Thursday, January 31, 2013

Article: "How Long Do We Grieve"

In reference to my previous post about grief, this is a timely entry from Maria Shriver's blog.

I highly recommend subscribing. Her guest writers are fantastically inspiring.

I've added Maria to my "people I want to meet" bucket list.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Way behind. Rambling Randomness Ahead.

I am incredibly far behind on all of my blogs. Every time I try to catch up, my mind melts into a pool of exhaustion and all I can do is zone out under a pile of blankets and pillows. The last three months have been overwhelming...I don't even know where to begin in summarizing it, but I'll try.

Family canceled all Christmas festivities, and I spent most of the week in bed. I am very much a loner and don't mind (often prefer) being by myself, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are a huge exception. I will hopefully be well enough to travel to Marietta or Alexandria from now own.

I deleted my recent video blog, and I may not do anymore of them. I wasn't comfortable with it. Perhaps it's just not my thing nowadays. That feeling is subject to change at any time, of course, but I'm too tired and loopy right now to think about it much.

I also deleted the M.I.T. 18 Areas study. What I was sharing wasn't sufficient in my opinion, so I decided it's best to keep it to myself. Some things are better left unsaid. Yes, kids, I do keep some parts of my life private...I realize that's a shocker. :)

My current HKPP treatment has been an utter nightmare, and it may be discontinued. I honestly don't know what's next, or if any options remain. I'll elaborate later when I can find the words.

The loop heart monitor has been my nemesis. I lost the first three events I recorded due to a glitch (possible user error but I'll never know). I keep having to unhook it and rewire. Last but not least, the electrodes are eating my skin to the point of pain. Sorry for the TMI. I'm frustrated. I have managed to record and download five heart events so far. I have to wear it for at least two more weeks.

I am still not over the fact that I am not allowed to achieve my educational and career goals, and that I am forced to live in poverty on Social Security. I have no idea what to say to this day. I'm angry, and that's just the ugly truth.

I am still struggling greatly with Alexander's death. It should have never happened, and I can't bring myself to accept that he is gone and I'm not.

I am still getting upset every time I see a photo of one of the children killed in CT.

I am having a hard time moving past all of this. At times, I feel like I never will. I wake up and tell myself that I am going to stop being sad...and I have a lot of moments when I am okay...but the sadness always lingers. I feel guilty about it, but at the same time I know I have to allow it. Grief is a process...a marathon, not a quick sprint. I'm trying to remember that, and just let it be. I don't take the good moments for granted, and I know there will be better days.

I was able to see Jo, my darling niece, a few weeks ago. I gave her a drawing pad, coloring book, crayons, and washable markers. Oh, and my Bedtime Bear, because she wailed big fat crocodile tears over it as she was leaving, so I let her take it home...haha. Love her so. I can't wait to meet my new niece who is due to arrive around the end of February. Her name will be Zoey :) and I'll give her a separate blog entry soon.

I joined My Fitness Pal today. I am farther away from my goal weight than I've ever been. Being incapable of exercise is my biggest challenge. While most people can take in 1400-1800 calories a day and lose or maintain their weight - I gain. It unfortunately comes with the territory that is systemic disease. As far as food lifestyle goes, I have to greatly limit sodium and (all, not just bad) carbs while maintaining higher-than-average protein intake. Then there are all of the heart/kidney drugs and the supplements...vitamins, coQ10, omega fatty acids, and the absurd amount of potassium...up to 200mEq a day on top of all of that. Hello, swollen body and belly fat of doom. God only knows what my cholesterol and triglycerides are...I don't even want to know anymore. I have to choose my weapon, so to speak, because most foods are harmful to me to some degree. At any rate, I have a Blogger friend who is following Alton Brown's "Live & Let Diet" lists, and I watch the episode occasionally (thank you iTunes) as a learning/motivational tool. His ideas are pretty solid, and I overwhelmingly agree with his aversion to "diet" food and drink (it is the biggest scam in America and I will never stop ranting about its deception). I have no choice but to make a couple of changes to the lists, like limiting whole grains and definitely not consuming bananas or sardines (sorry AB), but people should understand that he wasn't out to market his lists as a "diet plan", only share his story and ideas. It is up to us to take what we need to learn from other people's journeys while keeping in mind that we are ultimately, individually responsible for our own.

Alrighty, enough rambling. If you, readers 'o mine, are on My Fitness Pal or happen to be on the Alton Brown "Live & Let Diet" bandwagon, feel free to email me ( or find me on Facebook or Twitter @ugottafriend to collaborate. Unless you're psycho-obsessed, that is. I don't like psychos. Ha!

In all seriousness, I appreciate those who have kept me in your prayers. It's no secret that I have been in a full-scale war with systemic disease for quite some time. When my muscles hit rock bottom and I started having frequent life-threatening episodes in 2011, I really didn't fathom how challenging and scary life would become. I knew it was possible, even probable, but there is simply no preparing for it. If you talk to anyone with this condition or any other serious illness, they will tell you that we look at the world differently. Just as in sensory and perception, when you lose a sense, another is heightened in an attempt to compensate. When the physical fails, the mental and emotional try to pick up the slack. Think, laugh, and cry harder. A feeling of urgency in every day. God's grace, equivalent to breathing. Love, deep and unashamed. Everybody is important. Hope is everything. Life and all it entails is embraced with raw honesty...the good, bad, and ugly. It all matters.

Well, I really know how to unload on here, don't I? Thanks for putting up with me, and please know that there are much lighter blog entries on the way. I want to share a ton of great articles I've found over the past several weeks. I'm planning to submit a few more articles to Yahoo myself. I've launched "Operation 2013" and will show you what that is in my next post. I look forward to introducing everyone to my perfect, precious little Zoey in a few weeks. I will no doubt have a lot to say when Doctor Who resumes at the end of March. And come June, I'll get over-the-top goofy again when Food Network Star returns with a brand new Team Alton.

Oh, I almost forgot. Eeyore says hi.

 "Thanks for noticing."

Sweet dreams, internet. Be well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect."

One of the greatest articles I have ever read. Well done.

Now, if only I could put it into action...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baked Beef & Portobella Ragu

This recipe involves store-bought sauce and unprofessional photos. If that offends you, feel free to move along to a different blog. Thank you kindly. :)

 Organic lean ground beef: 1-1.5lbs
Salt & Pepper: Sprinkle

Brown until done, then add:

Baby Port Mushrooms: 1 package
Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped: 1
Italian Seasoning: Sprinkle

Minced Garlic: 1 Teaspoon, approximately
Grated Parmesan/Romano/Asiago blend: 2 Tablespoons
42 oz jar Ragu Traditional Sauce
(I use Ragu Traditional because it has less sugar than the rest)

Cover and simmer however long you like.

 I found these aluminum bowls at my little grocery store.
There's a good chance your store has them too.

 While all of this yumminess was going on, I boiled some whole wheat Amish noodles until Al Dente (not pictured).

 Layer the sauce and noodles until the bowl is nearly full.

Shredded Mozzerella: 1/3-1/2 Cup (in each bowl)
(I prefer fresh mozz but I didn't have any at the time)

Bake at 400 until melted.

Makes 4 to 6 hearty servings.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Suck it, depression, I'm blogging with Post-Its!

This was supposed to be a video blog, but it didn't work out. The lighting was horrible and I have no voice whatsoever. That's okay, Post-It pics make everything better. Right? Right.

Click on the first pic to pull up slides, if you wish. Without further ado...


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 has been "eventful" so far.

The King & I

I'm currently on the King of Hearts Express, a loop heart event monitor that records an EKG when I push the button. Tuesday was a rough day. I hit "record" three times. I only have two recordings left, because they only gave me five.

I'll consider a video blog about the monitor, and of course I'll report back when I know the results.