About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hashimotos Disease Really Sucks

For years I have had my hashimotos disease under control.

I was diagnosed with hashimotos the first year that we moved to Philadelphia.  It was a seriously tough year for me.  I was pretty overwhelmed by the city and petrified of driving in it (and we lived in center city).  The girls were still tiny and in order to go anywhere I needed to put them in the stroller and walk.  But I had become depressed and exhausted. My weight shot up and even walking  6 blocks to the park with the girls was completely exhausting.  I didn't have any friends to help pick my spirits up and that paired with fatigue and a tendency to eat emotionally caused terrible weight gain.

At some point I began working really hard to lose weight.  We got a treadmill and I started to make some big changes in my diet.  It was around this time that I went vegan for the first time.   After a few months of working very hard I decided to weigh myself.  I was shocked and horrified when I got on the scale and it said that I weighed 242 pounds.  I was at my mother's house (I didn't own my own scale at that time) and I fell apart.  My mom urged me to contact my doctor.  I had been using a natural doctor who had diagnosed me with mild hypothyroidism and had treated me with thyroid boosting supplements, rather than medication.  At that point we believed that we could turn my thyroid function around by giving it a little help, but it didn't work.

When I went into my doctor's office I put my head and in my hands and exploded into a giant, fat, depressed storm of tears.  I felt hopeless.  I felt 100% out of control of my body.  I felt scared and resigned to the fact that I could not change and my healthy efforts were in vain.  My doctor was certain that it was my thyroid and tests confirmed that I had developed an autoimmune disorder called Hashimotos Disease.

I began a fairly high dosage of medication.  And though I should be using a vegan, gluten free diet, I have never been able to entirely commit to it.

For the past 4 years my medication has helped me.  As soon as I began taking it my energy level returned to  normal, I stopped feeling depressed and within a year I was back down to a normal weight.     And the only time I remember how terrible I felt before I was diagnosed with Hashimotos is when I forget to take it for a series of days.

But lately, something isn't working for me.  I have started experiencing new symptoms of hashimotos that I didn't previously have.  First, my periods, which have always been relatively light, started coming very heavily.  And the breast tenderness that people all get right before their period was as bad as it was during pregnancy and lasts THE WHOLE MONTH!!!!!  And now, I am losing wild amounts of hair.  I can't even touch my hair without strands of it falling out.  I am losing handfuls of it every day.  I am also feeling fatigued.

At first I thought that I was having a hormone imbalance, but my good friend Amber also suffers from hashimotos and is quite a bit more knowledgeable than I am (I stopped learning about it when my medication worked for me), told me that my symptoms are all associated with hashimotos.  I haven't had my blood work checked since we moved to California and my old doctor has continued to refill my prescription  So, it's time for me to see someone new.  I am going to make an appointment with a  specialist in San Francisco this week.  Hopefully they can help me get to the bottom of this problem.

Also, I am going to make the switch to a vegan, gluten free diet.  I drag my heals on this.  Though I do love lots of vegan food and even like to cook it.  I don't want to eat it all of the time.  And I especially don't want to be gluten free.  I know that I have to and that the foods that I eat are likely causing inflammation that is exasperating my hashimotos disease.  I don't know why I can't seem to get my head in the game for this change.  I just have to do it.

And that's what is happening with me these days.  In other news, my workouts get harder and harder.  I'm still at the gym 6 days a week.  Each day I work out anywhere from 60 minutes (always straight cardio on these short days) to 2 1/2 hours.  One day I was even there for 3 hours (but I don't think that I'll ever do that again. lol).  I have also been working for my dad, proofreading and editing the documents for his consulting business.  Between my time at the gym, my room parent duties and my new job, I haven't had much time to blog.  I'm going to make a big effort to make it happen more though.

I hope that everyone is well!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bingo Night

I am, like, INSANELY excited to go to bingo tonight.

Here's the thing, bingo and I go way back.

When I was in college I used to go to the Budd Lake Firehouse bingo every Sunday.  Never once did I win.  That said, the first time that I brought my friend Erik with me, he won over a thousand dollars.  And even though I didn't share in his profit, I couldn't help but feel that I had somehow won vicariously through him.

When I lived on the cruise ship I worked the cruise ship bingo (which is not as serious as Firehouse bingo).  Firehouse bingo is a room packed with the chain-smoking retirement crowd.  They are eating hot dogs, drinking pepsi and shouting "slow down" every five numbers called.  Cruise ship bingo is an all-ages event.  It's more about passing the time between lunch and dinner than it is about winning money.  Firehouse bingo is pretty much a religion.  Cruise ship bingo is just a good time.

Our school is hosting a bingo tonight.  There's a big group of ladies who are going and I'm going to kick their asses  join them.

I've been making such nice friends. I've never really lived in a place where my extreme social anxiety hasn't prevented me from becoming close with people.  I don't really get close with people very easily, and most of the friends that I have are people who have been in my life for years (like, 15+ years on most counts).  You sort of have to love me before you like me, I think.   I mean, since meeting Jay, I think that I have only made two new friends.  And then we moved to California, and though I had no plans to get to know anyone and no hope of fitting in, I've been consistently pleasantly surprised by how accepted and liked I feel.  I'm even meeting new people at the gym.  I actually have a friend who I go with Monday-Friday and she and I spend an hour (on the elliptical) chatting it up every day.  When you do that enough you really get to know someone.

But back to Bingo.  So, I'm going to this school bingo with a group of fantastic ladies and better still, the school offers free child care.  So, while I'm at the bingo, the girls will be hanging out with their friends.  It will be a social event for them as well.  Sort of a non-parent chaperoned party on a Friday night with elementary school kids.  What could be better than that?

All I can say is that I'm feeling lucky!

Fun Friday

I am going into Lila's class this afternoon to make this Halloween craft with the kids.  Every so often, her teacher will schedule a block of time during the day on Friday so that parents can come in and do something with the kids.  Last year Jay and I went in and read Bartholomew and the Oobleck and made Oobleck.  This year, I'm going in with another mom and we're making these pumpkins.

They are super easy to make and so so cute!

All you need to have is a pumpkin, black felt (cut into whatever shape that you want to use for your mouth) cheesecloth cut into strips that measure 2 yards in length, craft glue and googlie eyes.

First glue on the felt mouth.  Next, lightly dab glue (we are using cotton balls to do this) all over the pumpkin.  Next, wrap the cheesecloth around.  I find that it's easiest to bring the cheesecloth to the back and start in the center of it.  Then wrap both ends around the pumpkin.  Finally, glue on your eyes.

This end result is very cute.  It's easy enough for even toddlers to do and crafty enough for older kids.  They can cut their own cheesecloth and mouth shapes.

I think that the kids are really going to love this one!

Monday, October 1, 2012

If you are looking for THE BEST Halloween treat, I suggest mixing equal parts of candy corn, lightly salted peanuts and raisins.  

It's like, an explosion of unworldly deliciousness inside your mouth.  

MMmmmm... it's just so good.

I wish that I could pull it together to blog more lately.  I've just been really scattered and am having trouble bringing it back to center.

I've been having a lot of fun and I've been very active lately, but there have been too many schedule crazy days and not enough couch potato days for my tastes.  It's been company and friends and back to back parties.  I just haven't spent enough time in the kitchen, making fall stew and fresh bread.  In part, I think it's because the weather hasn't changed yet here.  Today it will be 102 degrees.  I long for those cool fall days...  I mean, I love California, but I do miss the way the trees change color and how nice it is to wear sweaters and jeans.  

I guess that it's probably good that I feel this way because it looks like we're moving to Dublin, Ireland after the school year ends.  I don't think that I've mentioned that in this blog before.  The possibility rose last April and for awhile it was only a possibility... just some talking.  But recently it's become something that is going to happen. It will only be for a year or two and when we come back to California, we hope to settle down, by a home, and stop moving.  I'm very excited to have the opportunity to live in Ireland for a bit and the kids are as well.  Jay, of course, is too.  The catch is that we are not going to bring our pets.  We are hoping to find people to watch them for the time when we are gone, and pay for them to be boarded there.  As we've been talking about going, the one thing that has made me feel a lot of anxiety have been the pets.  First, Sherbert can not fly, but my friend Siet has so sweetly agreed to let him live on her farm.  As for the others, the flight to Ireland is 13 hours and 50 minutes from San Francisco.  Both of my dogs are too big to ride up top and would have to be in the cargo hold. Once you add up the time that they'd get to the airport, be in flight and get through customs, they could be in their carriers for 20 hours.  This is too much.  and to have to do it 2 times in a couple of years... I think that everyone would be happier and safer staying in the states.  I love my pets and I don't feel comfortable risking their lives.  Sidney has seizures when she is very stressed and the thought of putting her through that makes me feel sick.  I know that leaving them behind is the right decision.  Though it breaks my heart to think of being separated from Sidney and I expect to have some very tearful days and nights because of it, I know that keeping her here is what is best and healthiest for her.  So, that's what I'm going to do.  

This week marks the beginning of pie season in our house.  Pie night will happen once a week (Friday night) until  Thanksgiving.  This week our friends Donna and Max are coming over to kick it off!  It's going to be a pie inspired evening and we're going to make savory pies and sweet pies... plus tons of sides!  I am really looking forward to it.  Pie night has been a really important tradition in our family, as important as Christmas and birthdays, as far as the kids are concerned.  It means a full day in the kitchen... tons of cooking and friends and celebrating.  It's the kickoff to our holiday season, I guess.  We usually pair it with the beginning of the show It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, though this year we are starting a week before it premiers.  

Things are still going really well in the gym.  I feel like I should be grateful to some sort of higher power for giving me the gift of learning to love working out.  I have never liked to spend my time in a gym before, but now it's as comfortable for me as getting a good night of sleep is.  When I don't go, my body feels kind of off and really gross.  When I do go, I relax, sleep better, feel good and am happier.  It's the best feeling.  At 36 years old, I am healthier than I have ever been.  

On that note, I am pretty excited to say that I am thinking about going back to school.  I found an 18 month program for nutrition and am considering becoming a nutrition consultant.  I have always been somewhat obsessed with food.  It's so fascinating to me.  The more I learn about nutrition, the more I want to learn.  I can't get enough. I'm most interested in eating to treat/prevent illness and "food is medicine" is like doctrine to me. I'd really love to work in a holistic doctors office or with a midwife in order to help others eat for their bodies and optimal health.  I believe that I have found my calling.  It sure did take me awhile, but better late than never, I suppose!