Friday, November 11, 2005

Leaf abstract

Leaf abstract, photo by Mary Stebbins. This is leaves on grass with intentional camera movement. Really. I was going to call it star trails on a green sky, but decided to go isntead with the truth. Posted by Picasa

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
Coarse, dry hair
Dry, rough pale skin
Hair loss
Cold intolerance
(can't tolerate the cold like those around you)
Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
Memory loss
Abnormal menstrual cycles
Decreased libido

Each individual patient will have any number of these symptoms which will vary with the severity of the thyroid hormone deficiency and the length of time the body has been deprived of the proper amount of hormone. Some patients will have one of these symptoms as their main complaint, while another will not have that problem at all and will be suffering from a different symptom. Most will have a combination of a number of these symptoms. Occasionally, some patients with hypothyroidism have no symptoms at all, or they are just so subtle that they go unnoticed.

For more info

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sara at Danzer's

Sara at Danzer's, photo by Mary Stebbins

Waiting for the slow slow service and the bad bad food. (except the apple fritters were very tasy.) Posted by Picasa

Eating Out

After the best two-night's sleep of the past several months, last night was not so good.  I went to bed around midnight and feel asleep relatively well, but woke up at 3:48 and could not go back to sleep.  So I had less than 3 hours and 48 minutes of sleep and I'm "tired but wired."  I had all my usual "heeby-jeeby" symptoms, restlessness, twitching, itchy, crawly skin etc.  And that wide awake never going to sleep again feeling, even though I was tired and wanted to sleep.


The two nights I slept well, I ate at home, and ate healthy food in reasonable portions.  Last night, Sara and I ate out at Danzer's, after visiting my mother together at Loretto nearby.  I had a salad composed of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and rye-bread croutons with Italian dressing, chicken schnitzel (fried in "butter"!), German potato salad, and mixed vegetables, lemon water, and apple fritters.  Then, when I got home, I was having a little heartburn and ate some Tums.  They were assorted berry Tums and have artificial flavor and color.  I never thought of that as a source of a potential hazard.


This was an unhealthy meal in a variety of ways:


Ø       Fried food and butter are bad for my cholesterol

Ø       I'm allergic to dairy, it worsens my asthma and fibro (and may keep me awake?)

Ø       Potatoes, tomatoes (and all nightshades) are bad for my arthritis and neck problem (and may exacerbate my insomnia??)

Ø       It was too big, and fattening.  I don't need big fattening meals.  I don't need to be fat, fat exacerbates my arthritis, fibro, sleep disturbances etc)

Ø       It gave me heartburn and the Tums had artificial color and flavor and sweetener, any of which could be causing my sleep disturbance and affecting my ADHD


Besides which, it didn't taste good.  I didn't like it, except the apple fritters.  Never will I order that again.  The chicken was so dried out it was like shoe leather and the German potato salad tasted like it came out of a can.


After two nice nights where I was starting to feel better, it was very disappointing to have a bad night.


One other thing:  I started the thyroid supplements (pills, Synthroid) yesterday, and I don't know how that factors into the equation.


And now I also have a bit of a tummy ache.  It's fairly mild and has already improved a little.


It's very cold out, and windy.  I slept with an extra fleece on last night.  It's supposed to snow today.


I hope I can sleep tonight.  Tomorrow I have to drive to Hamilton.  I WANT to drive to Hamilton to see my sweetie.  I was so hoping I would be rested and feel well so we could have lots of fun today.  I am more cheerful and happy and less grumpy and crank when I am rested and not in pain.  I want to be happy with my sweetie and have fun.  I don't want to fall asleep on the road.  I hope all the eating out there doesn't make me feel worse.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New Moon

New Moon, by Mary Stebbins. It's pretty faint. Can you see it? The new moon is a time for new beginnings. A time of hope. Posted by Picasa

IBS meds and sleep

Yesterday at the P&C on the shelf next to the Tums I discovered a "new product" (labeled that by the store) for IBS and decided to try it, which I did, when I got home.

Normally, I never get sleepy any more.  If I go to bed early, I lay there for hours bored out of my mind.  What I usually do is stay up doing stuff until I am falling down exhausted, then fall into bed and hopefully pass out.  But last night, for the first time in months if not years, I was nodding out, literally falling asleep in my chair and had to go to bed and then actually slept.

Was it the meds?  I don't know.  But it's a strong coincidence.

I worry though, about the meds, as I know nothing about them, what the do, how they operate, what the side effects might be.  They are supposed to cure both diarrhea and constipation, oddly enough.  I'd like to do some research in my spare time cough cough.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Monday, November 07, 2005

Autumn at Loretto

Autumn at Loretto, by Mary Stebbins. This is my Mom. Posted by Picasa


Cracked, photo by Mary Stebbins Posted by Picasa

The Nightmare of Dementia

"I've been trying to remember the name of my street," my mother says to me, when I arrive at Loretto, the nursing home where she now lives. “And I finally did!”

"Oh," I ask, “and what is it?" I inquire.

"Ellsworth Ave," she says, and I nod. Yep.

I've given up arguing or explaining.

There is no point in telling her that she hasn't lived on Ellsworth Ave for more than sixty years. She won't remember for even 30 seconds.

She wants me to take her there, now that she has finally remembered, again, for the hundredth time. She remembers very few minutes. I try telling her she lives here, at the nursing home. I try telling her I'm busy and have other plans. I try telling her she’ll miss dinner. Nothing works. She insists that I take her to Ellsworth Ave.

Instead, I take her for a walk. Every little while, she tells me she doesn’t know where she left her car. Or that Pa is home waiting for her and she needs to go home and make dinner for him. If I mention he's dead, she's horrified, for 30 seconds, and then forgets.

As I push her wheelchair past trees with lovely autumn color, she carries on a running monologue repeating certain themes. "I don't know where I am, I've lost the car, I need to get home, I need to check on Grandma. I have to see to Aunt Anna." I’ve never even met her Aunt Anna. I've never even heard of her until now, it was that long ago.

I try to assure her that everything is OK, but of course, it's not OK. Everyone she's looking for is dead. And she is unwell. Her confusion makes things worse. She's living a nightmare.

Her life is a living nightmare. Upsetting for her and terrifying to me. I could be following right behind into that well of darkness.

(Some oriental dream work teaches the student to lucid dream for the purpose of acquiring the necessary skill to wake up and become conscious during the hallucinations that accompany dying so that one can move serenely into the land of the dead. But how can one become conscious in the dream-reality of dying if one is not lucid to begin with?)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

the global warming stomach ache

OK, OK, I know I am always coming up with these hare-brained theories, but here's my latest one:  My allergies are cumulative, not anaphylactic.  Thank goodness.  I guess.  All the various sensitivities combine for a total toxic load.  My worst allergy is ragweed which generally begins in August and lasts through the first killing frost, usually in late Spetember or early October.  But it's November and we have yet to have a killing frost so the total toxic load continues to increase, thus making me more sensitive to other environmental toxins.

This is an answer to the question, IF it's the feathers giving me the stomach ache (and we don't know yet if it is), then why NOW, why is it so much worse than before?

Perhaps--just perhaps--it's a global warming stomach ache.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

If it isn't one thing

I was all wired and buzzed from my drive and the coffee and chocolate I had to stay awake, and I didn't lie down until after two--then I couldn't sleep--it was so incredibly cold in the chouse and the water bed was like a heat sink.  I finally got up and moved into Erin's room and eventually got warm, but I never really did more than doze a little and am up again. 

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Medicinal Chocolate

I didn't sleep all night last night, too sick. Then had to drive all day. So I started the journey with a half of a large chocolate bar and topped it off with an extra large coffee. Made it home safe. Wired, but safe.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's 2 Am, do you know where your stomach is?

Yesterday, I thought I was getting better, but I had a worse night last night.  I was basically awake all night with a terrible stomach ache.  I was up and down, and when I was down, I was thrashing.  My stomach hurt no matter which was I lay.  I will be setting out today to drive 416 miles to NY from Michigan and virtually no sleep last night and very little in the preceding week.  In addition to my stomach ache, my insomnia was really bad, and all the attendant issues that go with that.  Itchy crawly skin, restless legs, etc.  Not once during the entire night did I have that delicious sleepy feeling.  I did doze a little off and on.  But not much.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Monday, October 31, 2005

Sick for Days

It was a gorgeous beautiful day yesterday, and we drove out to Belle Isle for a walk, but I was so sick that I couldn't walk. I was sick all weekend (and all of the preceding week), with a painful belly ache--apparently the same one Keith had on his birthday and the weekend after when we visited Gail. I got out of the car and only managed to walk a few steps and had to have Keith drive me home. Even lying down didn't help. But it was all I could manage to do.

Lying down was uncomfortable and I had to get up and sit, and that was uncomfortable so I tried a different chair. Nothing helped.

I am hoping this will pass soon, because I have so much to do to prepare for my opening, and I am falling further and further behind.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Robot Boy

 Posted by Picasa

High-Brow (Alfie)

This is Gail's other new kitten, the boy, High-Brow (Alfie--short for Alfalfa). Photo by Mary Stebbins Posted by Picasa

Feeling Cranky

Last night I was cranky and irritable and I hadn’t had coffee, chocolate, mint, black or green tea or ginger. Of course, I had insomnia.

This is what I ate: an omelette made with egg beaters and one real egg, turkey sausage (fresh), mushrooms (fresh garden), zucchini, two slices of garlic bread which I accidentally buttered with real butter, bran, prunes. AND then: scalloped potatoes made with rice milk, fake cheese (veganrella), ham, shallots, garlic, white flour. Two slices of toast with margarine and bran, prunes. That was the sum total of what I ate for the day.

Suspect: white bread and white flour, shallots, garlic, potato (I ate one), butter. I cannot believe that the amount of butter I ate could make me feel THAT bad. I don’t understand it.


Elphi (Elphaba), one of Gail's new kittens (the female). Photo by Mary Stebbins
Posted by Picasa

“Drove My Chevy to the Levy”

Keith gets up at 4:20 every morning, so by the time we get Graham to bed and he reads me a selection from our current book (The Dollmaker, by Harriet Arnow, lent to us by Gail), it’s late for him and he’s very tired.

Last night, as often happens, he went to bed before me (thought I’d rather go in with him, I had things I needed to do). When I went in, a little while later, he was all warm and snug. I woke him for a brief cuddle and then he went back to sleep. I couldn’t sleep—my usual insomnia. I was lying beside him, not too close, with one hand resting lightly on his butt, when I heard him emit a high sound of surprise and fear and his warm butt went instantly cold and goose-bumps rose on his butt. They were the largest goose-bumps I’d ever felt in my life.

I said, “Keith, are you all right?”

He said, “Oh, thank you for saving me.” He then proceeded to tell me that he and I and someone else were out on a very long pier when we looked up and saw a huge Tsunami rear up and roar toward us. We turned and ran toward shore, and Keith was thinking, terrified, “This will be the day that I die.” (And that was when I woke him.)

(Drove my Chevy to the Levy, but the levy was dry, and good boys were drinking whisky and rye singing this will be the day that I die)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Keith SIck

Keith Sick, photo by Mary Stebbins

Keith has been sick for several days. He got sick on his birthday, the day he turned 60, Wednesday, October 19, 2005. He's been sick now for 4 and a half days.

We went to Gail's today. He laid on the sofa being sick. Not all day, but off and on a good part of it.
Posted by Picasa

Diary of an Insomniac, 10/23/05

I don't want to die.  I know we all have to die sometime, but I would rather it be later than sooner.


I've got allergies, tonight, or a cold, or both.  It's often hard for me to tell the difference.  My nose is clogged, and I can't breathe.  At all.  Not through my nose.


I took an antihistamine, but it only helped for a little while.  Meanwhile, I got the Sahara Desert sirocco in my nostrils and sinuses.  Ouch—hot winds!  Horrible.  It really hurt.  Ok, you're saying, you're ridiculous.  Maybe I am.  I seem to be overly sensitive about everything relative to other people.  But that didn't take away the pain as I experienced it.


Then the congestion returned, all of it.  I can't get a breath of air through my nostrils.


If I can't breathe through my nose, I can't wear my CPAP.  If I can't wear my CPAP, I can't sleep.  My doctor says, never sleep without the CPAP, you could die.  I don't want to die.  I think I said that.  I must admit, though, that I was so tired, I tried sleeping anyway.  I slept for just under two hours from 10:35 or so until 12:30.  It's 3:25 AM and I've been up ever since.  I can't sleep.


I have sleep apnea, and my throat closes up when I sleep.  The soft tissues relax and close the air passage.  My body is literally smothering itself.  Usually, I wake up in a panic gasping for air.  But, the doctor says, sometime, I might just not wake up.  I might die instead.  People do.  I don't want to die.


It might help if I could lose weight, but sleep apnea causes weight gain and I can't seem to lose weight.  It might not help anyway, but I'd like to give it a try.


Meanwhile, I can't sleep, so I am sitting up.  But I might go lie down.  Try again.  I'm so very tired.


Meanwhile, I am charging my camera battery so I can download the pix from our trip to Gail's.  That will take a couple hours.  I sure don't want to sit and wait for it.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Friday, October 14, 2005

Mary a Elmwood by Keith

Mary at Elmwood, photo by Keith Taitt Posted by Picasa

Love Never Fails

In the Bible, I Corinthians 13, it says, "Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,a lways perserveres.  Love never fails.  . . . The greatest of these is love."
I feel sad when I read this becasue I certainly fall short of "the glory of God" in my ability to love--I am way too human!  It is unfortunate!  I want love that never fails. love that never keeps a record of wrongs.  Love that is not easily angered.  I want perfection, but am so imperfect.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

In the Palm of your Hand

In the palm of your hand, photo of Gerardia by Mary Stebbins (fallen blossom).

This picture reminds me of our love. It lies nestled in the palm of your hand, nurtured by your choices, my choices, our choices. I don't want it to wilt, but to stay forever fresh! Posted by Picasa

Unconditional LOVE

 I am reading a book on unconditional love and am happy to see that it's author,Joey O'Connor, says the following, and I quote:
"A dysfunctional understanding of unconditional love is that it is possessive, needy, clingy, controlling or all-giving.  True unconditional love has limits, borders and boundaries.  In regard to certain behaviors and choices, unconditional love sets limits and so should we.  Unconditional love does not allow an abuser to keep abusing, a control freak to keep controlling, and an enabler to keep enabling.  True unconditional love can and must say, 'stop it or else.'  It can also say, 'wait, not now, we'll see.'  Unconditional love is not a sentimental journey into wishful thinking.  It is not living in the tunnel vision of the tunnel of love.  It enables us to keep our hearts and minds wide open to new possibilities, options, choices and discoveries.
Unconditional love requires work."
I haven't read the whole book yet, so I don't know what else he says.  I want that we should work and play at love.  And keep it.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Small Barn in New Hampshire

Small Barn in New Hampshire, Sepia; photo by Mary Stebbins
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Allergic to everything: The food hermit

The doctor said, don't call it an allergy, call it a "sensitivity." but it seems to amount the same thing. If I eat the way the doctor wants me to eat, I have to live in solitary confinement. I can't visit my friends and have a communal meal. No one can remember that nearly everything makes me sick. Yesterday, we had seafood chowder with lots of butter and half 'n half. Of course, I'm allergic to dairy. The day before, we had sausage soup--my doctor says no sausage, too high in cholesterol. For lunch, we had a burrito casserole with both cheese and soy. Soy exascerbates my fibromyalgia! AK! We had apple pie with sugar and fat--all bad according to my doctor. It all tasted wonderful of course! But "poisonous!"

The half-filled chowder bowl

Last night, we all worked together making seafood chowder. Tom cut potatoes, I cut onions and garlic, Rosy and Rita ripped apart whole cooked lobster, removing the tasty morsels. We sauteed the onions and garlic in real butter and added half and half. While it was cooking, Rosy was trying to find a book she had ordered. It hadn't come--out of stock. And she couldn't find it anywhere, except for $379 for what had been a $20 book. She got more and more morose and went down, in a funk, to the shed where she lives. When the chowder was ready, Tom called down several times on the intercom to invite her up, but she didn't come. We started eating without her. A while later she came up in tears wanting to know where the breaker was for the shed. Tom got up from his half finished meal and went to help her. When he returned some time later, he threw his bread in the woodstove and went upstairs. His half eaten soup sat across from me. Neither Tom not Rosy every returned to supper. I washed the dishes and Rita cleaned up the stove and counters. I felt terrible. This morning I realized that part of why I was upset is that I felt somehow to blame, because Tom had been sitting with me, talking to me. And he never returned to me; I felt unloved and abandoned. As if I had somehow offended him.

It probably was not me. But I do have issues with other people's anger. It's very hard for me to cope with.


It's raining. It rained all day yesterday. I'm visiting near Portland Maine. We tried to put a good face on it and went out to the Old Port to visit the Fish Market and the Wharves. We got soaked. Then we went to Fort Williams and the Portland Headlight and Two lights. It was pouring and very windy and the wind went sideways and we got soaked and cold.

We gave up and went home. Built a fire in the woodstove, drank hot tea. I was still cold and damp when I went to bed.

It's still raining. It's supposed to rain all day today and tomorrow--and straight through to Wednesday. Then I'm going home. I have to admit, the rain is dampening my spirits a little. It makes the kind of vacation activities I like to do--walking, exploring, taking pictures--very difficult. I'm tempted to buy a rainsuit.

* * *

When I complain about problems with my vacation, sad because I can't play, I start feeling guilty thinking of the people who died in the Tsunami and the hurrican victims in NEw Orleans and vicinity. My problems seem pretty mild in comparison. Still, I am supposed to walk 45 minutes a day, a difficult prospect in all this rain. (I took pictures--hope to post some when I get home). More.

Friday, September 30, 2005

My mother is in Loretto Nursing Home and has dementia from a brain tumor she had, now gone. To help her remember me, I have been trying to include my picture on the postcards I make for her. This is a hard postcard sent by snail mail. She doesn't due computers. LOL! It's not a great picture of me, I look really tired. I took it of myself when I was alone on the brink of the cliff at SIlk Creek Retreat. Posted by Picasa

Us, in Hamilton

Us, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

(taken by a stranger we met in the woods) Posted by Picasa

A note to Keith after hearing Neil Young

“Sometimes, when people get married, they adapt their personalities to their partners and lose their creativity.” Neil Young, in an NPR interview heard Friday, September 30, 2005 on Fresh Air. He says his wife did not demand that of him. (Also hear Neil Young with Scott Simon.)

I would like to get his new album, Prairie Wind.

I would like to be able to love you and be your wife and have a partnered joint life without losing my creativity or myself. Conversely, I would like to avoid having a negative impact on your creativity and your you-ness (me-ness). I want you to be you, to have and do the things you love, and I want me to be me and to have and do the things I love and at the same time, have together time and shared possessions.

This is a sort of tight-rope walk. I want to love you as you are, not try to change you. And I want the same from you. At the same time, if neither of us change at all, there may never be a real, deeply developed us.

For example (and this is only one example), for me, one of the issues of there being an US is Susan, who seems to intrude on every aspect of our lives, especially in the house, where everything seems to be hers, and has to be done her way. I would like there to be an our way, not a “her way.” An our house, not a her house. But if I complain about the fact that it makes me feel unloved and left out etc, then I feel as if I am asking you to change and give up something important to you. And then I think, well, if Susan is that important to you, what am I doing with you? That makes me want to leave. Every time you do one of your classic Susan things, I feel like you don’t love me. So yes, then I want you to change. I want the hurting to stop. Or I want to leave. But then, am I forcing you to give up who YOU are? I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to take away something that’s so important to you that you can’t even throw away her retainer!

I don’t want to feel like a bad person, depriving you of something important. But if what is important to you excludes me, then how is there an US? Maybe there is something in ME that needs to change to allow You to continue to love Susan so very much, which of course, you have every right to do. She was the love of your life for what, twenty years or more? But it is difficult in the context of our trying to build a relationship with each other. I know you don’t want to lose her any more than you already have. AND I AM WILLING TO GET HELP for ME and US on this issue. Ignoring it is NOT going to make it go away. Not talking about it isn’t going to help. I wish I knew what to do. I want our relationship to grow and deepen, not stagnate and fall apart. I want there is be a deep whole intimate loving growing evolving US, and a whole healthy you and a whole healthy me. How can we do this?

I want to reassure you that I love you and would like to resolve these issues and am willing to do my part if you’re willing to do yours. Just not sure what that really should mean to each of us in practical daily terms.

I love you.

Love, Mary XOX

Friday, September 23, 2005

Word verification

I am sorry to have to add word verification to the blog, but I am getting SO MANY junky spams and wasting time deleting them all. Sorry.

Autumn Leaves in a Swirl of Foam

Autumn leaves in a swirl of creek foam at Silk Creek. Photo by Mary Stebbins, 9-22-05 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Sample Size of One: Experimenting with my own Body

For the past two weeks, I've been getting random bellyaches.  It's not only unpleasant and painful, but also scary.  I wonder if I am getting an ulcer, if my fibro-related IBS has taken a turn for the worse, or worse yet, if I have cancer.  Because I have so many "food sensitivities" (I am told not to call them allergies), I of course suspect that I am eating something that disagrees with me.  But what?

Yesterday, I ate breakfast and had no pain, but after lunch, I developed a stomachache.  This is what I ate:  a small stir-fry with ¼ pound of shrimp, broccoli and mushrooms.  For seasoning, a little white wine.  Since I've never had a problem with the veggies or seafood, I suspect the wine.  For dinner, I have ¼ pound scallops, red cabbage and mushrooms.  No white wine, no tummy ache.

Today, I have a different breakfast, no tummy ache.  For lunch, I have 6 oz tilapia with broccoli and mushrooms, no wine, no tummy ache.  For supper, salmon, mushrooms and yellow squash.  No wine.  So far, no tummy ache—BUT I may not have waited long enough yet.

If I get no tummy ache, does it prove anything?  Nope.  Could have been a bug that is gone now, or something else.  What I need to do is repeat it, without and WITH the wine—see if I can replicate the results.  Even then, it could be coincidental.  Or not.

I don't know any reason why wine would give me a tummy ache.  I don't know it's the wine.  But it might be.  I don't know any other way to find out, do you?  The doctors never seem to have any answers.  Or, not enough of them to help with all the issues that crop up.  So I keep trying, a little bit at a time, to keep myself healthy and safe, experimenting with a sample size of one:  me.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Me, by Keith. Posted by Picasa

Straubsinger and ADD

I went to Dr. Arelene Straubsinger at 8 AM this morning for my ADD evaluation.  Boy that was weird.  I also have to go back next week.  At 8 AM.  She asked me a million questions, most of which I've forgotten--they all seemed a little weird, and she gave me a questionnaire to take home and fill out--I spent the whole rest of the day working on it whenever I had a chance and have only gotten about 2/3 done. 

She seemed nice, she's a Gemini like me.  (Not that I believe in that stuff.)

I don't like the questionnaire--it's a whole lot of true-false questions and you are supposed to answer every single one the best you can, but most require essay answers and neither true not false fits.

I had a mammogram today--it didn't hurt as much as usual, thank goodness--and the X-ray technician who was a perfect person for the job, really sweet and nice, rosy-cheeked and sort of English looking, saw me working on the questionnaire while I was waiting and asked me about it so I told her what it was and why I was doing it and she looked at the questions and turned up her nose and said, "don't take any medications based on that questionnaire!"  I thought that was funny because I was thinking the same thing.

Dr. Straubsinger studied creative writing too.  Cool.  Maybe she would accept creative answers to those true false questions.  LOL!  She asked me what I knew about ADD and my mind went blank and I couldn't think of anything.  It's that BLANK MIND that really bothers me.  But one thing I know is that they give people with ADD Ritalin (sp?) and I don't want to take it.  If I have trouble sleeping NOW, what would that do to me?  But I think there is also a diet for it--The Feingold diet or something--all I need are more restrictions on what I eat.  But I think I would have to not eat any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, which I prefer not to eat anyway.  I don't know what else though.  I have looked it up, but I don't remember--blank mind and all.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cheered by my Sweetie! YEBA!

Keith at Belle Isle near the only marble lighthouse in the world--now there's a sight to cheer me--this was the day before yesterday (Sunday). Photo by Mary. LOL! :-) {My Sweetie!] Posted by Picasa

Burnt out on Sympathy

I had a bad night last night—again.  And my fibro is worse again, after a couple days of much improvement.   I don't know why.  I wish I did!


I am reading (rereading) Opening Up by James W. Pennebaker, PhD.  It is a book about the importance of opening up, sharing talking, disclosing.  Those who talk and write about their problems are supposedly healthier according to a whole slew of studies than those who don't, unless the people have a role-with the punches personality.  Apparently, according to this book, there are three major ways to divide personalities for the purpose of this discussion:


  1. roll-with-the punches
  2. inhibited/nondiscloser
  3. uninhibited/discloser


Pennebaker says a large portion, 30-50% (and he gives studies) of the personality is genetic and another large portion is environmental (the old nature-nurture issue).   People are born with a tendency toward one of those personality types and either strengthen or weaken that association as they grow.


  • Type 1 is generally unaffected by stress or "trauma" (or only mildly affected)
  • Type 2 tends to act as speak as if everything is fine but have major health consequences as a result of trauma or stress
  • Type 3 tends toward talking a lot about stress and trauma but having less health affects.


The general conclusion seems to be that talking and writing about stress and trauma helps the mind AND BODY heal.


However, there is a limit to how much "complaining" we can do.  He writes in the book that the social pressure of our society is toward inhibition and nondisclosure—no one likes a "complainer."   But studies have shown (and I have read this else where as well), that complainers tend to live longer and compliant quiet people die sooner of breast cancer, heart disease etc.


Unfortunately, you just can't keep complaining to the same people because they get burnt out!!!!  That's why I created The Unbearable Darkness of Being—as a place to complain without repercussions.


I think I am a strange mixture of types 2 and 3—I am very uninhibited in some ways and very inhibited in others.   Asthma, fibromyalgia and insomnia are all stress-related diseases, diseases that are exacerbated by stress.  I tend to take things hard and be more stressed by them than most people.   I need to find ways to ameliorate stress, but on the other hand, I can't spend the whole day sitting cross-legged saying "om" or doing T'ai chi or running or relaxing, and if complaining helps, I am going to wear out all my friends.  


The problem is that the problems don't go away.  Long after everyone is tired of hearing about it, I'm still in pain, I still have trouble walking, I still can't sleep (and it drives me nuts.)   I guess that's why they have groups for those afflictions—people who suffer the same problems.  You can keep talking to them about it because they keep suffering too and know what long term ongoing chronic pain is like.

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Sad and Stupid.

On the mornings that I have insomnia, I almost always feel sad (depressed) when I get up and for some time after I am up, maybe all day. Today is one of those days. My insomnia was bad last night and today I feel all out of sorts again.

Here is a note I wrote about that a couple days ago in my constituional journal on the Psion:

050907WP Wednesday, September 7?, 2005, 2:30 PM I am out on the first loop of my constitutional under a bright hot sun, and a partly cloudy sky. Lots of hazy white clouds. I am not exactly overjoyed, but I m happier than I was yesterday. Yesterday I was depressed and felt physically terrible. Today, I am a little more cheerful. I feel a LITTLE better. Physically. I'm not great. My back, especially the small of my back and sacroiliac, hurts. My hips hurt, too, but the pain is not as severe as yesterday. Not great, but better.
I am dashing off to the store to get salad fixings and ice-cream for Keith and Graham and cereal. Maybe I should skip the cereal for a few days. I don't know.

I don't know what caused the flare-up of pain. I also would like to somehow lose weight. Seems impossible. But I want to try. Again.

2:38 PM I am trying to hurry as fast as I can because Keith comes home around 3:00 and I want to grab a few things at the store and either beat him back or at least arrive very shortly after him, like before he is settled in. I like to be there to greet him and exchange pleasantries and hugs etc before he gets started on whatever activities he may start on.

In spite of all the clouds that are visible, hazy and thick, the sun seems to be hanging out in the small portion of sky that is clear.

Bad is in the eye of the beholder. Some people think people who don't water their lawns are bad because the lawns look brown and "ugly." I think people who do water their lawns are "bad" because they are wasting precious resources and interfering with the grass plant's natural tendency toward estivation.


Thursday, September 8, 2005, 3:35 PM I am out on the first loop of my constitutional. I thought I was leaving in plenty of time, but the old man on the corner came out to talk to me and I didn’t want to be rude so I stopped to talk. He's very nice, friendly, and maybe a little lonely. I talked to him about his grass seed, the weather, the rain, the kids on their bikes, where I lived, who my fiancé was why I wasn’t married yet, and why I needed to get going and be home by 3:00. Only I may not be.

It is a grey day, and rain heavily earlier. The sky is completely grey, a mottled lumpy grey. It is a little cooler than it has been, cooler than yesterday. The yards are full of acorns and black squirrels collecting acorns. A truck with a huge vacuum cleaner is vacuuming a rug in someone's house.

My hips hurt.

Today, my hips hurt and I feel quite sad. I really did a bad thing. I wanted to taste Graham's Snickers ice-cream, but then I wasn't happy with a taste and had more. This is what I said to myself. I had had what I thought was a healthy day yesterday, and a healthy breakfast today, but I didn't feel well or sleep well last night not do I feel well today. I was sad and angry and I said to myself, what difference does it make if I eat healthy food if I feel terrible anyway? So I dished myself up some ice cream and put a little chocolate syrup on it.

I feel terrible. I mean physically terrible. I did anyway. But now I also feel bad and guilty and fearful that tomorrow I will feel even worse! That I will have the negative effects of dairy, chocolate and nuts, all of which I am allergic to, ON TOP of all the other symptoms I already have. I'll be a basket case, and just because I felt as if I deserved a little treat because I felt so rotten.

Stupid and self-destructive.


I have another blog called Raw Word Batter into which I dump the raw words of my constitutionals, usually unedited, just to get them off the dying Psion. It requires a lot of basic WADING to read it.

I get depressed when all I write is bad stuff, so I think I will write about my newly reconstructed desk for my blog, No Polar Coordinates.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Thursday, September 08, 2005; 7:42:47 AM


I am feeling sad again.  It's not something that I want to keep talking about—no one wants to hear it.   I am sad and depressed.  I think the main reason is that I couldn't sleep last night and now I am tired.  I'm discouraged because in spite of trying really hard to not eat any offensive foods, I still couldn't sleep!   Of course, I'm not sure that the foods are the culprit.  But they seem to be.


When I don't sleep, I feel really tired and my fibromyalgia seems to be worse.  There was a study where they took healthy people and deprived them of sleep and they developed fibromyalgia.   Or fibromyalgia-like symptoms.


I should be happy, or at least a little happy, because we actually took one step toward making my office in the ex-TV room upstairs.   We removed the TV and the big chair with its pile of junk and moved the couch into a new position to make room for my desk.  But I can see that all the other junk is not going to fit in here, the filing cabinets and so on.   I don't want to move the couch out because at least at the moment, it is where we gather for stories at night and that is an important family ritual.   But if we don't move the couch, half the office will be in one room and half in another or maybe even spread out more than that to several rooms.  This will spread the clutter around the house and make organizing my stuff more difficult.   Well, we'll have to see how things develop.


I am happy in an intellectual way, but I don't feel happy.  I do feel slightly encouraged, because when the desk is ready, I will move my computer and the bird and be over the hump where I am really living more here than there.  Maybe eventually, I will actually get rid of the house in Kimbrook and live in Detroit.  Get divorced and get remarried.  I hope so, I cannot believe how long this is all taking.  It seems absurd!


I think I don't "feel" happy because my emotions are "depressed" by tiredness.  I like it much better when I actually feel happy.   Of course I prefer to feel happy and energetic rather than tired, depressed and sluggish.  I wish I could sleep at night and feel better during the day.


Right now, I am sorting through the pile of junk that has been sitting for months on one cushion of the chair.   Some of it is mine and some of it is Keith's.  Some of it is garbage and some is important.  I need to do that in order to make a space to move the card table that the computer (Della, Keith's computer) is on so that we can begin setting up the desk.   YAY!   YEBA!  Slow progress is better than no progress, right?

I am certain of nothing but the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination- John Keats

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Fear of Food: It's not always easy to know what is safe for me to eat with all my allergies and food sensitivities. This salad is made with fake cheese, since I'm allergic to real cheese. I'm supposed to avoid too many nightshades, but what does that mean? Are these fresh tomatoes too much? I don't really know. Posted by Picasa


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