Wednesday, June 12, 2013

pros & cons

Even though I've been dreaming about moving back to Austin for what feels like AGES now, the truth is, Austin has changed quite a bit in the 11 years since I've been gone. And while I've ragged on Houston a lot in my 11 years of calling it home, there are actually things I will miss about being here...and things I'm not entirely excited about in the new Austin.

photo of Houston skyline by my buddy Gene Inman.

Let me just get this out of the way: I will not miss the HUMIDITY or the MOSQUITOES. I will also not miss: hurricane season, flash flooding, the Rodeo, the 425 Allen Parkway closures annually, the HUGE stray dog problem, the humidity & the mosquitoes. Wait, did I already mention the humidity & mosquitoes? Yeah, really not gonna miss those.

Things I Will Miss About Houston:
My girlfriends, of course. The girls I've connected with here are throwbacks to my junior high days & I'm so honored that I was able to re-connect with them right when I first moved here. So grateful that I have gotten spend so many fun times with them again in our adult years!

Corner Bakery chocolate muffins.

Cafe Express deli trio salad.

Salata salad wraps.

LaGriglia belinis, and the free before-meal pizza bread & after-meal cookies.

El Tiempo queso & sausage fajitas.

[wait I'm sensing a pattern quickly emerging!]

Living 15 minutes away from just about everything I need.

Texas Art Asylum.

The dude at Texas Junk Company.

Granitas at Agora coffee house.

The springtime jasmine aroma that fills the air & the brilliant pink azalea blooms that paint this city pink.

Memorial Park.

The hope of revisiting certain date spots with a certain someone.

My long-timer dog clients: Lady, Penny, Mister, Bo, & Charlie.

My cute 1890's house in the historic Old Sixth Ward neighborhood.

Direct flights.

The eclectic Houston skyline.

I'm sure there are more that are escaping me at the moment...things I'll miss once I'm really gone. But also I'm sure I'll be back to Houston at some point, and then I can revisit some of these like a long-lost lover. But until then, here's to looking ahead...embracing what will be new, different, and the same...back in Austin.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

new beginnings

While it's been in the works for months (well in all honesty, it's been in the works for years), but it's officially official...I'm finally making my way back to Austin!

I'm a month away from the move, a move I've been dreaming about off/on for the last 11 years that I've been living in Houston, and I'm finally getting a bit scared. The fear is manifesting itself in strange & not so strange ways. At first, when people would say "wow, that's so brave," and "that's such a huge change, I wouldn't have the balls to do it," I wasn't connecting to that because I've dreamt of this for so long, it's just always felt like the right thing. But now I'm starting to question myself...the fear is speaking louder than the dream at times & I don't like it. However, I understand fear is natural, so I'm choosing to dance with it...all the way to Austin.

Because I will not let the fear win or derail me or knock me back...again. I will keep moving forward, trusting that it's the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons.

So here's how it's gonna shake down. I'm moving back to Austin for many reasons, but the two main reasons are:

1) I get to live out near Lake Austin in my own house on my father's property for less than I pay now, which means I can...

2) do my dog work full-time, training service dogs for veterans dealing with PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and/or military sexual assault (MSA) via the Train A Dog Save A Warrior Program, as well rustle up some of my own private clients if I feel like it.

I'm honored to be able to do work I feel passionate about! I'm also grateful that this means that I don't have to work at a desk job anymore (halleluiah); I will have a more versatile & flexible daily schedule; I can nurture my creativity (artwork, writing, dogs) and my other interests (gardening, hooping, yoga, cooking); and last but no doubt most importantly, heal my broken spirit & tired body. And along the way, I hope to chronicle it all here.

So here's to new beginnings...filled with hope, and wonder, and yes even some fear!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

no tricks no treats

So much for being "chatty" as my newer blog name alludes to.

Leave it to a benign holiday like Halloween to spark a blog post in me many months now?!? But the truth is, I'm sitting home tonight with my gate locked & my porch lights off avoiding any trick-or-treaters that might happen by. Mind you, I've been avoiding them for I-don't-know-how-long...over 10 years atleast...and definitely ever since I moved into this house nearly 5 years ago. So I don't know why tonight feels different, but it does.

Tonight I feel like an ass for hiding out. I feel like a grumpy old lady. I feel like the crazy lady on the street that the kids are scared to ride their bikes by & the parents whisper catty things about. I'm sure none of that is true (actually I'm not sure about the catty comments part), but tonight I feel that way.

It seems we've had more kiddos out & about than usual, and I sort of want to see how they dressed up, but I didn't buy candy & I have nothing on hand to offer in a pinch. But that's not the crux of it. It's when I overheard one family welcoming my new next door neighbor couple into "the hood"...obviously they were sitting out with candy awaiting costumed visitors. Their conversation was punctuated with the family saying "yeah, feel free to stop by any time." Now this is the same family who lived right across the street from me when I first moved into the neighborhood. The same family who lived right across the street from me until only about a year ago when they moved a mere three houses down on my side of the street. The same family who has never once said HI to me or stopped to have a conversation when I've been out. The same family who's little girl used to like to come over and pet my dog when she & her nanny were out for a walk while I was home at lunch. The same family where the father has never once made eye contact or even gestured a wave to me...the wife, well she's a bit more friendly when she accidentally runs across my path.

So overhearing that conversation with my new neighbors just sorta made me feel like shit. I know I haven't gone out of my way to befriend all the folks who live on my street, but I do wave & engage in conversation with them when I see them. And recently I've made it a point to introduce myself to the new people who move in (like even baking cookies for my new next door neighbor couple), but I guess I haven't done a very good job of being a good neighbor to those who were living here when I got here. I don't know. All I know is I feel like a weird hermit sitting in a dark house with her gate closed, hoping the cutely clad kiddos hurry up and get their trick-or-treating over with, so I can let my dogs out in the front yard and sit on the porch for a night cap before going to bed without having to talk to any passers-by.

But really, when you get down to it, that's the kind of creepy mentality Halloween is made for, so perhaps when I get right down to it, I'm in the true spirit of Halloween. Or maybe I'm just an ass, I don't know.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

sustainable, local, seasonal

today's farmers' market haul

So I'm embarking on a wee project for myself. I am continually frustrated that I don't choose healthier options for eating when I KNOW it would do me (and my CFS) a world of good. Soooooo, I am going to attempt to implement something I feel very strongly & passionately about, but have been too, well lazy, to actually put into practice. And that is eating locally, seasonally, and sustainably/humanely.

Today I went to my local farmer's I've been too many times before...with $60 in cash to see if I could buy 1-week's worth of real-live-local-seasonal-organic-sustainable food & actually live off it for the entire week. I have no idea if I can, and I've no illusions that I won't have other foods of some sort throughout the week, but I wanted to challenge myself just to see. Mind you, I can easily spend about $100 at the regular grocery, buying food that I won't end up eating or that will sit in my freezer for months forgotten. That also accounts for buying non-food items as well, of course.

Today at the farmers' market, I spent about $57 & I got (from back to front, left to right in the photo above): 2 fennel bulbs, mint, 1 dozen chicken eggs, 1 lb ground pork, 1 bunch celery, 1 boneless chicken breast, 2 pints strawberries, 1 whole chicken (she's tiny), 1 lb uncured bacon, 1 bunch kale, 1 bunch beets, 2 grapefruits, yellow beans, and 2 chicken leg quarters.

The chicken & eggs are from Oaks of Marme Farm just 50 miles NW of Houston in Hempstead & the pork is from Harrison Farms in nearby Beasley, and I tried to vary my veggie vendors, getting a couple of items from different ones, but I only bought items which were marked as "organic" or "sustainable"...not "conventional".

Keep in mind, I am a single gal, living with 2 small dogs. I'm not feeding a big family, any men or picky kids (unless I count myself as a picky kid--sometimes I feel like it). I do, however, home make my dogs' food (they will get that whole chicken). And my thought isn't necessarily about the quality of chicken I give my dogs since they'll eat rotten bugs decaying in the yard, although quality is a nice byproduct. The reason I'm going to give my dogs that whole beautiful bird is because I simply don't want to support commercial argi-business anymore...not even to feed my dogs. I no longer want to give even one red cent to support an industry that abuses animals in needless, horrific, and disgusting ways, and who in turn, does the same to the land & environment...thereby doing the same to us, the consumers.

Now, I'm not the biggest chicken fan in the world, but guess what, I didn't see any beef in the market today, so either it's not the season for beef or that farmer slept in or I wasn't looking carefully enough. But the thing about buying local & seasonal, is you buy what's available because what's available is the right thing to eat for that time of year. So chicken, eggs & pork it was for me for my protein choices...there was some goat & lamb, but I passed on those. I meant to buy some beef snack sticks I saw, but I forgot to go back & get them when I was getting my cold stuff...& I'm kicking myself!

I've seen many documentaries...the standards: Food Inc, Food Matters, Hungry for Change, and several more I can't recall at the moment...and they all spoke to me & inspired me. But I watched another one recently that really propelled me...not sure if it was the quality/presentation of the information in the documentary itself or that I watched it at a good point for personal change. It's called Fresh & I admired the stories of the farmers who are doing it right...the ones who are bucking the system to make a change for themselves & the rest of us too. I felt empathy for the other farmers, the ones who are stuck in the system, strangled by the agri-business choke-hold in order to keep their farms & their families going despite knowing it's a losing trap. I decided I wanted to finally be part of the solution, not the problem. I think Whole Foods & grass-fed/pasture raised items in supermarkets are a start, but for me, it's no longer good enough. I feel you've got to get off my ass, stop being lazy & get local!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


As usual, my notes from post to post varying so wildly. One post will be positive, hopeful, upbeat, the next post is usually the opposite (and months later than the previous).

I started working with a nutritional balancing practioner to address my underlying adrenal burnout a couple of months ago. I was hopeful at the prospect, as I'd read alot about it & found someone online who'd been through it & has been coming out the other end in a more healthful & positive light. But this protocol isn't about just getting better, as I'm finding, it's about deep, dark healing, which often times pushes you back before it propels you forward.

As such, I'm experiencing a bit of a relapse of sorts. Fatigue is finding me much easier, whereas just a couple of months ago, I was feeling a surge of renewed energy. It's a bit disheartening, yet I'm trying to keep in mind that it's actually part of the healing, so that I can keep hope alive as I muddle through. It's hard to do, when there's so much I want to do, but the easiest course is to settle into it and go with its flow rather than fight the current & resist.

I read the following on Sarah Wilson's blog today, which she borrowed from a UK thyroid support forum. I wish I would have written it myself, because I could have. It's so true & I wish everyone in my life could read & understand better understand me. One of the most frustrating parts of this is that I don't look "sick," so I'm sure people have a hard time understanding exactly what it is I'm talking (aka whining) about.

Hi….My Name is Hashimoto’s, and I’m an Invisible Chronic Illness.
I am now velcroed to you for life. Others around you can’t see me or hear me, But YOUR body feels me. I can attack you anywhere and anyhow I please. I can cause severe pain or, if I’m in a good mood, I can just cause you to ache all over.

Remember when you and Energy ran around together and had fun? I took Energy from you, and gave you Exhaustion. Try to have fun now! I also took Good Sleep from you and, in its place, gave you Brain Fog. I can make you tremble internally or make you feel cold or hot when everyone else feels normal. Oh, yeah, I can make you feel anxious or depressed, too. If you have something planned, or are looking forward to a great day, I can take that away, too. You didn’t ask for me. I chose you for various reasons: That virus you had that you never recovered from, or that car accident, or maybe it was the years of abuse and trauma. Well, anyway, I’m here to stay!

I hear you’re going to see a doctor who can get rid of me. I’m rolling on the floor, laughing. Just try. You will have to go to many, many doctors until you find one who can help you effectively. You will be put on pain pills, sleeping pills, energy pills, told you are suffering from anxiety or depression, given a TENs unit, get massaged, told if you just sleep and exercise properly I will go away, told to think positively, poked, prodded, and MOST OF ALL, not taken as seriously as you feel when you cry to the doctor how debilitating life is every day.

Your family, friends and co-workers will all listen to you until they just get tired of hearing about how I make you feel, and that I’m a debilitating disease. Some of them will say things like “Oh, you are just having a bad day” or “Well, remember, you can’t do the things you use to do 20 YEARS ago”, not hearing that you said 20 DAYS ago. Some will just start talking behind your back, while you slowly feel that you are losing your dignity trying to make them understand, especially when you are in the middle of a conversation with a “Normal” person, and can’t remember what you were going to say next!

In closing, (I was hoping that I kept this part a secret), but I guess you already found out…the ONLY place you will get any support and understanding in dealing with me is with Other People With Hashimoto’s.

So there you go...that's where I am today.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

renewal...this year's intention

So I realize it's the beginning of the 3rd month of the year & I've yet to write about my word for 2012. This is a word of intention...the intention I want to set forth for the year ahead. Prior to the year starting, I reflect on this & choose a word/intention. This year it chose me...RENEWAL. Not only do I want it, and actually I just plain ol' need it, but more importantly I can feel it coming.

Renewal in all respects, but namely health, of course because without that, nothing else will follow. But also renewal of my working life. Time to move on from the desk job & into my passion job. And in both respects, the word is already working it's magic in my year. I have decided to focus on this intention word this year rather than creating a magical list of goals, like I've done in years past.

I have begun a new protocol for healing called Nutritional Balancing which involves hair tissue mineral analysis with a diet & supplement protocol to right the deep imbalances in my system causing my adrenal burnout/chronic fatigue/hormonal imbalances. I'm too new into the protocol to know the effects it will have on me, but in following others who have gone down this route, I'm hopeful it will not only help, but heal.

I have also been doing a bit of artwork again as well. I'm working on a piece a friend commissioned as a memorial piece commemorating her father as a gift to give to her mother. It's always a challenge to do memorial pieces & ironically the last 3 I've worked on have been, but also a challenge because my lack of energy greatly affects my creativity. But I have a deadline, so I'm making it happen & am happy I have that motivation to keep it going.

Plus, I have officially launched my dog training business. Now it's a very soft launch at this point...telling friends to tell friends kind of thing...but it's officially out in the world none the less! I already have 1 client, and I will let it ramp up on its own, hoping that my feeling better will coincide with it building. I don't want to rush it 1) because there is still alot I need to learn, and 2) I don't want to overwhelm myself since stress quickly sets me back physically.

So here I am...renewing my ass off! Ok, so maybe not quite that dramatic & believe me, I still have a long way to go (fatigue & a lack of gumption still plague me daily in spite of things going well around me), but it has been fun to see things unfold with just a bit of movement on my part. I'm learning that instead of forcing things, I just need to show up & the rest will come.


Monday, January 30, 2012

healing thoughts & gratitude

I know the word gratitude gets thrown around alot & it's something I've wanted to cultivate more for myself, but it's always felt somewhat forced for a naturally cynical person like me. Throughout my healing journey, I've read alot about body/mind connection & thoughts manifesting physically within the body...and I believe in it. I see it working in the negative in my life, so I'm finally...finally...willing to put it to work in the positive.

I'm going to attempt a daily journal's been help get whatever thoughts out of my head, but also to begin transferring the negative, fearful thoughts into positive, healing, grateful thoughts.

I was introduced to Louise Hay's "You Can Heal Your Life" long before I was officially "sick." And to be honest, I've struggled to grasp the concept of affirmations. It really does feel awkward (OK, downright silly even) at first, but if you sort of fake it, eventually it starts to feel authentic. The one thing I immediately identified with when I pulled the book out again early in my dealings with CFS, was The List. The list contains physical ailments, accompanied by the thought pattern creating it & the new thought pattern to reverse it. Here are my big ones:

Fatigue: resistance, boredom, lack of love for what one does (ummm hello, to-the-letter)
Adrenal Problems: defeatism, no longer caring for the self, anxiety (defeatism is often my middle name)
Bowel: fear of letting go of the old & no longer needed (I totally hold onto thing well passed their prime).

So along with my daily journaling, I'm going to focus on the "new thought pattern" for each to release the previous thoughts behind my specific health issues. We'll see how that works. I know that even after just one morning of finding some honest to goodness gratitude, the journaling likely helped me get through today by making some better choices for myself (like taking a 10 minute walk outside mid-afternoon instead of grabbing candy and/or a hot chocolate when I was feeling run down). And because it was so successful, I'm going to begin incorporating it into my daily schedule! Baby steps.