Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'm getting an office!

WOO!  I am super -dee-duper excited about this development, and you should be too!  I am nixing my dining room/area as we don't use it anyway and creating an office space for myself!  This is one of the best things I can do for myself as a writer, crafter and person.  Having a dedicated space to work in will help me to do more.  I can write more and craft and do all the things that i love free of distractions!  All of this is SO good for my mental health!
Love this command center! Home mail organization is always something I need to fine tune.
I love this look, but that's not enough work space for me!

There is a long way to go, but I couldn't hide my excitement!  I need to clean out the current dining room, which is a chose as its simply a catchall for everything and anything we need a place for.  and it will mean packing up a bunch of things that I don't really use or have space for right now, but it will be worth it!

like the curtain- is it to hide the office away? Ohhh- the desktop is a $19 door from Lowes.  Is it attached to the wall on the left side?
I love the use of vertical space here!
I started today!  i packed up a bunch of books, keeping out only books I will use.  A few treasured series, come photography books, and a few spiritual books, along with "Everything you need to know about getting published."  There are lots of nick-knacks to pack up and other choices to make, but this process is long overdue.
Spring
COLORS!  I LOVE THE COLORS!
I have a decent amount of space to use, but I will need to keep some pace for other household Items, like the hutch for my dishes.  I am keeping the bookshelf, but re-purposing it to hold things other than books. I know, I'm a visionary.
corner-desk-simplkellyblog-18
This is more like it!  A corner desk with a floating front!
Beyond that I need help!  I have no idea what to use or how to organize!  I will be using the space for writing and crafting.  So I will need flat working space, and space for my laptop, plus a larger keyboard and printer.  My desk will face out into my living room with a wall to the left for any vertical space I want to sue.  I want to be organized and surrounded by things that I love and inspire me.  What are your must haves for a creative and inspiring space?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dark Side Paranormal: An Expose

Hello there folks!  This post will take a slightly different turn from anything I have written before.  I was not paid for this post, and will never write any thing I am paid for without telling you up front.

Before proceeding I feel like I should offer you a small glimpse into my own experience with the paranormal. I have always been sensitive to the unseen world around me.  I have head, seen and felt spirits and often had to do some research and figure out why they were still hanging about.  Rarely was I able to do more than observe.  As I got older it became more difficult for me to use my gift as the cynic in me grew.  Now I work to keep my gift as strong as I can, but I know I have lost much.  I have friends who do more.

Dark Side Paranormal is a local Central Florida based Non-Profit Organization based entirely on helping people to find out if their homes etc are in fact haunted.  They do not charge for their services and are unique in the fact that they can also perform cleansings and blessings to remove these entities when found helping people to feel more comfortable in their homes.

Here are quick bios for Justin and T.J. the founding members of Darkside Paranormal.

Left, Justin Right T.J.
Justin: Justin is a fourteen year vet of the fire service, and also served two years as a police officer.  He has been studying the paranormal for twenty years and has been a professional paranormal investigator for six.  He grew up in Orlando but spent seven years living in New Orleans, vastly believed to be one of the most haunted places int he United States.  He has a unique eye for detail which has served him well in his professional life as a fire fighter and a police officer.  Justin is also a chaplain with a strong connection to God and walks this path so that others, people who are not as strong, will not have to.  He walks a path fraught with potential danger facing and fighting the evil lurking in the shadows using the strength and courage afforded to him through his faith.  His experience as a clergyman allows him to perform blessings, cleansings and other religious ceremonies to drive evil from the world and help lost souls to find their peace.  He is determined not to stop this important work and will serve for as long as he is able.

TJ: T.J. grew up in the south spending most of that time in Mississippi and New Orleans.  He has studied the paranormal for ten years and has been investigating for the last five.  T.J. spends his days working a regular job here in the Orlando area at a major theme park corporation.  He spends his free time hunting what scares you in the dark because he has been there.  He has been the victim of the paranormal and wants to shine a light into your worst fears.

I asked a few questions to get a little more info on the team and their experiences as paranormal investigators.

Q: How did you become interested in the paranormal?

Justin:  I became interested in the paranormal after several occurrences I had as a child.  Shadows used to visit my old home frequently.  I decided to pursue paranormal investigation on the professional level after an experience i/ had as a firefighter.  I was led out of a house fire by a firefighter that was not there.  the building had been evacuated already but I had become disoriented and lost.  A familiar voice called out and told me to grab his boot leading me out of the house.  I later realized that the person belonging to that voice had died two years ago.

T.J.: I became interested in the paranormal when I was growing up as a kid in a house in Tennessee.  Nearly every night around three am, I would hear my name called by a female voice that did not belong to my mother or sister.  Taking a shower was also an interesting time as 90% of the time there were hands that would push on the shower curtain.  As many times as I would quickly throw open the curtain there was never anyone there.  I took it upon myself to talk tot he owner of the house who told me a sad story.  It turned out a woman had killed herself there after her husband left her and took her children from her.  She had thrown herself out of a second story window onto ma cement slab next to the house.  After that it seemed to make sense that there was an entity there.  It also made sense that she was so protective of my sister and I, after losing her children like that.  My sister never saw anything, only I did.

Jenn: A couple of reasons put me on this path.  First, I had a paranormal experience as a child, after the death of my Grandfather.  I have had more experiences more recently, as an adult after the death of my son.  It's also something I can do, and have truly memorable experiences, with Justin.

Shadow figure!
Q:  What was your first investigation like?

T.J.: My first investigation was very scary!!  I really didn't know what I was doing and was just following what i had seen on T.V. This was a bad idea!  I was teasing the spirits to get a reaction, and I did, but not the kind I wanted.  that night I was scratched, pushed, hit and given some terrible nightmares.  Since then I have learned my lesson and proper investigation techniques, as well as a firm respect for the other side.

Justin:  My first investigation was pretty intense, and successful!  It was a place i worked in New Orleans.  We stumbled across some activity one night and decided to really investigate.  We did an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) and actually got a couple of voices.

Jenn: I was a little nervous and a little excited at the same time!

Q: What was your most active investigation like?

Justin: The most active investigation I have ever been on was a demonic case on the Mississippi gulf Coast.  Through the course of the four hour investigation we heard several voices, all evil, saw several shadows and light anomalies.  We also had some poltergeist activity with nails being thrown at us and wood moving apparently on it's own.  One of the team members investigating that night was even possessed for a time!

T.J.: One of the most active investigations I have ever been on happened right here in Florida!  It was in St. Augustine and we had activity in every location we visited.  We heard breathing in our ears, things being slammed on the ground, I caught several EVP' (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) as well, we hard lots of things from a little girl laughing to someone dragging something on the ground.  So much happened during that investigation that it is hard to recall everything, but there was never a dull moment.

Jenn:  It was very active, but not in a good way.  A lot of bad vibes and feelings.  Like we were unwanted.  We definitely were not welcome at that time.

Q: What percentage of your investigations lead to evidence of the paranormal versus your average old creaky house?

Justin:   We usually produce a 70/30 ratio with only about 30% of investigations producing an actual haunting.

T.J.:  I would have to agree with Justin on this one, it's 70/30.  Most people scare themselves, lord knows I do after watching a scary movie or even a paranormal show!  Almost everything can be debunked, and trust me we try to.  If we can debunk an issue it means the family can rest easy at night, but sometimes there just is no explanation.

Jenn:  Surprise!  I agree with the boys.  It's about a 70/30 ratio of non-paranormal to paranormal.

what on earth is that!
Q: What sets you apart from other paranormal investigators?

T.J.:  The thing that sets us apart is that in a normal investigation they come in, stay for a few hours, show you the evidence they collected (or lack thereof), and they leave.  We truly care for what this family might be going through and we will stay until the issues are solved and any entities are removed from the home or location.      

Jenn:  I think it is more personal for us.  It's more bout truly wanting to help, making things better and setting them right.  We want to make sure they feel safe and at ease, that the problem is truly solved for them.

Justin: We are a full service group.  We will investigate, provide any evidence caught.  the difference is we will go beyond that, we will cleanse and bless the area making sure you are safe from any harm.  We will not just leave you to fend for yourself, or rile up an entity making it worse.  We will see very case through to the end.

Q: Tell me about your most frightening or nerve wracking investigation.

T.J.:  The one I mention above as the most active was a rather tense night for me.

Jenn: the one I mention in your earlier question.  It was just a really bad, and unusual investigation.  A lot of bad energy and vibes.  Terrible feelings of dread and sadness.

Justin: The most frightening investigation I was ever on was one that involved someone using a Ouija Board (Bad Idea Kids!) these people ended up releasing a very demonic being that attacked several people including me and took several weeks to get rid of.

Q: Is there a funny story that you can share about your fellow team members?

T.J.: ...

Jenn: Well, being the only female at most of the investigations, the funniest thing for me is really just listening to Justin and TJ.  Needless to say the conversations they have can get pretty interesting!

Justin:  I have a funny story forma while ago.  We were doing a group investigation in a graveyard and someone got touched.  They proceeded to strip naked in the midst of their freak out!


*** Photos from the Darkside Paranormal Facebook Page.***

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Learning to deal with life altering news

This was a hard post to write.  Possible Triggers.

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I have been truly struggling lately with so much already.  Being sick with an auto immune disorder, lots of stress at work, trying to save for a house, and talking about our options for starting a family possibly through adoption.  Trying to catch up on editing my book, and start a business.  As well as all the daily struggles we all face, with the additions of depression and anxiety.  It hasn't really been a picnic.

Then I got a text message from my mother.   "Call me please.  It's important."

I got a little jolt of worry, followed by the inevitable procrastination of returning said text.  Eventually I did, but only to postpone the phone call since I was in a meeting at work.  And as the leader of said meeting there was no way for me to discreetly leave.

After the meeting I tasked my team with getting the room back in working order and sneaked outside.  My mother answered after the first ring.  She did not sound good.

The panic set in.  There were a million things running through my mind.  The dogs had been sick, were they okay?  Had she heard something about my Dad?  Or had something happened to my Grandpa?  He is not well and elderly, so anything could have happened.  It never crossed my mind that the issue was in fact with my mothers health.  She has always been healthy.  She has struggled with depression and anxiety, as most of the women in our family have, but nothing major had ever really happened beyond an inner ear infection and some bumps and bruises.

Then, "Are you still at work?  You might want to sit down."

After a brief intro about getting some bad news, she said "I have a brain tumor."

And my world was rocked.  She had little information at this point and was going to the doctor the following day for more details on her condition.

This changes my entire life, for so many reasons.  I am my mothers only child, leaving me with a lot to process and no one to bounce my feelings off of.  I mean, my husband is here for me and very supportive, but it's not his mother, so it's different.  This also means that all of the fall out and responsibility of her care fall to me.

I took the news knowing that a brain tumor is not a death sentence, and knowing we had very little info at this point and did not have a melt down.  I was calm, which surprised me, even though I was upset.  I gathered all the information she had at the time and hopefully left her feeling a bit calmer.  I reassured her that no matter where she had to go for surgery, I would be there.  She would not have to go through this alone.  I made her promise to call me when she got out of the doctors so we could make rational choices together, and to really know what I had to prepare myself for.

Turns out it's not nearly as bad as it could be.  the tumor is small, noncancerous, and can be taken care of with laser surgery as long as it densest grow between now and then.  It's still brain surgery, and there is still a lot to consider, but it could be so, so much worse.

I learned a lot over the years about dealing with traumatic news.  And I managed to put them all to use in the scenario and was very successful.  This is shocking to me as things as minor as burnt pizza can send me into spirals of depression.

I can credit this to changes I have made in my life and diet, including mood stabilizers.  Also to years of practice with putting on a good face.  Even when I am dying inside, I can make you believe everything is fine.  This is so unhealthy, but it was the only way I was able to function for most of my life.  I never would have thought that my own terrible health behaviors, when used in a controlled way would help, but they did.   Deep breaths helped keep me from panic, concentration kept tears to a minimum, and remembering that there was not much information available but there would be soon helped me look at it in a more clinical way.  I am extremely proud of myself for this, and sad for my younger self having to learn these coping mechanisms so young.  It;s a double edged sword....




Friday, April 18, 2014

Finding out how great it feels to have your health concerns taken seriously.

Wow.  You guys I have all kinds of joyous news to share!  I am not even sure where to begin!  Lets list them for starters!

1-  Being an advocate for your own health really does pay off.
2- Finding the right doctor is like magic.
3- No matter what your health issues are, you can find all kinds of support.
4- Giving up things you love for the sake of your health isnt as bad as it seems.
5- Feeling better, and almost normal again is worth so much more than you can ever really imagine.

I guess I will start at the top!  I have had concerns about having Hashimotos Thyroiditis for a while now, and when I brought it up to my old Dr. I was told that there was no difference in treating Hashi's than with regular hypothyroidism.  At the time I figured "she's the doctor, she must know what she's talking about."  But no matter what they told me about my "levels" being in normal range,(with no explanation of what those levels are or what they meant) I still felt so awful.  My doctor would dismiss all of my concerns and tell me to lose weight, that would make me feel better.  (If you follow the link above you will note that one of the symptoms is extreme fatigue, especially after exercise.)

I was being dismissed for my weight again, but she must know what she's talking about, right?  Then after a pretty bleak facebook status my aunt turned me on to some support and informational groups there.  And I found that there was a wealth of information about things I could do to feel better!  All well above and beyond what my doctor was doing or even willing to consider.  I started making changes to my diet, eliminating many things and even considering AIP.  While I haven't gone fully AIP I am currently Gluten Free, Alcohol Free, Processed sugar free, Artificial Sweetener Free.  I have eliminated "low fat" versions of items like milk, sour cream and pretty much everything else, as who know what is really in there if there is no fat content right?  I have added several vitamins to my daily regimen, like B12, D3, Biotin, C as well as a probiotic, I have upped my greens intake via adding spinach to my daily smoothies (YUM SMOOTHIES) And let me tell you, I. Feel. AMAZING!  Better than I have in years!  I am eating delicious full fat foods, and, even more surprisingly, I don't miss the items I cant have like bread and pasta, which I do love, but the food I am eating is so satisfying that I don't feel deprived!  I have added no exercise at all beyond what I was already doing, but I have lost a whopping 18 lbs.  I am still totally fat positive, but it's clear that not all of my adipose tissue was here because I am lazy or eating a ton of food all the time.  There was a legitimate medical issue that cause me to gain over 100 lbs. Remember I did all of this on my own, with zero  help from my doctor.  Then I decided it was time to make another change.

I looked through my insurance company to find a new doctor, someone who specialized in autoimmune disorders, and I found nothing.  I figured I would go to a specialist, my grandparents have a great endocrinologist but she required me to go back to my primary care again before seeing me. That wasn't going to work, my primary care doctor was the problem!

My wonderful husband brought this up to his Doctor.  He was appalled at the fact that my doctor simply wasn't listening and was not taking my concerns into consideration.  Remember I was so tired I was sleeping almost all the time and my moods were unstable and I was just feeling like general garbage. The Doctor was so mad that he volunteered to take me on as a patient even though he was not accepting new patients at the time!  I was beyond thrilled and set up an appointment for the following month when my husband would be there again.  I will let you know what happened in another post!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How my Body Defines me II: My experience with Healthcare as a Fat Person

Hello,hello my loves!  Time for another does of how my body defines me and the way I live my life.  Not because it physically hinders me in any way, but because society sees it as a problem, and likes to remind me that I should keep my fat ass inside and covered up as much as possible. 

Healthcare is a deeply personal issue for each and every person.  You must be your own advocate, and now more than ever, must seek out second and third and even fourth opinions.  I cannot tell you how many people I know who have had serious issues, but who haven't gotten an answer until pitching a big enough fit to enough doctors and nurses to finally run a test that they never would have run.  Tests that came back with life altering results.  This is not the fault of doctors, per se, it is the fault of our medical system, our insurance companies, who take our money week after week and month after month, then refuse us services deemed necessary by our doctors.  Leaving us with fewer and fewer options, raising co-pays and deductibles to cover the little services we do receive and leaving us to have incredible debt just to stay healthy and alive.

This is especially true when you talk about a fat person.  Going to the doctor can be stress inducing and embarrassing for anyone, with any body type.  Then insert societal pressures to be thin, then insert all the assumptions most people (In my experience) have about fat people and their health.  (Like the person at work last week who was positive I must have diabetes based solely on the fact that I am fat.  I don't.)

When you go to the doctor one of the first things they do is ask weigh you.  As a fat person, even one who is happy with themselves and their life, this can be incredibly stressful.  Each click of the slide moving along the bar denoting the physical poundage of your body feels like a judgement.  then that number gets denoted in your chart, forever.  This number will follow you through all your life to each and every doctor you ever visit. This already seems pretty bad right?  Sometimes it gets worse.  

Sometimes, you become just the number on the scale.  You are a Fat Person, not a person who is fat.  There is a difference.  Fat Person denotes your fatness as what you are, instead of being a person, or even a patient first.  This fatness starts to define you, even in the eyes of medical professionals.  The answer to each an every ailment becomes "lose weight".  Regardless of family medical history, or even your own medical history.  Your back hurts?  Lose weight, no it doesn't matter that you got a sports related injury several years ago, even if you weren't fat then.  Obviously you just need to lose weight.  What's that?  You have conditions that prevent you from losing weight normally?  Well, lose weight and i bet those go away too! 

This is not always the case.  I have a thyroid disorder.  Yes, this can improve with weight loss, but being fat didn't cause the condition, it is a symptom of it.  In addition, I probably have Hashimotos disease.  An auto immune disorder that is genetic, both my mother and my aunt have it, and my grandfathers condition is probably caused by it as well.  I don't know for sure because my doctor hasn't bothered to test for it, because clearly if I would just lose weight it would get better.  I suffer from anxiety/depression.  This is not caused by being fat, my fatness is a symptom if it.  This is another genetic disorder.  My Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Aunt, Mother and I all suffer (suffered int he case of my GG) from it.  my mother and Aunt are both thin, and always have been, my great grandmother was never fat in her life, and yet it affected her since before it was something you were able to diagnose and treat.

The best part?  Most anti-depressants have a side effect, weight gain.  So, be depressed, gain weight.  go on anti-depressants, gain weight!  Awesome how that works huh?    in fact my particular brand of mood stabilizer has a side effect of "hypothyroidism" which is a problem I already have!  So I'm in a great mood, but my body isn't using energy properly, so I am completely exhausted all the time.  Se we up my thyroid meds and get no improvement, but lets not change the medicine that's making you so tired, because it works so well  for you.  It's a vicious cycle.  So I don't go back to the doctor for far too long, run out of meds and don't take them form months, causing me to be fucking crazy, until my husband points it out and makes me go back.  

So the anxiety starts until I go back and get on the scale, and become a number again.  Where I voice my concerns and get told that I don't know what I'm talking about, of course my medicine works right, and that if I would only lose weight...

It's that time again, I have been of my meds for a few months and the anxiety/depression has me in full on freak out mode.  I currently don't feel good enough for anything, and making simple decisions like which socks to wear stress me out.  My thyroid is completely out of whack and I all I want to do is lay in bed or on the couch all day.  It has literally taken me an entire day to write this, because I cant be bothered for more than 10 minutes at a time.  I am shocked that I got this far.  

At my next doctors visit  I will refuse to be weighed.  did you know that was a thing?  I didn't until Lesley told me in her article that I could in fact decide my treatment, including whether or not to be weighed.  I will refuse to be weighed and if they won't treat me, so be it.  I think I need a new doctor anyway.  I will make them focus on the issues I want to have treated.  At this point I want to treat the depression and the thyroid disorder, including finding out it I do have Hashimotos Disease.  It does more than attack your thyroid, it can cause vitamin deficiencies and an intolerance to gluten.  Which would explain several other symptoms I seem to have with no rational explanation.  I may have to see a specialist for that, and that's okay.  I want to get a new mood stabilizer that wont exacerbate my other conditions.  I would love to be in a good mood and have the energy to function at the level I should be able to with balanced numbers.  

Once I get those issues under control we can move on to the next items on the list, even if that includes some serious talk about my weight.  If these issues are under control I will have the energy and wherewithal to deal with it.  In addition, I have risk factors in my family history that do advocate for me to be slimmer.  But I don't just want to hear "lose weight".  I want to hear what you want me to do, I want you to refer me to a nutritionist, I want some assistance!  Believe me if it was as easy as "lose weight" I would have done it already, just to save myself the sidelong glances and judgement.  Sad but true.  

I am fat, I deserve respect, I deserve healthcare, I deserve to be treated as more than a number.  I am more than a number on a scale.  Well, lets see what my next visit brings, shall we?

PS~  anyone in the Orlando area with doctor suggestions would be awesome!  Leave it in the comments!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sharing is caring. a Post From the Epbot FB Page

I saw this on my Facebook Feed from Epbot.  Please Read this and share it,,even if you cant help financially.


This is 11-year-old Michael Morones. Michael recently attempted suicide due to the teasing he received for being a fan of the show My Little Pony - aka, a brony.

Michael's suicide attempt was halted, but resulted in severe brain damage. He is still in the hospital's ICU, and has yet to "fully awaken." If you'd like to donate to Michael's recovery fund, there is a Go Fund Me page here: http://www.gofundme.com/MichaelMoronesFund

Lots more info - and absolutely heartbreaking photos - here:http://www.chicagonow.com/portrait-of-an-adoption/2014/02/11-yr-old-boy-bullied-for-being-a-brony-fighting-for-life-after-suicide-attempt-how-you-can-help/

Our hearts are with you, Michael.

Monday, January 6, 2014

And then I failed. but thats not the point!

So, remember when I wrote about my first 30 day challenge?  and what a huge success and accomplishment it was for me?  It was!  it was awesome!  And i saw changes in my body and energy level, amazing!

Then I moved on to phase two, push ups.  I still did squats as well, but the main challenge was the push ups.  And I failed.  For several reasons really.  My upper body is simply not that strong, and the push ups were doing me more harm than good.  I mean, I weigh close to 300 lbs, my arms cannot support that kind of weight right now.  There was spraining and tearing and all around badness happening from them.  Yet I still persisted, and made it about halfway before I got sick and skipped about 4 days.  That was a week ago, and I haven't looked back.  At least not to push ups.  I am starting crunches today and I am looking for a new upper body challenge so that in a few months maybe i can go back to push ups with a bit more success.

Did I fail at the push up challenge?  Yes.  And that's okay.  Now the challenge for me, is making sure that it doesn't derail all my other attempts at getting healthy.  The important part is making sure I try again and again.  Eventually I will be strong enough to complete the push up challenge.  This was just step one.