Daily Archives: July 29, 2015

#CECILTHELION

cecil-and-lioness-brent-stapelkamp CECIL murdered cecil

So angry, furious that a beautiful, noble being such as Cecil, was needlessly, uselessly, criminally killed because some sob wanted to prove what a big man he was. This gorgeous lion, Zimbabwe’s pride and joy, left behind 24 cubs, these cubs are now most likely going to be killed by other lions because their father is gone.

This man, this dentist, sickens me, literally makes me want to throw up! How dare he take a magnificent creature, Cecil, hunt and shoot him down, and then behead him to make a trophy for himself. Sickening! Big game hunting, hunting, just to feel the adrenalin rush from hunting and killing a beautiful, noble creature! Gotta stop this! Have to stop this! People, be civilized, don’t kill these magnificent, in many cases endangered, beings just to get your sick selves off.

No matter what they do to this heinous man, Cecil is gone, nothing will bring him back. Sometimes, I really feel sickened to be part of this sick race we call human.


Dissociation, Daydreaming, and Mind Dump

Daydreaming - background of cloudy sky above Saddleback Mountain range and trees in foreground

Already I’ve lost my place and forgotten what I was going to write. As I went to save this as a Word document to my hard drive, I saw some organizing I had to do – files in the wrong folder. Got to keep my data organized if not my home or my mind. At least this is something I can control or that I want to exert some control over.

So…what I was thinking and decided to get down on paper is how I enjoy daydreaming. I used to daydream or dissociate for hours a day while picking my skin, resulting in horrible sores on my face, chest, and arms. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the picking and I enjoyed where my mind went. I did not enjoy the damage to my skin. That I was ashamed of. I would try to undo the damage with OTC treatments, with antibiotics, and cover it up with makeup. But the damage was done and I have scars to show for it. Luckily my pock marks are relatively mild. My skin fair, so it does not scar as badly as skin with more melatonin.

Why did I enjoy the daydreaming so? Because, quite simply, I love living in my head, in the world of ideas. I love imagining myself speaking to others. My thoughts often in the form of speeches or interviews. I being the one speaking or the one being interviewed. Suppose these imaginings are somewhat grandiose. Though, actually, I believe that someday I will be doing some public speaking. Someday I will be the subject of interviews. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

One problem I have had, though, is that I’m often not sure if, in looking back, I simply thought something or if I actually told someone else that thought. That is, in the moment, I know that the conversation is simply in my mind. I’m under no delusion that it is actually taking place anywhere else at the time that I’m thinking it. But in retrospect, my memory is fuzzy and I’m not sure whether I shared those thoughts with say my husband or someone else. Did I just think it? Or did I actually say it? If I did say it, to whom? I have no idea. Most of my ideas I keep in my head.

Though right now I’m writing them down. That I should do more of. Simply writing. Perhaps less reading of blogs and articles online and more writing of my thoughts as I think them.

I think of Jenny Lawson’s blog The Bloggess, and how she does not answer comments. I remember her post about how she simply can’t write what others want her to write. That her blog is her house. I must think more about how I want to arrange my metaphorical house. My mind, my time, my blog, my social media activity.

If I’m to venture out of my house, off of my couch, and work in the real world, I will not have the time to spend up to 14 hours a day on social media. Perhaps some days up to 16 hours. I know I spend an excessive amount of time and that it is not healthy. It is excessive. It is triggering of hypomania when I overdo it.

So since I volunteered last week at NAMI Orange County and learned that someone recently resigned, my mind wrestles with the problem of data management for the position and for the woman I volunteered for last week and will again tomorrow. I love database design and find relational databases far better tools for managing data than spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are simply easier to use. Spreadsheets are the best tool for calculations. Numerical data. Relational databases are better for data for which there are complex relationships, one-to-many relationships, multiple relationships. So, I may just publish this stream of writing, writing I did to empty my mind onto a page, into a Word document, as a blog post, and later take another look at designing a database which users could access via a web browser and online login for NAMI Orange County’s consideration.


Filed under: About Mental Health, Bipolar Disorder, Hypomania, Mental Illness, NAMI, Triggers to Mood Cycling, Volunteering Tagged: daydreaming, dissociation, Jenny Lawson, return to workplace

The Pillowcase

pillowcase

Okay, so some of you are asking…”What the hell? Has she gone off the deep end? Who cares about a pillowcase?” And this picture isn’t exactly wonderful. But I am no photographer.

Before we get into the pillowcase (no, we are not all going to get in it), there is BIG news from my psychiatrist. I went to see him this morning and he said I don’t have to come back for TWO whole months. This is because I am doing so well. If you’re mentally ill, you know two months is a big deal. Woot!

Back to the pillowcase. Lots of people have told me I need a hobby. I read that producing something is the most satisfying kind of hobby. Many mentioned crocheting and knitting, but that just didn’t sound good to me. I live in a hot climate and really, no one needs scarves or baby sweaters around here. I chose quilting.

I found a quilting store in my area and sent the gal an e-mail. I told her I had been seriously depressed and needed a hobby. I told her I had a sewing machine but hadn’t used it in twenty years. I wasn’t even sure it worked. She wrote back and said to come on in to “free sew” and she would help me.

I went to the craft store and bought some scissors (left handed), some thread, sewing machine needles, and a yard of fabric.

I was so scared. I have not walked into something new for a long time. I was even nervous to drive over alone. I figured all of these ladies would have fancy computerized quilting machines. And they’d all be experts. Which they basically were. I drug my old machine in and Sue, my new teacher had a look.

“Uh, you are missing the bobbin casing and a bobbin.” I sighed. I was sunk before I started. I started to go home and she said…”No, just go down to this sewing machine and vacuum store and get the parts.” So I drove over there and they actually had what I needed. And it wasn’t far away.

I started to leave the sewing machine store and couldn’t get the car started. The steering wheel had locked up. And boy, was the weather ever hot. So I sat in the parking lot and prayed. And God answers prayer cause it started.

I got back to the quilting store and Sue showed me how to run a bobbin and thread my machine. (She showed me pretty quickly so I don’t know if I can duplicate that.) She had me practice straight stitching across some old fabric. Using the machine came back to me somewhat.

Sue then announced I would be going home with a completed pillowcase! I thought she meant some little thing for a baby pillow or something. But nope, she meant a REAL pillowcase. I picked out some fabric from the store and we got going.

Did you know that you don’t use scissors to cut fabric anymore? You use something that looks a lot like a pizza wheel. It really cuts nice and straight.

Sue was a stickler. I had to iron and iron after I sewed each part. The seams were all finished neatly on the inside. (The case looks wrinkled in the picture because I slept on it.) I was patient, although I got really tired and the darned thing turned out! I had made a pillowcase.

Now my hobby is to be quilting. So I signed up for the very baby beginner class. It runs from 5:30-8 on Tuesday nights. This is right after my bipolar group, so I will be exhausted on Tuesdays. However, it’s only four weeks. And I saw the quilt we’re actually going to make. It’s not huge, but it looks good. Like something you could hang over the back of a chair or sofa.

They gave me a list of what I needed for the class. Whoa! A lot of different fabrics and supplies. I decided to make a Christmas quilt. There were so many fabrics to choose from and I got overwhelmed. There was a young girl working there and I asked her for help. I picked out a few I liked and she helped me pick the rest so it would all look good together. (I have a pile of like 13 different fabrics for this thing.) I got a few more tools…a mat to cut the fabric on and a seam ripper. (I’m sure I’ll get a lot of use out of the seam ripper.

I start next Tuesday. I’m not as nervous as I was, but I hope I don’t have to thread my machine.

Speaking of machines, mine sews a straight stitch and a zig zag, so I think it will do. But some of these ladies had machines that looked like airplane cockpits. I wonder if they use all of those features.

I don’t expect to make any fancy quilts or even big ones, but I think it’s a good hobby. My shaky hands are calm enough to use the machine, and I can see it all well.

So, no, this is not going to turn into a quilting blog, although I do plan on showing you my progress on my quilt as I go.

I call it “my recovery quilt”.

Diabetes and Bipolar Disorder 

  

 

My Diabetes and Bipolar
I became diabetic about the same-time I was diagnosed with Bipolar. The nurse in me wondered if one had to do with the other. I say this because when I was carrying my children, I developed gestational diabetes. My OB GYN’s even considered treating me with insulin. From the time I got pregnant with my daughter, I noticed a sudden change in my behavior. Irritability, short temperedness, tired, along with the usual signs of diabetes. 

When my bipolar was clearly evident, my A1C was also on the rise. An A1C also known as glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, hemoglobin A1C and HbA1c. The Mayo Clinic describes an A1C as “a common test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes…a protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen-is coated…the higher your A1C, the poorer your blood sugar is controlled and the higher your risk of diabetic complications.” A normal A1C normal range is between 4.5 -6%.  

Knowing my family history of adult onset diabetes and the occurrence of gestational diabetes, I would ask for an A1C during my yearly physicals. Despite my requests, my primary care DO at the time ignored my signs of increased thirst, lethargy, frequent urination which an operating circulator can not denied and would not order an A1C. Until I developed signs of a very painful salivary gland swelling which occurred several times during this period of time. Again I asked for an A1c that came back 7.6%. This should have been a red flag for the nurse practitioner but was shrugged off due to my sudden weight gain. It took medicine another 2 years before I was finally found to be non-insulin dependent diabetic. By now, I have added peripheral neuropathy, metabolic syndrome, early CAD, and other complications that are better able to be managed.

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage particularly that occurs in the feet and gradually moves up towards the torso. My high blood pressure and frequent urination began starting show early signs of cardiac disease. Frequent illnesses and development of gastroparesis or metabolic syndrome. Other such signs is mental health. Well, that’s interesting.

  
As an RN, I’v seen many diabetics over the years that I unconsciously became somewhat desensitized to the disease. Suffering from the early signs myself, I can attest that the disease is far from a common cold. My most alarming symptoms was the fatigue and knowing I don’t feel well. A sudden fluctuation of my blood sugar would leave me with a vagal like response and feeling like I was fading to unconsciousness. Not only was my lumbar spondylosis preventing me from working but,I couldn’t imagine working in this condition. In fact, I reduced my hours taking a part-time job near home. The signs and symptoms were obvious to me. Breaking out into excessive sweating and extreme hunger and immunological abnormality exhibited as Bell’s Palsy all , of which, kept me from keeping me from my commitment to my job, that I’m certain those I worked with took notice as well. 

  
Now that I’ve advanced to IDDM (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus). I decided to do some research of comparing diabetes to bipolar. I’ve found my theory to affirm my curiosity. I hope that my readers will find this as helpful as it has to me.
An article I found written by D.F. Horrobin and C.N. Bennett “depression and bipolar disorder: the relationships to impaired fatty acids and phospholipid metabolism and to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, immunological abnormalities, cancer, and osteoporosis.” Did I mention that my latest diagnosis is being treated due to my lab results for osteoporosis? Their findings confirmed that depression and bipolar are have a worse outcome than non-depressed individuals.  

A chapter from the book, Bipolar Disorders-an internal journal of psychiatry and neuroscience discussed the “prevalence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome in a research sample of patients with bipolar disorder.” Taken from the chapter, the objective was the presence of metabolic abnormalities is an important risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

The method was having 60 patients with bipolar disorder for the study.

The result findings showed a prevalence of metabolic syndrome of 6.7% who met diabetic criteria and 23.3% were find pre-diabetic.

The conclusion indicates that metabolic syndrome and glucose abnormalities are highly prevalent among bipolar patients. Along with a high risk for heart disease and metabolic disorders.

The recommendation or treatment plan should include that bipolar patients are closely monitored for these risk factors.

I am intrigued to learn that bipolar and these above risk factors do have a correlation with one another. I wouldn’t dare assume that the signs common to that of bipolar means that I can dismiss my mental state. I believe this is important for me to point out as this discussion my be misconstrued as such.

My current state with diabetes has shown that I remain uncontrolled with my blood sugars. Of course, most of which, I am to blame for my noncompliance. Now that my A1C has come back 8.9, I must not ignore the mode of treatment. It is noted that while I must increase my dose of insulin, my weight will increase and the more severe life threatening complications has the potential to a walk down death row without looking back. Perhaps, my last statement maybe taking my illness a bit overboard but, there is no room to taking the disease as no big deal. I may conclude that the better controlled my blood sugar to normal levels the better my recovery with bipolar will be.

I should mention that for me as a treated bipolar with some very harsh sedated medications, my climb to good health is a greater challenge than most. It’s not easy for this patient to obtain such energy when taking Seroquel, Lamicatal, Neurotin, and Cymbalta. I can attest that the motivation exists but, the energy does not. Therefore, the idiosyncratic effect is in such a state of opposing factors makes my compliance is nearly impossible to achieve but, achieve I must. One a side note, a half an hour after taking my seroquel I have a terrible craving for something sweet. I try to rectify this aversion by taking the medication before bedtime. Sometimes it helps and sometimes I can not sleep without having a bowl of cereal.  

It is my hope that a reader will find this helpful and be comforted of the adversity with suffering from diabetes and bipolar disorder.

Kindle Bonanza: Free Triple downloads from me to us all

Originally posted on Marie Abanga's Blog:
Dear World with less than 30 hours left in this Kingdom of Belgium, I thought about what I could offer us all to express my profound appreciation for all the direct and indirect…

Oh My God, Look What The Cat Horked Up

furballYou absolutely know your day is gonna rock the casbah when…Before you’ve even scraped the cobwebs off your sleepy eyeballs your bulimic cat projectile vomits across the kitchen floor. Yep. I have two bulimic cats. They don’t cough up furballs. They just eat and eat and eat until they involuntarily puke. Thank you, Voodoo. Nothing says  I love you like cleaning up your vomit.

The second sign it’s gonna a good (sarcasm) day…R called me around 8 to tell me his car broke down and he needed help pushing it out of the road. I don’t care, god, knows he’s done the same for me more times than I can count. These are the times when I’m glad I’m from big boned hillbilly stock. I can move my own furniture, push cars, and reach the top shelf without needing a man’s help. Dad raising us girls to basically be as rough and tumble as boys might have been a good thing.

Last night was awful. The humidity hit like 71% and it was 93 degrees at six p.m. By which time, I’d been in my sauna bubble and in spite of air and fans, I was so overheated I became literally ill physically. Headache, nausea. When I went to R’s, I didn’t even jump on the Mangoritas, I nursed cold water for two hours until I acclimated to his super cool house. It’s pretty fucking miserable when it cuts into my drinking time. (Sorry, I had a Wednesday 13 song stuck in my head with that last part in the lyrics…”I’ve got…too much blood in my alcohol system…) I had to ask for Tylenol and of course, his living room has all these wide open windows with sheer curtains so the sunlight was piercing my retinas and making it all so much worse. Then he made it even more heinous by turning on a Tom Cruise movie. That idget is banished from my kingdom for his ‘mental illness is not real” Scientology ass fuck bullshit. I didn’t watch it, just laid down on the couch, closed my eyes, and tried not to hurl. Not sure if the hurl urge was the heat or Cruise.

I had one of my socially awkward moments when Lori abruptly showed up to watch The Flash reruns with us. I dunno know why, I’ve known Lori for almost 20 years, she’s awesome. I worked in her daycare as an assistant, yet socially awkward penguin always comes out, especially when not given a heads up that there will be a crowd. (Which ya know in my book, means more than two people.)

Lori is the one whose husband was killed a couple months back when he was using a chainsaw to cut a neighbor’s tree down and the saw basically went berserk and he was dead instantly. She’s still struggling being alone as they were together over thirty years. In socially awkward penguin mode, I had no clue if I was supposed to give condolences or if bringing it up would just open the wound. Then every time there was a reference to death or husband on the show, I got a little ill at ease. (She seemed fine.) I should probably buy a self help book or some shit and improve my social skills. Not that it’d do much good with my mood swings, I’d acquire all the skills, go manic,and blurt out exactly the wrong thing. Stupid bipolar.

It was still 90 degrees at ten p.m. I took my third shower of the day. Only way I can get cooled down when the humidity is so thick, moisture just glistens on your skin and you’re doing nothing but sitting or standing. I thought for sure because of my lack of sleep the night before, I’d zonk out, no spawn to disturb me. Yeah, the scumbag brain vetoed that plan. I was awake til after 11. Woke up a couple of times. Thought, I should get my ass up and do some work around the house since I was spawn free. That didn’t happen either. My give a damn and giddy up and go were definitely MIA.

Come to think of it, those fuckers have been MIA for months. They need their picture put on milk cartons.

I had to call my dad back this morning for it was too late to call last night. He wanted to know how I was handling the heat, trailer being so hot and all. Um…I’m not handling it, I’m meeelting. I answered honestly about how it was hot in here I got physically ill. And thus he launched into, “Yeah, tell me about it. Your brother and I are were out in it, mowing several lawns the size of football fields…” It’s like a competition of “who has it worse” with him, but he always win by his own decree. And ya know, logic would dictate that working out in the sun and heat would make one miserable. But I was sitting in my home and sweating to death. That’s pathetic.

Thus far, I’ve done nothing today but clean up cat hork and help push a car. Not much on the agenda, anyway, except stopping by the shop so R can go make deposit at the bank. He can use my car. I trust him more than I ever did the donor. Then I gotta go fetch my spawn.I should mow the lawn before the landlord starts gnawing on my ass but I ain’t feeling it. He’s about an asshole, anyway. The other side of the trailer park literally had toilets draining in the street, toilet paper and waste and all, cos his maintenance guys couldn’t fix sewage right. But yea, my unlidded trash cans and overgrown lawn are way worse. Public enemy number one, that’s me. I know, I make a big deal out of silly shit, but it’s just irritating that these fuckers have such idiotic priorities.

It occurs to me this must be the most boring blog on the planet. I talk too much about the weather. All I do is complain. I mean, I call it venting but apparently, the popular opinion is ‘whining’. Meh, bite me.

It has occurred to me, that even in my anhedonic depressive state…I’ve really enjoyed the swapping of comments with everyone that talks to me on here. You guys are fucking awesome. You’re the support system I always wanted. So thank you for bringing a little light into my dark corner. This, of course, means that we are all cured, because mentally ill people cannot possibly share humorous remarks. Those few bright moments of enjoyment totally outweigh all the suckiness we endure.

Much love go my Volatile Femmes. That road trip needs to happen soon, ladies!

Okay. I’m gonna work on the getting dressed thing even though I’m half tempted to just wear what I slept in. Scuzzy, perhaps. But everything I own is black and I have multiples of the same things, I doubt anyone would even notice.

One final thing. Shameless promotion of a product I adore and the more people who buy it, the less likely it is they will take it away from me.

cheezitHa ha, cheese with my whine.

 


Fifty Facts

fifty

Accepting a challenge from my friend Joel Sax at Pax Nortana – fifty things you may not know about me:

  1. Secular Judaism was the “religion” of my immediate family.
  2. Because I couldn’t touch my toes, I was asked to leave ballet school when I was a child.
  3. My family now contains a total of five grandchildren (my daughter has three sons, Greg’s son and daughter have one child each-a son and a daughter – hmmm, I just realized the son has a daughter and the daughter has a son).
  4. I never imagined I’d live long enough to see grandchildren.
  5. How to correctly walk up and down stairs is all I can remember from Charm School.
  6. Having a bit of a socialite mother, I know (or at least used to know), the purpose of every piece of china and silverware in a place setting.
  7. I could sew with hand-stitches that looked like they came from a sewing machine by the time I was 8, thanks to my grandmother (a tailor) and my mother (a clothing designer) – both perfectionists.
  8. The only living member of my immediate family is my brother (other than myself) .
  9. I have a couple of very talented and somewhat famous cousins.
  10. People in general (doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress, or how you speak) scare the hell out of me.
  11. Even though I’m told it’s against human nature, I would prefer to live completely alone near a library (well maybe a cat could share my space), even with no internet *gasp*
  12. My self-esteem is slightly greater than that of a squashed bug.
  13. I’m an excellent actress, you may rarely know what I’m really feeling….
  14. ….consequently, I am a chameleon, in that I’m still trying to figure out who I am so I just try to blend in with whomever is around me.
  15. When challenged, I will rise to the occasion. If you say “you can’t,” I will.
  16. Respect is at the top of my list for most-important-characteristics-in-a-person.
  17. Unconditional love was not a given, I had to learn how to accept it (I’m still learning).
  18. This one was surprising to me when I allowed it to be acknowledged – I am creative.
  19. Perfectionism bedevils me.
  20. I’m not always nice.
  21. I was a Mormon for a while to please my ex-husband.
  22. I lied just so I could get a library card, that’s how important reading is to me.
  23. I will most likely be honest, so don’t ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer (yes, those pants do make your behind look as huge as a refrigerator). In other words, tact was something I had to be taught over thirty years ago and it’s still not one of my major talents.
  24. I feel emotions too strongly for my comfort level.
  25. Making fun of my mentally-ill self is my own coping skill. I absolutely do not treat others the same way.
  26. And in that same vein…I am not as kind to myself nearly as much as I am to others.
  27. I could never have won Mother-of-the-Year award, but I love my daughters fiercely and unconditionally.
  28. Surviving domestic violence made me a stronger woman.
  29. Every day that I survive my mental illness makes me more empathetic.
  30. After over 40 years of driving, I still don’t know how to change a flat tire.
  31. The freezing snow in Ohio is preferable to the burning heat of Arizona, and Southern California is Eden.
  32. Trust is elusive.
  33. I learned that when growing up in Southern California, majoring in French is a waste of time, unless your future plans include marrying a wealthy landowner and living on an artichoke farm on Prince Edward Island (yes, really).
  34. Even though I was accepted with Honors at Entrance to the university, I was on Academic Probation my Sophomore year – I gave up.
  35. When I worked in a bank, I was held up by a bank robber and foiled several forgers.
  36. I used to have a Betty Crocker trophy for being outstanding in all of home economics in Junior High School.
  37. My taste in music is extremely eclectic.
  38. I have a less varied idea of what type of art I like.
  39. After being raised to be, and then expected to be, a “trophy” wife; I now live in jeans and t-shirts, am married to hick, and am a terrible housekeeper (although I can still pull off the social graces when necessary).
  40. I seem to be the only one who finds this ironic: My mother’s father was a furrier, my father’s father was a butcher, and my father was a physician. The first generation worked with dead things, the next generation attempted to heal living beings.
  41. I’m pretty sure I’m an atheist.
  42. I have a love/hate relationship with where I live.
  43. I’ve never had a major auto accident, but inanimate objects tend to get in my way when I’m parking or backing up. I’ve also only ever had two speeding tickets in my lifetime.
  44. My idea of “roughing it” is no working toilet in a camper. No outside camping, no way.
  45. I have two living daughters out of five pregnancies.
  46. Swimming in cool, clear, clean water is my idea of bliss.
  47. Although I’ve had many massages, I have never felt relaxed.
  48. My favorite color is Kelly Green (it was the obligatory black when I was a teenager).
  49. My favorite song is “Moondance,” by Van Morrison.
  50. My favorite movie is “Somewhere in Time.”

Your turn…please post your link in my comments or on Facebook. I’d love to learn 50 new things about you.

Tagged: fun

Dreaming II

SO I go from exquisitely detailed dreams that would make good stories to two nights in a row of disturbing dreams I don’t want.   Not scary or anything like that, just disturbing.  Wondering where THAT came from.

I wish i understood my dreams.  For years I dreamed I was back in college, but it was always with a nasty twist–I didn’t know my schedule.  Or I forgot to ever go to one of my classes.  Or I couldn’t get myself out of bed to go to class.

Other times I dream my mom is back in my daily life bossing me around like a child.  I’m thinking in the dream, “I am forty-some-odd years old now.  I don’t have to do anything you say!”  But I never say that.  I just listen to her yell at me some more.

Or I dream abut moving to a new house–another repeating dream.  It’s either huge with lots of corners to explore–or it looks just like our current house until I discover a whole new wing we didn’t know existed.     .

Hopefully I can go back to not remembering my dreams if they stay in the current mold of disturbing.  All I can do is not let it bother me in the real world.  We will see.

.


40 Random Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

I got the inspiration for this post from my good friend Kitt O’Malley, a fellow bipolar blogger who made a list of 50 things you didn’t know about her. You can check that out as soon as you’re done reading mine. :-)

1. I was born in Escondido, California.

2. I’m bilingual, Spanish/English. I understand and read Spanish a whole lot better than I speak it, but I can speak enough to get by.

3. I probably know 100 Spanish slang words for men’s and women’s private parts. That’s what I get for growing up with kids who spoke street Spanish.

4. I can cuss in French and German, too.

5. I once spent four hours in jail for being “drunk and disorderly”. Which meant I got 86’d from a bar and I refused to leave the premises. Not one of my brighter moments, that’s for sure.

6. I got married when I was 21.

7. I was reading 9th-grade level books in first grade.

8. My sister taught me both to read and tell time when I was 4.

9. My big toe is shaped like a light bulb.

10. I have skinny-dipped…well, it’s more like chunky-dunked, but you know what I mean.

11. I skipped second grade.

12. I never sneeze more than twice in a row. Which is a good thing, because my head would explode otherwise.

13. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

14. That said, I love singing in church and reminding God that He gave me this voice to make a joyful noise unto Him.

15. I’m a forum moderator at a football fan forum. I’m also a site guide for the world’s largest nursing website.

16. My biology teacher in high school nicknamed me “Picky” because I was always correcting his spelling and grammar. Well, it needed correction.

17. I’ve written articles and commentaries that have appeared in several large West Coast newspapers and one national magazine.

18. I was orphaned at 30.

19. I was the first person in my family to go to college

20. I graduated from nursing school and passed my boards when I was 38

21. My favorite kind of food is Mexican.

22. My four food groups: fat, salt, sugar, and chipotle pepper.

23. I never turn on lights when I have to use the bathroom at night. It’s in Braille.

24. I love a good action movie.

25. I hate movies about robots and/or zombies.

26. Two of my children (a son and a daughter) are Iraq War Veterans.

27. I once bumped into singer Helen Reddy in a ladies’ room in Las Vegas.

28. I can wiggle my ears.

29. I am afraid of birds.

30. I am even more afraid of spiders. I’d rather deal with a snake any day.

31. I was even afraid of computers before I was forced to take a class in order to graduate from college. I got over it about a week into the course, and after that I taught myself everything I know about PCs.

32. I have ridden an elephant.

33. I’m a recovering alcoholic.

34. My musical taste is very eclectic—I listen to just about everything except “death metal” and gangsta rap.

35. I love dogs, but I love cats even more and I miss having them.

36. I once danced on a bar in Ensenada, Mexico. Well, I was liquored up or I wouldn’t have done it, but looking back I realize that I was manic at the time so who knows, maybe I would have.

37. My index and ring fingers are equal in length.

38. My baby fingers are double-jointed.

39. My middle finger works great.

40. I’ve had three children by Cesarean.

Now it’s your turn to share!


Dear Governor of Texas,

So, there is no such thing as a mental illness! Well, is there such a thing as physical illness? Paralysis is a form of illness. You were paralyzed when a tree fell on you while running and broke your spine. So we have now established that there is such a thing as physical illness. You have one! So we have also established that the physical body can break down and get sick.

Now let us ask whether the brain is part of the physical body. Well is the brain a part of the physical body? Yes, it is. The physical body can get sick, the brain is part of the physical body, therefore the brain can get sick! What happens when the brain gets sick? Well, the brain can get cancer, as in tumors. It can produce hormonal imbalances, as in diseases of the pituitary gland. It can result in illnesses such as Parkinson’t disease, a physical illness of the brain tissue called substantia nigra which is responsible for producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are molecules through which neurons communicate with each other and through which neurons communicate with other cells of the body, like muscle cells. Neurotransmitters are also involved in the production of feelings, emotions, thoughts. When neurotransmitters (either levels or types) go awry, we have a chemical imbalance that then results in symptoms of mental illness. Ostensibly, too much dopamine can cause aggression and hallucinations, too little serotonin can cause depression and muscle aches. There is GABA, nitrous oxide, epinephrine/adrenaline and norepinephrine/noradrenaline. And an imbalance in any of these neurotransmitters (and in others not yet known) can cause not only physical symptoms, but emotional, mental, and thinking disorders/illnesses.

So there it is, the human body can get illnesses, the human brain is part of the human body, therefore it too can get sick. Some of the illnesses that the human brain gets are mental illnesses, diseases of the emotions, thoughts, and feeling, as the brain is the seat of these things.

Perhaps, if you had appointed someone who believed in science and evolution as the chair of your state board of education, instead of the laughable Barbara Cargill, you might well have learned this.