Waging war in the urban jungle

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Elimination diet update

We've been on the elimination diet for almost one full week.  I've noticed a few things that give me hope.
  • with one exception Paulo has slept through the night every single night since Sunday-this is a huge accomplishment for my notoriously terrible sleeper.
  • his allergic shiners seem to be getting lighter.
  • he's eating his meals better, I'm not a member of the clean plate club but at least eat enough to fill your tummy!
  • and a big one, I noticed this morning as I peeked in at him, he's sleeping with his mouth closed.
Paulo was always a mouth breather which led to some nasty sore throats.  He was sleeping so peacefully this morning-I had to check to make sure he was breathing!  His little mouth was closed.  He also used to sleep in an arched position, like a backwards C.  I haven't found him arched back all week.  It gives me encouragement that we're on the right track.  It's a lot of work but I think we're on the right track.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The house

I want to be "the house".

The house where my sons, and their friends, feel welcome, safe, loved.  The house where they hang out.  Even at 6 Paulo has his "posse".  He has the boy next door (literally!). He has the boy across the street and he has two girlies next store.  Those are his go to peeps.  I love it!  I encourage it.  I am so happy he has friends.  I am not sure what I'd do if he were as lonely as I was as a child.  I'm so grateful he doesn't have to be. 

Right now I'm listening to Paulo, one of the girls and the boy across the street play Mario on the WII.  I'm so, so happy he has friends.  I'm not enough for him, I'm his mother, I'm not his buddy.  There's such a difference! 

Dimitri has his BFF just up the street and around the corner.  Those two, peas in a pod.  I'm always happy to have him come over, spend the night, join in family/work parties, he's a great kid-and Paulo adores him. 

It's just one more reason I'm grateful for the home we chose.  It's not perfect, the school morning commute kills me, but my boys have great friends!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A safe dessert

Paulo loves dessert.  Ever since he could talk I'd hear it after dinner..."what's for dessert?"  Often our desserts would include either a wheat product-graham crackers-a diary product-yogurt or ice cream-or some other combination of now banned foods.

Last night though we did up dessert right!  A bowl of soy ice cream, fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries, drizzled with a little raw honey just for an extra special dose of goodness. 

Frankly I prefer the coconut milk ice cream which we'll go back to when this soy ice cream is done.  But Paulo didn't seem to care one way or another.  He just happily ate his dessert between laughing at all the silly people hurting themselves on the Big Balls of Wipe Out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye gluten

Took my baby out to breakfast Friday so he could enjoy one last good old fashioned American breakfast.  The boy loves his pancakes and eggs!  He did it up.  Started with a mug of cocoa with whipped cream.  Finished with a plate of pancakes, scrambled eggs, one bacon and one sausage.  Licked the plate clean. 

Last night though began our allergen free elimination diet.  It'll be an adjustment for him, but I hope he'll feel a difference in his allergy symptoms.  That will make it much easier to accept the lifestyle change I'm asking of him. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Holy sticker shock!!

We go, gung ho, on the elimination diet starting Monday.  In anticipation of that I had to go grocery shopping.  On top of my normal groceries I needed to explore the wonders of gluten/dairy/egg free products, i.e. breads, pastas, tortillas, etc.  My grocery bill was bit....higher than normal for one week.  True some of the things I bought today will last more than one week.  I did invest in quinoa flour so I could learn to make a new kind of pancake for my pancake loving son, that flour will last more than one week.  It was expensive though, I knew it would be, I tried to prepare myself-I failed.  It's worth it though, it's worth it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The mind of a sleeping child

Paulo has had very vivid dreams himself the past two nights.  In the wee hours of Thursday morning I was woken by a 60 pound weight laying across my chest.  I stumbled him back to his room and crawled in bed with him.  He seemed upset, he needed some extra snuggles.  Thursday morning as he brushed his teeth his dream came flooding back to him.  He had woken from a bad dream that morning, a dream of our friend, Marjie, having an accident and needing a wheel chair.  Then she had to put something on one of her legs and ended up getting electrocuted.  Uh yeah, that is a bad dream, honey.  I reassured him that Marjie was fine, it was just a dream. 

Last night he blissfully slept through the night.  I however was the one awake early from my own bad dreams.  I woke him up at 8:30 this morning so we could go out for one last good old fashioned American breakfast and asked him if he heard any music today.  No, he says, no music but he needed a lot of helpers.  He tells me that someone he knew lost all the "tubes" for their blood and he needed helpers to put them back in, and that there was a lot of blood. 

Makes me wonder where his mind will take him tonight.

Sickening smack

It was the loudest smack I've heard.  It was the sound of my child's head hitting the ground.  It was, thankfully, a dream.  But a dream vivid enough to wake me from a dead sleep at 5:30 this morning.

In it, Paulo had won the battle, I had bought him heelies.  We were in a store, Costco perhaps, and he was wheeling his way behind me.  Ironically a grown woman in front of me was also wheeling herself around the store.  (Side note, I really hate those shoes!)  I turned to look at him just in time to watch him topple backwards.  His head hit the ground with a very loud, sickening, smack.  I gasped, both in my dream and as I woke up.  It was terrible.

I've had some very vivid dreams this week.  Some of them quite disturbing.  This one was awful.  I'd like to dream about kittens and flowers tonight.....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

I noticed a while ago the number 1 popping up, actually it's the number 11.  As in 11:11, I see that combo on my clock a lot.  I also notice 1:11 a lot.   A lot more than I think I should.  More than seems merely coincidental.  

I've been pondering my place in the Universe quite a bit lately.  I feel like there's something more.  Something bubbling just below the surface you know?  Paulo is in a track and field camp this week that is put on by a rather sizable SW Portland Church.  At the end of every evening they gather the kids and talk about life lessons such as responsibility, respect, fairness-you know good stuff to pour into their little spongy minds!   His time on the field has given me a lot of time to read, I finished The Spirit Whisperer by John Holland, and started Same Soul Many Bodies by Dr. Brian Weiss.  It's also give me more time to ponder. 

A few nights ago they talked about the responsibility for your talents.  Essentially not wasting your God given abilities.  It was a nice talk, age appropriate, but it left me wondering, pondering my place, trying to decipher what I'm supposed to do in this lifetime. You see, I believe in reincarnation.  I believe that in every lifetime we have certain tasks to complete, lessons to learn, things that we must do.  And if we fail to complete that Divine To Do list then we come back and try again....and again....and again....until we get it right.  Each time on Earth allows us to fine tune the soul a little more.  We learn as we go and we start to hum at a higher frequency.  Ultimately when all our Earthly lessons are learned then....well, I don't know, I'm not there yet.

I drove home that evening, pondering.  That night I glanced at my clock.  Yes, 11:11.  It happened again the next day.  And today, not the clock this time but the expiration date of a customer's credit card, this time it was 111.  It's been happening for weeks.

I googled numerology. I like that sort of stuff. There's a site I stumbled across called Spirit Link and the subject of the repeating number patterns was addressed. In it the author refers to these numbers as a message from our higher selves, the part of us that sees beyond the horizon-poetic no? I like that. It speaks to me.  So what is the significance of the numbers I am seeing repeated?

1-Creativity, independence, originality, ego, self
11-Intuition, idealism, invention, insensitivity, fanaticism

It's a bit like a tarot reading I suppose, highly subjective.  To me though what I see is a reassurance I'm on the right path.  Encouragement to keep working on my spiritual and physical self.  To trust my intuition.  Again, it's like a tarot reading, highly subjective. 

Another site I read referred to people born under the number 1.  Those include people born from the 21st of March through the 28th of April.  April 28 is Paulo's birthday. 

I suppose some could say it's merely coincidental that the numbers 1 and 11 keep popping up, but I don't think so.  I think there's more to life than meets the eye.  I think there are signs everywhere, if only we open our eyes and see them.  There are messages, but we have to be willing to hear them.

What happened to the music?

Paulo's been sleeping late this week.  He has track camp from 6:30-8:30 every night so we don't get home until 9 and then he's not in bed until 10 ish.  That's really late for a little guy!

This morning at close to 9 am he was still snoozing.  I opened his door a crack to peek at him and I could see him stirring around.  So I decided to snuggle him awake.  I crawled in bed beside him and he sort of half raises up on his stomach and starts shaking his head and rubbing near his face.  Not on his face mind you, just in the air next to it.  Then the face changes, his eyes scrunch, his mouth scrunches and the hand?  The hand makes the rock on sign.  I watch, giggling quietly as my son starts to jam out.  Then after a few seconds he flops down and snuggles up to me.  That's when he wakes up.  His head pops up and he looks around, out to the room, back to me, a couple of times and then he says, "what happened to the music?"  Uh, there was no music, what song were you hearing?  "Boom boom pow" and at that we both dissolve into giggles.  He loves the Black Eyed Peas so much he dances to their music in his dreams.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

He's going to be OK

I'm continually amazed and proud of my sweet boy!

Paulo's at a playdate with a school buddy and the Mom had made a dairy and gluten free cake, but it had eggs.  He told her he's allergic to eggs and she called me to verify if he could have it or not.  For the record, I'm not gung ho on this until Monday-I need some time to plan out what he will eat and shop for the alternatives.  But I was really proud of him for paying attention and speaking up, basically advocating for his own health. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sorry son, no more beer for you

My sweet baby, Paulo, has been plagued by ear infections and year round allergies.  Since Valentine's day he's had 3 EIs, all in the same left ear.  Two of which ruptured.  It's really hard to watch your son experience the pain of an EI that is on the verge of rupturing.  I'd do anything to prevent that from happening again.  It was heartbreaking.

Here's a brief recap of our journey through Allergyville:
The first blood test came back with some environmental red flags but no food flags.  So I decided to proceed with skin testing.
The skin test came back positive for a lot of different pollen allergies as well as dusts and pet dander.  We decided to continue with the daily dose of Claratin and add in Nasonex.  I also decided to take him to my naturapath, Kelly.  http://theviewfrommyfoxhole.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html
Come June, and the 3rd round of infections, I took him back to the ENT we saw when he was 3 for a check out.  He thought that his allergies were the biggest culprit but wanted a scan to rule out any sinus abnormalities.  The cat scan came back showing "improvement" in his sinuses-whatever that means.  He recommended we stick with the allergy treatments and follow up with him in a month.  

By that time though I'd already decided to have food allergy blood tests done again.  This test, recommended by my naturapath was more sensitive.  Yes, I know there is such as thing as too sensitive, but this would give us a starting point for an elimination diet, if needed.  I took him off his daily allergy meds for the required week-boy was that a tough week!  We had the blood work done on the 5th of July and today was his follow up with Kelly.  The blood work results were in.  And the playing field in the old kitchen is totally changed.

My baby boy tested extremely high for egg and wheat allergies and high for dairy allergies.  Oh, and brewers yeast, sorry Paulo, no more sipping Daddy's beer-at least for now. 

The reality is, the daily breakfast of eggs and toast, waffles or pancakes that I happily have served my child nearly every single day for the past oh 4 years or so **may** be contributing to his severe allergy symptoms and his recurrent ear infections.  In the immortal words of Homer Simpson....DOH!

Where does that leave us now?  On an elimination diet.  No eggs, no wheat and no dairy for 8 weeks.  After that we will reintroduce them one at a time and monitor his symptoms.  Yeah, Momma's going to need to do a little research this weekend and some serious pantry purging.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A loaded subject-Diet

Webster defines diet as:
1 a : food and drink regularly provided or consumed b : habitual nourishment c : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason d : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one's weight

When we think of the word diet most people go directly to stage 4 of the above definition.  When the dreaded D word escapes our lips it is usually filled with self loathing and punishment.  It is loaded with negativity, deprivation and pain.  Which is so very sad.  Food is not punishment.  Food is love.  Food is life. 

I love food.  I love to plan meals.  I love the produce section of the grocery store.  I love the smell of food cooking.  I love creating new recipes.  Finding ways to make my time in the kitchen easier.  I love eating.  Oh I really, really love eating.  And I love to see my family eat well.  Food is love.  Food is life.  Without nourishment we cease to exist.  With substandard nourishment our hearts may beat, we may exist, but we do not thrive.  We are not living up to our potential, living with grace, fullfilling our Divine purpose.  I see that every day here.  Our people are not thriving.  We are merely existing, not flourishing.  What am I here for?  What are you here for?  There must be something more, a greater purpose, a Divine purpose.  But if we unwell we cannot find it let alone fullfill it. 

I started a journey toward improving my health last Spring that began with a two week detox.  An anti inflammation diet is what my naturapath called it.  It was wonderful.  It was a really positive and healthy way of living.  I felt great, more at peace, more patient, more energetic.  I began the journey for my physical health, I didn't think that changing my diet would have an effect on my emotional or spiritual self.  I was wrong.  I've found that the cleaner I live the more spiritual I feel.  I struggle to define what I believe in but whatever it is calls to me more clearly when my body is not filled with toxins. 

I've done a lot of reading since then on the different ideas and methods for keeping the body clean internally.  I've finally finished reading Natalia Rose's Detox for Women that was loaned to me by a dear friend.  I'm starting Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet next.  I really enjoyed Quantum Wellness, very inspiring book, but the full "program" was a bit too strict for me.  I like to pick up little tid bits, little pearls of wisdom, from all the different "experts" and then decide what works for me.  What makes my body feel the best?  What elevates my energy, my mental focus, chi or my "life force" as Natalia calls it.  The question has become how can I best support my physical health so that I can grow spiritually and emotionally?  Being unwell takes up too much energy, it saps the body and mind.  It limits us.  Carrying toxins around weighs us down emotionally, we cannot connect with the world around us or the people in it, when we are filled with sludge, and if we are not connected to the world then we will never do anything to improve it.  We will continue trudging through this life, never fullfilling our purpose.  I want to discover and fullfill mine.  Do you?  What will you do to get there?  And could it really be as simple as starting with our diet?  Not deprivation mind you, but nourishment

Food is love.  Food is life. 

How well do you want to live? 

Eat well.  Live well.  Be well.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I had to pick up Dimitri yesterday from the golf course that's way, way, way out off I-5 North, Heron Lakes.  I left my office at 4:30, prime rush hour, and immediately hit traffic.  I finally made it to the car pool lane and said a silent prayer of gratitude that with Paulo in the car I met the minimum people requirement to use that lane.  Finally made it to the golf course, I had a vague idea of where we were going but had never been there it was a little shaky, picked him up and started back.  Now I-5 South at 5:30, yes it took me almost a full hour to get to the Golf Course, is even worse.  So I decided to take the scenic route.

Fortunately I have a good sense of direction and knew that if I followed a certain road it would lead me to Lombard St. which I could then take to the St. John's Bridge, to Hwy 30 and ultimately back onto I-5 South.  It's a loop, but we would avoid the traffic traps known as the I-84 on ramp and the Rose Quarter.  Traffic I'm sure was even worse than normal because last night little Justin Bieber was at the Rose Quarter for a concert and thousands of screaming tweens were on their way to watch the little guy sing.  Seriously, how old is he?  I know they say he's 16 but he does not look older than 12!

Anyway, we headed off down into North Portland and immediately I'm hit.  No, not my car, my mind.  Memory after memory after memory flood my brain.  You see, I grew up over there.  I traveled that road regularly.  As I'm driving down the street it's almost an overwhelming sensation.  Look, that's the park we used to play at.  Look, there's where I used to get my hair done-back then it was a beauty school and Mom and I would go to get our hair done by the upper level students.  They also did my prom hair when I was 14-I had a much, much older boyfriend.  I sat in those chairs for hour up on hour waiting for the perm solution to take effect-oh yes, my friends, I had perms-and lots of them.  We drove further and passed our family's favorite Chinese joint-I'm sure it's not the same people running it but the building looks the same.  The Safeway was new, that used to be a Thriftway I think and there was a King's Table buffet across the parking lot that has long since been bulldozed.  Our family of 6 would go to King's Table for special dinners out, I thought that was pretty darn fancy back then.  I was especially fond of the ice cream station.  Oh the big cone of soft serve mixed chocolate and vanilla, that was my favorite.  We made it down through St. Johns, with my children being subjected to a few more oh look...there's....and then across the bridge.  The bridge I used to walk across as a child with my Mother and ride my bike across as a teenager.  I would ride my bike over the bridge and do my shopping for Outdoor School crafts with my best friend, Abbe, then we'd ride to my house and spend hours making bracelets and name tags, making beads and decorating our wood cookies.  We drove down Highway 30 towards I-5, the road I used to travel every single day of my life, and passed the street I grew up on.  The street I came home from the hospital to when I was born.  The street I lived on every year until I was 18, with the exception of 4 years of moving around.  The street where we celebrated every Christmas, every Easter, every birthday.  The street that I used to run down as a little girl to greet my Daddy when he came home from work.  The street I trudged up with my backpack heavy after school.  The street where the house still stands-for now.  The house, now empty and abandoned but still owned by my Father, needs to be demolished, it's falling down, it's unsafe.  Frankly by my standards it was probably unsafe when I lived in it too, but I didn't know any different and above all, it was home.  A few minutes walk away from the house sat a restaurant.  The restaurant that my Mother and I walked to for lunch on my 13th birthday and she gave me her ruby ring.  The building still stands, but it's an adult video store now, which makes me sad. 

I don't travel those roads anymore.  Neither literally nor figuratively.  It feels like a lifetime ago, and really, that's not far from true.  I lived there for 18 years.  I've lived elsewhere for 18 years.  And where I live today could not be farther than where I grew up, on many different levels.  Part of me feels sad about that.  There's a lot to be said for urban living.  From the outside looking in I see a greater sense of community involvement and interpersonal connections.  I look at my neighborhood, safe in the 'burbs, and I don't see any of that connectivity.  We live in a bedroom community, we live our lives elsewhere and come home to eat and sleep.  There's little opportunity for getting out and getting to know my neighbors.  If I want a latte, I have to get in my car and drive a couple of miles.  When you live in an urban area chances are, you can walk.  It might not be Starbucks-who am I kidding Starbucks are everywhere!-but you can walk down the street and get a latte.  Not me.  I think I'd like it though. 

I'm glad I decided to take that scenic route.  The timing was right, I was nostalgic and a little emotional already because of my birthday.  It was good to remember where I came from and also how far I've come.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

36 starts off just fine

I honestly don't have many birthday memories.  I remember my 13th, my mother handed down the ruby ring that her mother gave her when she turned 13.  I love that ring.  I remember my 15th, my parents took my friends and I out to Elmers for breakfast, we decided we'd wear our jammies....I was the only one that wore mine!  Mind you they were not the jammies I slept in that night, oh no, I dressed for the occasion in a throat to toe red flannel nightie, long sleeved, and about 6 sizes too big.  I have pictures.  I thought I was HILARIOUS!  I also thought I was quite grown up at 15 sitting there at a restaurant, in my jammies, drinking coffee.  I remember one birthday getting a pink thong from my big sister, I'm not sure what age I was, a teenager I know, but the number escapes me, 16 perhaps.  The memory doesn't escape me though because I had no idea which was the back and which was the front! 

I don't remember turning 30.  Paulo was 2.5 months old.  I was fully engrossed in being his Mommy.  I remember 35-last year-because I took Dimitri to the midnight showing of Harry Potter 6.  I think, hope rather, I will remember this one.

I woke this morning somewhat groggy from a later than good for me night.  But at some point during the night or wee hours of the morning my husband had slipped my birthday card and a chocolate on to my nightstand.  When I saw it he told me, there's something special in your chocolate.  Well yeah, there's always something special in chocolate, it's called chocolate!  But seriously, he had folded up a paper and put it in the wrapper.  The paper was an advertisement we'd received recently for a massage special at a new place in Beaverton.  Inside the paper was money.  On the paper was written July 14 10:30.....huh?  Oh yeah, he booked a massage for me!  DURING THE WORK DAY!!  Good husband, major brownie points-perhaps he speaks my language after all.  I got downright giddy and giggled like a little girl.  Totally put a spring in my step!  I did the morning breakfast with him and then with the boys and loaded them into the car and headed for the gym.  I got to go to the gym before my massage, could the day get better?!  Yes, yes it could.  The massage was actually great.  Better than my last one and much needed.  After that was my annual lunch date with my Daddy, sushi, oh yeah, good day...very good day.  I finally rolled into work at 1:00 with lattes in hand, one for me and one for my Prince Charming who scheduled me a massage!  My day got even better when my wine sales rep told me he was sending me a little gift with my next shipment of wine we buy for our customers whose bills surpass that dreaded 1K mark, the wonderful man is sending me a case of wine, a case, to celebrate my birthday!  My three boys and I enjoyed a dinner out and then finally finished watching Avatar this evening.  All in all it was a delightful day.

Celebrating my birthday actually started last Sunday though at my In Law's house.  That too was, dare I say, just about perfect.  The weather was great.  The food was amazing.  The people I loved were there-well most of them anyway.  I would say that this birthday ranks easily at the top of my list.  I felt loved.  I felt special.  I felt validated.  I wish I could say I always feel like that on my birthday but the truth is, I haven't, but today, today I do.  I feel all that and more and I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Speaking the same language

Are you and your partner speaking the same language?  There's been a lot of chatter on a Mommy board I have been part of since my son was a babe about The Love Languages.  I would guess that 99% of the population knows about the Five Love Languages series of books, there's even love languages for kids and teens books now-what's next? Dogs and cats?  The basic premise is that the way we express love and need to receive love differs from person to person so you and your partner, in this case my husband Rene, may not be speaking the same language which can-understandably-lead to conflict, hurt feelings, missed opportunities and ultimately enough anger to keep that divorce rate ticking steadily up. 

I took the on line test and my primary language, as expected, was words of affirmation.  Kudo me! Kudo me! Kudo me!  For me though, it's not just random, hey you're looking hot today kudos.  I do not define myself by my appearance.  Do I appreciate a compliment when I've taken some time on my appearance?  Of course.  But it is not who I am.  How do I define myself?  By how well I take care of my family.  So where do I want to be fed?  In the caretaker realm of my life.  If I love you I feed you.  If you love me, tell me I fed you well!  I am a caretaker, a nurturer, the one to keep your plate full and your glass topped off with wine.  I love, love, LOVE being a mother.  Yes, they drive me crazy sometimes, but I cannot imagine a day without them.  When Paulo spends the night at his Grandma's I miss him.  It's usually less than 16 hours that he's gone but I miss him!  I don't like looking in his room and seeing his bed empty.  It's painful.  If I'm here, he should be here.  With Dimitri I had to get used to the empty bed.  It's always been that way for roughly half of the time due to the joint custody arrangement with Rene's ex wife.  But I still don't like it.  No one does.  The family is not complete when Dimitri is not home.  So for me, my cup needs to be filled in that arena.  Because, let's face it, taking care of others while rewarding is also draining.  It drains my emotional piggy bank dry some weeks. 

I was trying to explain all this to my husband last night-not sure how much he really gets, because we speak different languages.  See, his primary language is touch, he needs to take the full test though because I want to see where the rest of his percentages lie.  I told him last night that I think we should read the book.  By reading, I mean I should read the book and I'll have to get the audio version for him.  I love my husband, but that man hates to read-which I cannot understand in the least.  If you look at my nightstand right now I have not one but three books I'm in the process of reading.  I love books.  Love feeling it in my hands.  Love the smell.  Love the process of turning page after page filling my mind, feeding my soul.  He.....does not share my love.  OK then, audio book for Rene, book book for me.  So, off to my library website I go this morning and what do I find?  The library owns 8 copies of the book....they are all checked out at the moment....and there are 30 holds placed already.  HUH?!  Wow!  That's a lot of people speaking different languages.  I'm happy though that they are taking advantage of the wonderful library system we have, and hopefully improving their marriages in the process, but not so pleased I'm going to have buy the books if I want to read them before, say, Paulo starts high school!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Life does not go according to plan

I came to work today to find an email from the mother of one of Paulo's classmates.  She had forwarded an email from another classmate's family.  Come to find out that a healthy, vibrant, mother who I've spoken to many times, who has had my son over for a play date with her son, she suffered not one but two strokes last month.  Wow.  It really stunned me.  This is not something that I think about happening to my peer group. 

A stroke?  That doesn't happen to my peer group.  Of course I know it does.  It happens to all age brackets.  Strokes are not picky, they are not age specific.  They happen.  They sneak up on a person and change their life in the blink of an eye. 

Fortunately this woman's older children were there and noticed something was wrong with Mom-how terrifying for them!  They called 911 right away and she was whisked to OHSU which has a world renowned brain center.  She's been in a rehab facility for a few weeks and is due to come home soon-sooner than expected I might add.  She's made progress but there's no way to know how this will affect her in the long run. 

In the blink of an eye a family is forever altered.  They're a wonderful family.  A strong family.  She's a strong woman.  They have a lot of positives going for them, but this will still change their family.  And it's all so unexpected. 

We plan for so much in life but the big stuff, the big life altering events, we cannot plan for those.  We just have to be prepared to roll with the punches, and that to me is scary.  I like to be in control.  But there's only so much I can control.  I can stay healthy, I can eat right, exercise and watch my sodium intake but another driver can miss a stop sign, and forever change my family.  There is only so much I can control. 

Knowing this happened to one of my son's classmate's Mom, one of my peer group, shakes me up.  I cannot imagine how scared that little dude must be to see his Mom like that.  How hard it must be for all of them.  She's strong though.  I have faith that she will recover, but it will take time.  In the meantime it makes me want to kiss my babies more.  It reminds me not to sweat the small stuff-cause this is huge, this is really huge stuff they're dealing with.  I'm also reminded that, while I'm not in control of the world, I'm not in control of when or how I die, I am in control of a lot and I need to let that empower me, to let that be my focus, to guide me and encourage me.  And I need to go kiss my babies.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Made it through

Every time I quit caffeine I have 24-36 hours of pain.  I **think** I've made it through relatively unscathed.  Now I need to figure out how to balance my love of a good cup of coffee with my need to remain, well, balanced. 

After this week of no alcohol, no meat and no caffeine I'm starting to feel normal again.  I find it interesting how foods and drinks affect my sense of well being so deeply.  I never made the connection until recently.  I mean, yes, I've always known we are what we eat but food really makes a difference in my mood and overall state of mind.  And it's not like I've been starving myself this week, quite the contrary!  Last night we feasted on a big tossed salad with homemade vinaigrette and then the main course was polenta topped with sauteed red onion, asparagus, mushroom, artichoke hearts and kalamata olives.  For the carnivores I added some crispy pancetta.  It was quite a tasty dinner, I impressed myself!  Truth is, I really, really like food.  I just struggle with balance-which is my recurring theme to this life I think.  Balance.  The search for it.  The struggle with it.  The loss of it.  The renewed search...struggle....trying not to lose it again. 

I'm heading into the weekend and this weekend I have some dinners planned.  Dinners out that is.  Dinners with darling friends that often bring out the worst in my pendulum, well one friend does anyway, he's quite the encourager if you know what I mean.  I've already discussed this with myself though, I will enjoy my dinner out.  I will allow for a glass or two of wine, but no more.  And no hard alcohol.  Which is unfortunate considering we're going to a restaurant famous for their tequila.  On Sunday we have dinner planned at my in laws for my coming birthday.  Again, I will stick with my vino, which seems much kinder to my psyche than hard alcohol, although I'm not sure why.  I will remain conscious in my choices.  I will remain in charge.  I will remain balanced.  I owe it to myself.  Balance should be wrapped up in a pretty bow and be my birthday gift to myself I think.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I want.....

A latte.  Perhaps even a double latte.  The caffeine withdrawal headache has kicked in to high gear.  The lovely cup of green tea is not doing shit.  Neither is the advil.

The annoying thing?  Knowing I let myself get addicted, again, to caffeine.  I know I just need to tough it out for a few more hours.  It'll pass, it always does. 

Oh and on a somewhat unrelated side note, apparently I look dehydrated.  I was at New Seasons wandering their beauty products aisle-probably looking totally lost-when a sweet, young girl-with perfect skin- asked if she could help.  Why yes, I said, I'm looking for a new face cleanser, one without yucky stuff in it, that will be gentle on my skin.  We talked a bit more about price and if I thought my skin was dry or not.  No I told her, actually I'm prone to break outs depending on my cycle.  Oh she says....you look a little dehydrated.  Ouch, not generally used to describe one that is looking healthy huh?  I left with a lovely new facial cream cleanser, I'll try it out, if I like it I might buy myself the matching lotions.  And then I came back to work and drank more water.

Coffee is my gateway drug

It's day two.  Day two of no coffee in the morning.  It's also day two of no added sugars and no alcohol.  I did a two week anti inflammation diet/cleanse in March during which I cut alcohol, sugar, meat and caffeine from my food supply.  I felt really good-once the initial body shock wore off.  Since then I've tried to maintain my reduced caffeine intake, but I've noticed it creeping up.  And as it crept up, with an extra cup here, a latte there or a diet coke here and there, I've noticed my sense of well being tick down....down......down.

Creeping up along side it was sugar and alcohol.  Now those two go hand in hand for me.  When I have a couple of drinks I crave sugar.  It's insane.  I find myself standing in my pantry, seemingly not in control of my hands, shoveling handfuls of mini marshmellows into my mouth.  I want sugar, in any form, and lots of it.  Then the crash comes, both from my body burning off the booze and from the massive sugar dump into my blood and that's when I really feel like crap.  I get bitchy too!  No fun for anyone!

So I decided on Monday that enough was enough.  I needed to rein it back in.  I need to remind my drugs (and yes I do consider sugar a drug) just who is in charge here!  Uh, who is in charge?  Oh yeah, me.  Sure...I'm in charge....I'm in charge....hey, I am in charge.  Yesterday when I got up I made my tea while I made Rene's coffee.  I didn't miss the coffee-much.  Although by 8:00 or so at night I had a headache, might have been related to the missing caffeine, might just have been a headache.  The boys had sweets for dessert during Wipe Out, I did not.  Frankly I was full from dinner, but sometimes full or not I am not able to say no to a cookie.  And, most importantly, I went to sleep early.  That's a tough one for me too.  That's another thing that I've noticed.  I've been sleeping less, which is very very bad for me. 

This week I am returning the focus to my health and well being.  I will take better care of myself by eating well.  I will sleep more.  I will *try* to relax-that's been tough for me too lately, pretty much since May I've been tense.  I think some of that is just psychic tension, May-4 years ago was really tough on me, then June-4 years ago my Mom died.  And July is my birthday and honestly I'm always tense around my birthday, I need to work on that, I know I do, but it's hard.  So pretty much from May-July I have all these emotional triggers that pop up at random times and derail me.  I've not really been conscious of that before, but now that I am I think next year can be different.  I feel like I've been on auto pilot, just trying to get through it all, but when you go on auto pilot life happens to you, you don't happen to life and that's not the way I want to live. 

For today though I will continue my narrow focus, no caffeine, no sugar, no alcohol until I feel better inside.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mommy's flub

I'm so frustrated.  To make matter worse, I'm frustrated with...myself.  Paulo has suffered through 7 days with no allergy meds.  Why?  So he could get his blood draw done today and be tested for food allergies.   It's gotten progressively worse for his poor nose.  We're neti-potting both at bedtime and first thing in the morning.  The poor little dude can hardly breathe when he wakes, he's so plugged up.

Last night I went to my purse to get the paperwork for the lab.....where's my paperwork?  Don't know.  I put the print out my naturapath gave me that told me where to go today in my planner.  The lab paperwork though?  MIA.  The lab can't do anything without the order from the doc.  I had brought the papers with me to work last Thursday so I could call the lab and ask about drug interactions.  I swear I put the damn papers in my planner...yet they obviously are not there.  I start to panic.  Around 9:00 my husband volunteers to go check my desk at the shop since if they aren't in my purse-which I've emptied multiple times-then they must be at the office right?  I must have left them on my desk right??  Wrong.  Rene drives all the way to work, getting stuck in construction traffic in Tigard, checks my desk, my drawer where I put my personal crap, sorts through my piles o'paperwork, nothing.  No lab order.  Drives all the way back home, getting stuck again in construction traffic, we continue looking high and low, nothing.  No lab order.  Panic.....

We get up early today and I bribe my sleepy son with promise of breakfast out to compensate for the unholy hour I've woken him up.  He's not happy, but the bribe works.  He's up, we neti-because again the poor kid cannot breathe in the morning-get dressed and hit the road.  Stop for a lovely breakfast, just the two of us, then go to the shop for one last look.  My last ditch effort, check my recycling bin.  Maybe, just maybe, I recycled it.  Fortunately my bin is big and doesn't need to be emptied everyday.  I pull up and am greeted at the door by Rene with a sad face and a shaking head, nope, not there either, he checked this morning.  Panic.  Naturally I needed to paw through it myself, just to be sure.  Nothing.  No lab order.   Where the F is this thing?!?  I mean really?  Where is it?!  I have no idea where the damn thing disappeared to.  I call my doc's office, they're not open, leave a panicked voice mail on the phone and set off to find the National College of Natural Medicine which, by the way, is almost impossible to find.  I'm from Portland and I was driving in circles until I finally, by dumb luck, found the sign pointing me to turn right.  So at this point, I'm pissed I lost the paperwork and I'm frustrated that I am lost, in my hometown. 

We arrive, wander the grounds for a few minutes until we find the clinic-Paulo by the way is still treating this as an adventure.  Go in and go back to the lab only to be told, as expected, there's nothing we can do without the lab order.  We walk away and I lose it.  I am not a crier.  But I was so frustrated this morning I sat in my car and cried.  We sat there for about a half hour in case Kelly got the message and was able to fax over the order to the clinic and we sat there so I could sniffle in relative safety.  Driving through tears while blowing ones nose is not the safest thing to do!  Finally I gave up and drove my son to his Grandma's.  At this point, it ceased to be an adventure.  Paulo realized that without the blood work he still can't take the Claratin and now...now he's pissed.  Who's he pissed at?  Me.  I would be too if I were him. 

Come to find out though all my panic was for nothing.  I called the lab back to reschedule for his blood work and the nice lady that saw me panic this morning told me that regardless of the paperwork they would not have been able to take his blood today.  You see, when I made the appointment last week no one asked what lab my son's blood was going to.  It's going to a lab up in Washington.  Apparently they only take blood going to that particular lab on Monday through Thursday.  That is so they can over night the blood to the lab during the work week.  This makes sense.  I get the logic.  I wish I'd thought to tell them where my baby's blood was going when I made the appointment.  I certainly won't make that mistake again.

The other mistake I won't make again?  Procrastinating.  The irony is not lost on me, I, the one that constantly nags my teenager not to procrastinate, waited until the last possible moment to check my paperwork for Paulo's appointment.  And what happened?  Damn paperwork was not where I was sure I had left it.  I was positive it was in my planner.  I suspect though this episode of missing paperwork is closely tied to my June fog.   I'm trying to cut myself some slack, Rene keeps telling me it's not the end of the world, but he's not the one that lost the freaking papers.  Nor is he the one that was so frustrated that she said "I don't know where the fucking papers are!" to her mother in law.  Yes, the f bomb slipped right out of the hanger and dropped right onto my pretty, polite and proper Mother in Law's ears.  Nice, real charming, huh?  It's been quite a day, folks, I'd like to go back to bed and press restart.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Emerging from the fog

June passed.  I'm grateful.

It was an insanely busy month.  Paulo and I took a trip to Canada for my friend's wedding.  We had trips to OMSI, the end of the school year festivities, Father's Day trips to the movies, out of town guests and of course the big surprise party.  And let's not forget the day to day of running a business and maintaining a home.

The month was a blur.  I look back over it and it feels foggy.  Like it happened to someone else.  I am emerging from the fog though.  I feel clearer, more capable, more focused.  Which is good, because July really isn't any less busy than June was! 

Need to remember to slow down the mind.  That was a tough thing in June.  The racing mind.  The faster the mind went the less I got done though.  Slow....it......down.....  One day at a time, right?  One crisis at a time, right?  How about no crisis?  That sounds good to me!