Monthly Archives: August 2017

Book Reviews: fAdE tO bLuE and mOnOchrOme

fAdE tO bLuE by H.M. Jones fAdE tO bLuE is H.M. Jones‘ prequel to mOnOchrOme. Those of us who read Monochrome met the fascinating character Ishmael. This prequel gives us Ishmael’s back story and explains more about how the hellish world of Monochrome works. Monochrome…


Turns out I assigned too little of Beowulf–we did finish it in one class period and so I had to make up a homework assignment on the spur of the moment and have them pick out their favorite passages and tell why they liked them, and we will read them out loud in class.  SO that should take care of Friday.  Then we have Labor Day, another reading, then the test.  I hope my plan for the test works well.

Feels like a long day already.  I have some people who are connecting with the reading and with me but others are just there.  Maybe once we get out of the complex stuff we will get more response. I had four people add since Monday and only two of them showed up.  I guess I need to email out the homework assignment and make sure everyone knows about it since it’s not on the syllabus,.

I go see Tillie today and see if we can’t head off whatever thus is at the pass.  I still feel much better but still have some existential lethargy going on.  I need to get into my laundry and sort it out for fall– see what I can wear and what I can’t. I get the feeling I will need black pants for my birthday.


Dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain

Love this article! Dancing is one of my very favorite things to do, and it is wonderful that it can have such beneficial effects upon our health!

August 25, 2017

As we grow older we suffer a decline in mental and physical fitness, which can be made worse by conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. A new study, published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, shows that older people who routinely partake in physical exercise can reverse the signs of aging in the brain, and dancing has the most profound effect.

“Exercise has the beneficial effect of slowing down or even counteracting age-related decline in mental and physical capacity,” says Dr Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study, based at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, Germany. “In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that lead to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance.”

Elderly volunteers, with an average age of 68, were recruited to the study and assigned either an eighteen-month weekly course of learning dance routines, or endurance and flexibility training. Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain. This is important because this area can be prone to age-related decline and is affected by diseases like Alzheimer’s. It also plays a key role in memory and learning, as well as keeping one’s balance.

While previous research has shown that physical exercise can combat age-related brain decline, it is not known if one type of exercise can be better than another. To assess this, the exercise routines given to the volunteers differed. The traditional fitness training program conducted mainly repetitive exercises, such as cycling or Nordic walking, but the dance group were challenged with something new each week.

Dr Rehfeld explains, “We tried to provide our seniors in the dance group with constantly changing dance routines of different genres (Jazz, Square, Latin-American and Line Dance). Steps, arm-patterns, formations, speed and rhythms were changed every second week to keep them in a constant learning process. The most challenging aspect for them was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor.”

These extra challenges are thought to account for the noticeable difference in balance displayed by those participants in dancing group. Dr Rehfeld and her colleagues are building on this research to trial new fitness programs that have the potential of maximizing anti-aging effects on the brain.

“Right now, we are evaluating a new system called “Jymmin” (jamming and gymnastic). This is a sensor-based system which generates sounds (melodies, rhythm) based on physical activity. We know that dementia patients react strongly when listening to music. We want to combine the promising aspects of physical activity and active music making in a feasibility study with dementia patients.”

Dr Rehfeld concludes with advice that could get us up out of our seats and dancing to our favorite beat.

“I believe that everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life, for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to this, counteracting several risk factors and slowing down age-related decline. I think dancing is a powerful tool to set new challenges for body and mind, especially in older age.”

This study falls into a broader collection of research investigating the cognitive and neural effects of physical and cognitive activity across the lifespan.

“I’m The Ugliest Girl I Know”

That title is a quote from Pink’s acceptance speech at the VMA awards and refers to what her 6-year-old daughter, Willow, said on her way to school one day. However, it is something I said many times myself at that age and all through my life. Pink’s speech is very powerful and should be seen …

I Think THIS Mom’s Gone Crazy

In keeping with my Eminem theme from earlier…Only it’s not “My dad’s gone crazy”…I think it is ME who has gone crazy.

It started early afternoon, the looming anxiety, panic, the paranoia…Bad juju, I call it, when I have all these foreboding emotions I can’t explain with hard facts or situations that explain why I feel that way.

Over the last few hours, the panxiety (paranoia/anxiety hybrid, MY term, and YES, it is a thing) has become stifling. We were at the store and some chick was wandering around with her phone held out. For all I know she was trying for a better signal, trying for a pic of something that has nothing to do with me…But scumbag brain’s go to is instant paranoia and freak out anxiety. OMG THE DONOR HAS SOMEONE TRACKING ME, SEEING HOW I SPEND MONEY! And then I talk myself off that ludicrous ledge and…

Scumbag brain offers up an Encore (I can’t stop with the Eminem references!) and says, no, it’s the government tracking you. Because you applied for a replacement social security card on line and you still haven’t heard if you’ve been ‘approved’ and they said they’d check your credit report and they probably see all your debts and they’re reading your blog and having people follow you with a cell phone camera, OMG THEY ARE WATCHING YOU IN AN EFFORT TO PROVE YOU’RE NOT DISABLED.

Crazy? Perhaps.

But then I get to thinking about the world we live in these days. Used to, you filled out paperwork, if you forgot to cross a T or dot an I, they cut you some slack. Now in the digital age, some missed typo could land you in some sort of ‘you committed fraud’ situation. I checked and rechecked before I clicked the electronic signature but now that I haven’t heard yay or nay on simply getting a replacement card (I’m me, I was born here, you have my driver’s license number,ffs with my picture!)…panxiety is rioting. I am itching, my stomach is back in knots which had subsided once I escaped the dish and returned to my sanctuary…

The Donor used to say the only people who feared loss of privacy or doing legal paperwork was someone who had something to hide. I still say bullshit. Because I know how things get lost in the mail or misconstrued (kinda like those outstanding bills I ended up paying but was penalized for being late cos hey, I never got anything in the mail and I ALWAYS did the change of address thing, always, but it was still on me.)


It’s really not far fetched. And my bad juju is often as right as it is wrong. Under the current regime of government, anything short of missing 4 limbs is likely not considered a disability and oh,well, if you are disabled, you don’t contribute so bring out the poor disabled person concentration camps.

I’ve gone stark raving mad, right?

I hope I have. It’d be better than being right about some of this stuff coming to fruition.

Personally, I think someone who abruptly starts thinking random people with camera phones and random requests for needed documents are out to get them…is probably a bit on the loopy not reliable side. I’m not bats-in-belfry just yet but I am getting there. Which technically means I am sicker now than when my disability was originally granted.

Now back to my irregularly schedules itching and hives while I await scumbag brain’s next attempt to drive me over the edge.

Grumpy, but Trying

Yeah yeah, I know, I fell off the radar again. The tl;dr is that my brain continues to be fine in the not swinging sense, crap in the actual spoons to do anything sense, and for my body? Hooboy. The chronic fatigue has gone from bad to ridiculous in the past year, to the point where I need a walking stick to do the school run (it’s just over half a mile round trip by foot).



So like, the only ‘bad’ brain stuff I have lately is in dreams. I’ve had the weird occasional spot of feeling depressed in my dreams, to the point of actually tasting and feeling the chemicals. Thankfully, those weren’t dreams where I woke bolt up thinking it was actually happening, so that’s something. Really though, it’s been rather resilient — and that includes having been dealing with a bullying situation for most of the past year. Don’t worry about that though guys, that situation has long since lost its ability to cause me distress. 🙂

So while that’s good, the whole able to function thing is… well. I can’t say limited per se, because I manage my daily writing, and I manage to do a good job of work, but I have less left after those things than I used to. I can’t remember the last time I was able to properly make the rounds and visit other peoples’ blogs, which… well, I’m past the point of caring. I want to be able to care and to go a-visiting, but I don’t have it in me. Of course, those of you seeing this are probably completely understanding of how that goes, so thanks in advance for understanding. I’m hoping I can try to find a little bit of energy to direct towards doing some basic maintenance for the network, but I make no promises.


Body Talk

Really, the bulk of my issues are body-related. Weight aside (thanks meds and IUD!), the chronic fatigue package comes with feeling like I’ve got the flu all the time. I’ve got various aches and pains by default. I occasionally have dizziness which may or may not be related to that, but is something I’ve been dealing with since I was a stick figure of a human anyways. I’m in day after next to get blood taken for testing, so we’ll see if any new and fun gremlins have popped up. I’ve taken to using one of the walking sticks we bought for geocaching for anything that isn’t to the car and back, if only to help prevent worse back pain.

((I’ll add here that I am not looking for advice or suggestions to try and help pain and fatigue, or ‘weight management’. Offering such is asking me to go ballistic AND pedantic on you and let’s just avoid that, kk? <3))

Still, I do a pretty good job of keeping myself cheerful and sane, so that’s something.

I won’t make any promises to come around more. Like I said, I don’t have a lot of spare mental spoonage these days. But I hope I can make myself drag corpse this way. As usual, if you need more immediately confirmation I’m alive, poke me on Twitter or Instagram.


‘Till I Collapse

As of late, I’ve been occasionally working song titles into my post titles. Bon Jovi, Papa Roach, Motionless in White…Today, I am going with Eminem. He’s funny as hell but his message is awesome, I admire my fellow “Fuck You” brigade members. And this song of his is how I am feeling today or at least how I want to feel. Because with mental glitches, no amount of stubborn will to keep going can ward off the meltdowns.

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired, feel weak
And when you feel weak
You feel like you wanna just give up
But you gotta search within you
And gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you
And get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall
Flat on your face and collapse

I’m at the shop again, as a favor to R, and it is quiet but my cramps are not, nor is my nervous stomach. And I’m feeling a little woozy which is weird because I ate a few bites of cereal, haven’t taken my meds yet, and have had a little soda so my blood sugar shouldn’t have dropped or jumped enough to cause wooziness.

Maybe it’s because we lost another kitten. Yeah, Cleo ninja dropped 4 preemies the other day and now I have to bury a kitten who lived less than 24 hours.After burying my beloved Graves and the others last week. Death doesn’t bother me in general but when it’s an animal or someone I am truly bonded with…I take it pretty hard. Yeah, I come off as all uncaring and cold but that’s emotional battle armor.

I am in that dangerous place. I know I’ve pushed myself way too hard and that if I don’t step back soon and give myself a brain reboot, I WILL go splat. It’s not a question of if,it’s just when. Because that is the price of being uber functional for me. I am a badass who just keeps going like the battery bunny from hell…until I simply can’t. I hit the wall and essentially drop out of life. Beyond my kid and cats, everything ceases to matter. Friendships, family, trying to be functional and fake it til I make it out of the depression or anxiety…It all goes away and I collapse and it’s more my mind’s way of throwing a safety switch than anything. Because if life won’t slow down and allow me the break I need when I need it and I have to keep going…SPLAT happens.

And no matter how many times it happens everyone around me still scratches their head and wonders why I crashed and burned. Because hey, I don’t work, I have the easy life,blah blah fuck off and die in a fire. You don’t go far if your car’s gas tank is on E and the same is true for me when my mental reserves are on E. I wish I were tougher but it is what it is

But ’till I collapse and splat…I’m here, burying my dead, pretended my stomach’s not tied into pretzels, my ovary oompa loompas don’t exist, and lying to myself by saying, “I’ve got this, I can do this.”

I want to do it.

And I also want to be a unicorn because this being an adult thing sucks.

See? Still not a unicorn, desire be damned.

Going Well So Far

I managed class well yesterday and as I said had to straighten out my syllabus.  Finished the reading for my W class and absolutely hated the book, structure aside. It was really just awful.  So I finished my discussion questions for it this morning so I’ve been somewhat productive. I have Candy and Christy over today then go see Holly to get my hair colored, then I go  daysshopping.  SO I have a busy day ahead.

I go see Tillie tomorrow to work on my little meltdown. Figure out what happened and see what we can do to keep it from happening again.   Because I don’t ever want to have that happen again.  I do not like living at the mercy of my moods. I just won’t and don’t want to again.

I’m trying to get to where I want to work more on the pockets of chaos in the house. I’m working on finding the motivation and haven’t so far. I’d rather rest or sleep than do that.  But it really does need some serious decluttering.  I’ll get to it one of these days.


Mental Popcorn Recipe

Take 1 bipolar axis 2 med resistant patien
Add propensity for paranoia and panic due to anxiety disorder
Toss in 8 month long depressions with 4 month long stable-ish bouts or hypomania
Combine with 300mg Wellbutrin and 10mg Trintellix

Mental popcorn.

See, I don’t know how to better describe the side effects I get from my dual anti depressant therapy. I have allergies to pretty much everything so being itchy has just been part of my life since childhood as is tossing back anti-histamines. The mood stabilizers and anti anxiety pills do not cause itchiness, I have mythbusted this numerous times.

Rare occasions, a single anti depressant/anti psychotic like Abilify or Lexapro resulted in the sensation of itchiness and bugs crawling all over my skin. No hallucinations that bugs are there, just all over body itchiness.

My current regime of Wellbutrin and Trintellix, though…The itchiness is head to toe and it’s like…popcorn popping. Think more old school hot air popcorn maker where you can hear and watch as the kernels pop and fall into a bowl. Now place that sensation on every inch of your skin and hair. Pop, pop,pop,pop, constantl. On your skin, under your skin, in your brain, scalp, EVERYWHERE EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY.

Mental popcorn.

The alternative is to stop one or both drugs and go back on the medi go round, thus sacrificing what little progress the meds have given me. It’s not a choice where you really win because, hey, mental popcorn itself is maddening as bipolar and depression and anxiety attacks.

And don’t tell your mental healthcare pro you have mental popcorn unless you have a mega potentially fatal rash to back it up. They look at you like you have sprouted two heads and a third eye. Just because the pharma company didn’t list it or perhaps trial patients didn’t know how to describe it but for “itchiness”…does not mean it’s not real.

I can occasionally quell the popcorn sensations or lessen them with an anti-histamine. Right now, I am forced outside my crypt into the dish and have no access to said medication and…I really like eating popcorn but feeling like it’s bugs popping on my skin 24-7 is making me rethink my snack choices.

Church Last Night

As soon as I saw the sermon title to last night’s preaching, I knew I was supposed to be there.  It was “Living in VIctory over Vanity”.  It was on a passage out of 1 Corinthians that discussed how nothing done unto the Lord is ever done in vain.  I so needed to hear that.  I had been in the pit all weekend about how nothing I did was worth anything and how worthless I felt trying to do things that weren’t working out.  I cried through the whole sermon and went as was prayed over by some very ice ladies who encouraged me a great deal.

THen Cindy and Mark Steven wanted to come by and pray for me last night afterwards, said that I had been on their hearts all day to pray for me so that was nice as well.  I feel 100% better.  And I got to school today on time and that all went well. SO we will see what happens this week with the road closure and all.  But I think it’s going to be fine.

FOund out I messed up my syllabus and need to change it for the next two weeks.  it I think reflects how scared and upset I was how I just made all kinds of mistakes.  So I’m going ot issue a new one I think and hand that out next time.

Please continue to pray for me in all of this and that I will continue to fight off the depression and make my way through my days in purpose and in joy.