the full sodium varieties of my ingredients. I will say, however, that nobody would have ever known that I added no table salt to the soup...it was plenty salty enough thanks to the amount of cheese in it.

Sorry I don't have a photo - still can't find my camera!

Ingredients:

4 cups reduced sodium beef broth
1 lb organic lean ground beef
1 cup onion, red and green bell pepper medley, chopped
1 cup mild Rotel (use medium or hot if you prefer)
1 tablespoon salt free southwest seasoning from Spices, Inc (use whatever you prefer...taco seasoning, seasoning salt, whatever)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 small can no salt added tomato sauce
1 tablespoon reduced sodium onion soup mix
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Kraft Mexican Blend)
Cracked peppercorns to taste
2 teaspoons oil (I used extra virgin coconut oil)


Cook the ground beef, seasoning, onion, and bell pepper in the oil until brown. Add garlic and cracked pepper and stir. In the crock pot, combine all ingredients with the exception of the shredded cheese and set to high for 1-2 hours. Add shredded cheese and stir well. Cook an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips, toast, or crackers.

This soup will be very thin. If you wish to thicken it, you can add a touch of flour, cornstarch, heavy cream, or cream cheese (at your own risk...I haven't done this but I know it works). You could also double the Velveeta...that would thicken it but be aware that it would also add twice the salt.

Like most cheese-based soups, it is not very pretty. It is, however, very tasty.

I can neither confirm nor deny that it can be successfully frozen or made into leftovers. Cheese = oil and broth = water so there is bound to be some significant separation. I'm a bit weird (ok a lot weird) about leftovers, so I would most likely not attempt it on this one. Feel free to give it a shot if you wish.

If you would like to convert this to a yummy chicken tortilla soup instead:

Replace ground beef with chopped chicken breast
Replace beef broth with chicken broth

Everything else is the same...voila! Can't beat that.

Hope you enjoy. If you have any questions, you can find me on Pinterest or Twitter @ugottafriend.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Low Sodium French Onion Soup Recipe

HELLO, SOUP SEASON!

I put so much cheese on top
it sank and took the croutons with it.


Anybody who knows me knows that I am a soup fanatic. Last year, I was dead set on making a great low sodium Chili. This year, it's French Onion Soup. I am so hooked on the French Onion Soup at Atlanta Bread Company, I could eat it every single day. I decided to give it a shot myself, on a day when I could use my muscles well enough to pull off the task. It turned out well, so I thought I would share my recipe with you.

First let me say that this is ideal for people on a low sodium diet, and also for those who do not use wine in cooking. I would use wine if it didn't spoil so quickly, but since I don't drink it (triggers HKPP episodes), I don't buy it.

That said, here we go. Sorry there are no step by step photos...I couldn't find my camera at the time (edit note: I added the photo above more recently).

Ingredients:

8-10 onions (yellow, Italian red, or both if you like)
6 cups low sodium beef broth
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Splash of balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
Pinch of salt (I use kosher)
Several grinds of fresh pepper
Gruyere or Swiss, shaved or grated
French bread, toasted (optional of course)


Slice onions in eighths and put in a large pot with a pinch of salt and the butter. Cover and cook very slowly, somewhere between 1 and 1.5 hours, until onions are caramelized.

Once onions are fully caramelized, deglaze with a splash of balsamic and slowly stir in broth, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium simmer for 15-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour into individual bowls, shave Gruyere on top, and serve with toasted French bread. I like to put the toasted bread in the bowl, top with cheese, and broil in the oven.

Keep in mind that this is a lower-sodium recipe, and the taste will reflect that. By all means, use full-sodium broth or add salt as you wish. I think it's great, for what it's worth, and I hope you will too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Painted Bra Art Project

I just created the geekiest bras in history.



It's a TARDIS bra!!!!! Allons-y!



A shimmery pink infinity symbol in space!


Not bad for someone with Muscular Dystrophy who had to paint from her bed, eh? I wish I could have done better, but I'm pretty happy with them overall. The bras will be sent to the folks at The Painted Bra Art Project. If my bras are chosen for auction, they will benefit breast cancer research.


This was great fun, and I look forward to participating next year!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Night Randomness

Happy Fall, Y'all.

Feels great outside at the moment. Too bad it's going to be 85 again by Wednesday. Autumn is my favorite season but the flip-floppy temps are rough on the muscles.

I'm participating in The Painted Bra Art Project for breast cancer research. You can view my project album here, if you're on Facebook. One of the bras is finished...now working on the second one.


My family's oyster farm is being featured at a really awesome local event involving Food Network's Martie Duncan and American Idol Taylor Hicks. It's going to be fantastic. I just hope I score a ticket somehow, because at the moment I don't have one.

The roller walker has been a life-saver. There are several places I could not have gone recently without it. Counting my blessings, in the midst of this turmoil, as best as I can.

I'm still waiting to hear back from Social Security. Amazing that they can take their sweet time with paperwork, but have no problem giving the applicant unreasonable deadlines in submitting information. I guess that shouldn't surprise me.

I plan to write a follow-up on the Doctor Who finale and how my theory played out, but I'm still recovering from Post-Pond Depression.

If you don't watch Doctor Who, you have no Earthly idea what I'm referring to. And you have my pity.

I also started watching Who Do You Think You Are, which is a cool genealogy show. I was especially fascinated by Alex Kingston's episode on the UK version of the show. Loved it and love her! I've been doing my own family history research lately and have found some interesting stories. Maybe I'll share some of them soon.

I've had quite a few hits on my site the past few days. Hello to all and I hope everyone has a good week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

HKPP FAQ


This is not a real update. I just wanted to share the link to HKPP.org's FAQ.

http://hkpp.org/patients/hypokpp-FAQ

That site has been a life-saver, literally. I am forever grateful to PPI and PPA for the work they have done and continue to do to bring correct information about Periodic Paralysis to the general public.

I have it bookmarked on my desktop, so that when someone asks what I have, I am ready to share. Sad to say, some people are more likely to consider a random website they've never heard of than the person they're questioning. I think most of us have been there, haven't we? I know I have.

Feel free to print and share my article as well, if you feel that it may be helpful.

It's a shame that we find ourselves in defense mode so often. The information is out there now. There is really no excuse for ignorant mistreatment anymore. We're not the lazy ones...the skeptics who ignore the facts are. I intend to make that truth known until my last breath.

This snarky post has been brought to you by Kelli.


(cross-posted to my medical blog)