Thursday, June 30, 2011

Confessions of the Confectionery kind

I have a confession to make. I was at a birthday party over the weekend and there on the side table sat about 40 cupcakes. Normally, I would walk away but as I got closer and could actually SMELL THE BUTTERCREAM frosting, I couldn't resist. So I ate inhaled one. 
In about 7.5 seconds. 


Not only did I blow up like a balloon but since then have had more sugar cravings and have unfortunately been giving into them. I justified it by making sure the treats remained dairy and gluten free (however that cupcake certainly was not) but I've realized that sugar in anything other than teeny tiny doses, is not something I can digest. 

I'm getting back on track and detoxifying my body from the effects of the demon that is sugar by drinking lots of water, detox teas and foods high in alkaline. I used to live by the old adage, "everything in moderation" but when dealing with Candida, even moderate amounts of sugar prove toxic to the system.

So what. There was a brief hiccup in what has been over 3 months of a very clean, natural and toxic free diet. I'm not going to beat myself up over it because my insides are already doing that for me. They've definitely let me know that this was not acceptable and this time, I'm listening. 
More than I ever have before. 

Oh, Chumley...

Sometimes I wonder, what it would be like to live in a house without litter boxes on top of the furniture? Somehow, I don't think this is a concern of Chumley's...

Chumley, you know I love you and one day when those litter boxes are no longer there I will wish with all my might that they were. But just sometimes, like right before I'm about to put a bite of food into my mouth or even worse, as I'm chewing and swallowing that bite of food, I really don't appreciate you pinching off a loaf 3 feet from my face.

And in case you forgot Chumley, you have other litter boxes NOT in the living room where you can do that business. The boxes on top of the couch and ottoman were put there for pee pee only (since you take such pleasure in marking those pieces!) but apparently you can't quite grasp that concept.

I am amazed at your resilience and strong will which enable you to bounce back from your many ailments. The past couple years have been especially tough on your little body and to see you maintain your energy makes us all so happy. You definitely make it known what you want when you want it (even at 5:45 am, you early riser you!) and I think that's just flippin' fantastic.

This fall, we will hopefully be celebrating your 17th birthday and I'm pretty much convinced you will outlive all of us in this house.

Just don't forget, we love you.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I love everything about...

...this video:

The people, the dancing (obvious) and the accompanying music. It's just superb, right up there with Double Dream hands.

...this tea:

It has recently been re-packaged, you might be familiar with the old packaging that looked like this:

They also have an organic line which looks like this:


And their Vanilla white tea is phenomenal:

I ordered 6 boxes each of the Original Caffeine Free and Vanilla White tea through because they offer free shipping on orders of $25 or more and their prices were better. And...I drink a lot of tea. You can also buy the Original teas at Target. It's unlike any tea I've ever had. Has a rich texture and you don't need to add anything else. No cream, sugar, lemon, just drink it straight after brewing. I definitely taste the cinnamon and clove but it's also sweetly spiced or spicy sweet (just like it indicates on the box) and I think that is why it has so much flavor. I made it iced and it tastes good but I much prefer it hot. Try it, you won't be disappointed! 

...this chocolate bar bar!

That's right, it's chocolate!!! Since the Candida diagnosis I've had to cut out a lot of stuff. I was never a big fan of dark chocolate before, it tasted disgusting to me, too bitter. Milk chocolate was always my preference, specifically milk chocolate covered sea salt caramels. (Ok 5 seconds to day dream about them and then I'll move on...) BUT! I have found an alternative that I can enjoy in small amounts. Reason being, it's dairy free and very low in sugar. Only 3 grams of sugar per serving in this bar. For comparison sake, the standard milk chocolate bar has 23 grams of sugar so that's off the list (not only because of the sugar but obviously "milk" chocolate contains dairy. 

Ok back to more things I love...

...the smell of this candle:

Another Target find, for $6. This wild currant candle smells so inviting you'll just want to stand over the flame and sniff. 

...the TV show Portlandia

Some of the characters the lead actors play are so so funny and the scenes can be a bit ridiculous but it adds to the quirkiness of the show.

So now I think it's time to light my candle, sip some tea and nibble on a chocolate square.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My ex-BFF's

Meet Pepto and Tums, my old travel buddies who never used to leave my side. Until now...

These two fellas were staples in my purse, lap top bag, knapsack, or whatever portable pouch they could squeeze into when I left the confines of home. I've not had a need for them in almost 3 months, 3 MONTHS PEOPLE!! This is a big step and one that I am taking a moment to acknowledge and celebrate.  "Ceeeeelebrate no diarrhea! COME ON!!" (Sorry, couldn't help that sing along.)

And if you're wondering why the portable Pepto bottle has the words "HOLY W..." written in red marker, let me explain. I was visiting my mom a few months ago when I had a typical digestive nightmare as I was leaving to catch my flight. I wasn't able to carry the bottle of pepto on the plane due to its size so my mom looked for a smaller airline approved bottle. She searched the bathroom for trial sized bottles which held hairspray, gel, lotions but she didn't want to put something "edible" into something that housed chemical infused liquids (even after they were washed, dried, re-washed, boiled, etc.) So when she stumbled upon her tiny bottle of Holy Water (because doesn't everyone keep a stash handy??) she said, "Here use this!" (Last I checked my mom was not a man of the cloth nor did she regularly perform exorcisms BUT she was ordained as a Catholic minister years ago and would visit hospital rooms and homes of those too sick for church to administer Communion and sprinkle their heads with the water.)

So now we had to find another contraption for the blessed water which felt more like a twisted game of Where's Waldo. After a while I asked, "Can't we just drink it?" That would be a no. Or, "How about watering the plants? Let's make them holy." Again, not acceptable. I was out of ideas so I think she ended up using tupperware or a plastic zip baggie. When I got to the airport and pulled out my bag of liquids at security of course there's no denying or disguising what that shocking pink liquid really is and as it was sliding down the belt you could clearly see the words HOLY WATER on the bottle. It made me laugh because those who saw it, the gentleman behind me and a couple of TSA agents, probably thought my anti-diarrhea juice held that much importance in my life. Which, it actually did.

But, not anymore!!

(I can't part with the bottle so once I dump the pink stuff I'll make sure to refill it with something as equally deserving as the holy water and shit stopper.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Healthier than day drinking...

I made this little video from all the photos I've collected on facebook. Tomorrow is the official first day of summer and quite frankly I'd be happy with Spring! I can count on one hand how many times we've woken up to blue skies since Spring started. Getting used to the lack of sun is still an adjustment and I'm not sure I'll ever really not be affected by it, but I think after my 3rd Spring I'm coming to the point where resisting the impossible and hoping for it to change is obviously stupid and futile. I'm trying to accept that this is just part of what comes with the NW territory and I either have to suck it up, move or find healthier ways to cope... hence the video (made during a bout with insomnia this weekend.) We are supposed to have several dry, clear days in a row and yes, that is fantastic but, it's nearing the end of June and we haven't had consistent sun in MONTHS so we darn well deserve it! I'm not going to do flip flops or cartwheels when the sun finally decides to pop out. I think that was just adding to the highs and lows because when it goes away the anxiety for whence it might or might not return was just too much. So if the sun comes out great, it's supposed to, it's called summer. Almost

Happy day before summer to all of you!!!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Was that what I think it was???

So this is going to be a personal post. For anyone grossed out or offended by period talk, just stop reading now.

It was the summer of '85. My mom and I were visiting family in North Carolina: my Aunt Janie, Uncle Howdy and my mom's mother (we called her "Meem") who was in a nursing home near my aunt and uncle's house. It was a difficult trip for my mom as Meem's health was declining and it was nearing the end of summer vacation, and in my 13 year old world, visiting a nursing home for hours in a day was not the ideal way to spend it. A few days into the trip I went for a swim in their pool and my mom came out back to tell me it was time to come inside and get ready for another visit to the home. I ignored her and kept swimming. A few minutes went by and out she came again, this time with more force in her voice announcing that we have to leave NOW. Again, I just swam along, not paying much attention. I was definitely entering the "bitchy stage" of my adolescence. The 3rd and final time my mom came outside, she was not happy. She shouted as my head popped in and out of the water and her final shriek was, "LAURA ANNE get out of that pool RIGHT NOW! We are NOT HERE TO HAVE FUN!!" I will never forget that line because up until Aunt Janie's death a couple years ago we still got quite a chuckle out of it. 

So begrudgingly I got out of the pool, put on some clothes and off to the home we went. My aunt had a fancy candy dish in the foyer and I had grabbed a handful of cinnamon disks to take along with me as a treat.

Remember these???

I had eaten quite a few of them, my tongue was bright red and started to get those little nubbies on it from eating too much sugar but that didn't do much to stop the binge. As the day went on I started to get a bit of a stomach ache so my mom took the rest of the candy away and said "No more." 

We got back to my family's house early in the evening and I remember feeling exhausted, bloated and pissed off at the world. My mom and Aunt Janie were in the kitchen making dinner which I said I didn't want, so I sulked in the living room and watched Remington Steele. Even though my tummy ached, I continued to sneak more candy, carefully opening each one so my mom didn't hear the wrappers crinkle. Next thing I knew, I woke up covered in a blanket, still sitting upright. It was still light outside, maybe 8:00pm but everyone else had gone to bed. As I got up to go to bed my lower back was incredibly sore. Maybe I thought it was from sleeping in the sitting position, or even from too much swimming, but the pain was very different from anything I had felt before. And I remember this, even now some 26 years later. 

And the other thing I will never, ever, EVER forget is when I grabbed the blanket off the couch there was a nice big bright red spot on the cushion where I sat. My aunt and uncle had a light blue couch with pale green and white floral designs and believe me when I say that spot stuck out like the Target logo. Immediately I freaked, not quite sure what to do (Google would have been nice) so I went into the kitchen, grabbed a towel and tried to dab it up. It was still very visible and I was almost in tears so I went into my mom's room, woke her up and asked for help. Now, I was not a naive 13 year old. I knew a LOT of things I probably shouldn't know at 13, all thanks to my 21 year old sister and her friends/boyfriends. So when I told my mom what happened, it was not out of ignorance, it was only because it made logical sense, based on the events of the day.

We walked over to the stained couch and I said something like, "Don't get mad, but I ate too much cinnamon candy, even after you said not to, and it's starting to come out of me." 

My mom looked at the couch, then back at me with an expression I did not recognize and hugged me tight. With pride? in her voice she said, "'re becoming a woman!!" 

I looked at her like she had seriously lost her mind and thought maybe she thinks I'm growing up because I told the truth about eating more candy but whatever her reasoning, I was convinced the red stuff was from the dye of the cinnamon disks, which continued to pour out of my ass (or so I thought.) I tried explaining this to my mom a second time because it was happening again, with more force. 

We grabbed some clean underwear from my room and my mom escorted me into the bathroom. Before leaving she told me to identify the source of the stain and that she'd be outside waiting for me. After a few seconds it was VERY clear which orifice was leaking so I cleaned up as best I could and folded some toilet paper in my panties. My stomach cramps were growing worse by the minute and I started to feel achy all over. I washed my face and brushed my teeth and opened the door only to find my mom and aunt both standing there, with ridiculous grins on their faces. And my aunt was holding a box of gigantic maxi pads with attached belts that wrapped around your waist. This scared me.

I was pissed that my mom woke up Aunt Janie to tell her "my big news" but I was even more embarrassed to tell her about the couch stain, which she casually dismissed with a hand wave. She handed me the pads and said I could use these for the night and tomorrow we'd go shopping for my own supplies. Back into the bathroom I went trying to stick what felt like a twin mattress to my teeny tiny underwear. It was the most uncomfortable feeling and the pad kept shuffling to the sides when I walked not to mention it sounded like a diaper. I was afraid it was going to seep out when I slept so my aunt gave me a soft blue babydoll nightgown (which I still have to this day!) because I didn't want to stain my pajama bottoms. I also put a dark towel on top of the sheet so as not to ruin anymore stuff in their house. Before I went to bed I asked my mom if I could call my sister and she said of course so I did. When I told her what happened she seemed surprised and thrilled and then told me that when we go to the store tomorrow to get slim tampons because pads are a sloppy mess and feel like a diaper. No shit.

The next morning at the drug store my mom fought me tooth and nail when I grabbed a box of tampons but thankfully my aunt intervened and said, "Just let her try them." When we got home I had absolutely NO CLUE how to use them, and ended up with it just sort of sitting in the middle of my lady parts, sort of like a log, not really hidden from sight if you know what I mean. It was even more uncomfortable than the pad, especially when I sat down so I ended up using some smaller Always pads that fit much better than my aunt's surfboard length wonders but were still cold and icky feeling.

From that day forward and every single month that followed I had horrific cycles, several times ending up in the ER starting in high school through my late 20s. A new gyno put me on the Depo-provera shot which alleviated some of the symptoms but after a bout with pre cervical cancer in 2000, I stopped using it. I was taking prescription motrin often up to a week before my period started to help reduce inflammation and get "in front of" the pain. Some months that helped but more often than not I would end up throwing up the pills before they even had a chance to kick in. In 2008 I had surgery to remove endometriosis that had actually grown outside of my uterus, attaching to my bladder and colon. It seemed to help for the first few months but soon was back to square one with severe pain, diarrhea and vomiting, the first day of my period.

Which brings me to the present. I had what I can only describe as a very mild pang of a cramp the morning it started. In fact, I didn't even think it really was a period at all. It lasted only 3 days and aside from minor lower back aches, that was all I got. I took zero medication, prescription or over the counter and even ended up running 5 miles on day 2!  In 26+ years of menstruating, that has NEVER happened.

I continue to reap so many rewards of my new diet and lifestyle, that I don't even miss what I thought I'd be missing! (If that makes sense.)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A witness to beauty.

I love filling jars and vases with freshly cut flowers.
I also love waking up the next morning to find barely any water left in each jar or vase I filled.
It's a sign that life, in many forms, is thriving.