mamagotcha: (bonk!)
More medical whinging. )

I just want to curl up with my pens and yarn and Netflix and never move again. Not sure why I'm posting. Just hoping to hear some soothing noises, I suppose.
mamagotcha: (flower)
I'm seeing some lovely end-of-year posts from friends here on LJ, so I'm going to do the same... as well as resolve to come back and post here more often. G+ just hasn't caught on with the people I want to connect with, FB is too oriented towards small bites (taste great but less filling), and I really need to be able to sit down and produce longer, more thoughtful pieces. I do have a WordPress food blog, and I might someday export this LJ to WP, but for now here I am and so here's where I'll post.

Christmas )

Arts & Letters )

Ear )

Wellness )

The Family )

Sabbatical )

Yikes, that's a lot. I think I'll wrap it up for now. (Maybe if I wrote more than once a month, I wouldn't have to do these huge novels. I'll work on it!)

Here's hoping you and those close to your heart have a warm and wonderful 2013 ahead of you!
mamagotcha: (bonk!)
Another update... )

Anyway, thanks for reading. Sometimes I think LJ is dead, but there isn't anywhere else I can put this, so here it is. Sorry for being such an Eeyore today... still, writing anything is better than just mindless surfing, right?
mamagotcha: (flower)
My mother passed away three years ago. And here's a story about what happened next. )
mamagotcha: (otter)
What's up at our house. )

I want you all to know I pop into LJ and read here fairly often, so please keep posting. I'm on G+ and FB and Twitter and Pinterest but LJ is where I can put forth longer and more thoughtful posts. Should I port to a blogging site? I know a lot of you are doing Dreamwidth and so on... I don't know. Is anyone even reading my LJ anymore?
mamagotcha: (Blow me)
When I got Bill, I also got his two cats (littermates, about a year old). I've never been a cat person, but we seemed to reach a place of co-existence. When they had problems, I did research to figure out how to fix them. I don't think of them as my cats, but they made Bill happy so I did what I could to keep them healthy and content.

Now I am actively disliking them, due to their puking/shitting/underfoot issues, and we are getting to the point where I don't think Bill is liking them very much, either.

Whine whine whine. )

Any brilliant insights or words of wisdom from you all?
mamagotcha: (tattoo)
So... my mother had a constellation of symptoms that eventually killed her. One of the worst things, for her, was the constant brain fog that clouded her focus (she was a nursing practitioner and had finished law school... her brain meant a LOT to her).

When she was towards the end of her life, I asked her physician if she could possibly have Multiple System Atrophy. He hemmed and hawed at me, and since there is no treatment or cure, I didn't pursue it. But it's always been bothering me that we never really knew what happened to her.

In the last year, I have been having these attacks of brain fog, as well as the psoriasis (it's under control with the light therapy supplemented by occasional topical steroid use, but it's definitely still there). I hadn't connected the fog and skin/joint issues until I found out about gluten intolerance, and so I've been experimenting with it. When I eat gluten-free, I definitely have fewer problems with the brain fog and joint pain. And while I was told that brain fog was a menopausal symptom... it turns out that ataxia is the most common sign of gluten intolerance. Joint pain is the second-most common.

I started to wonder... is there a possibility that the brain fog that plagued my mother in the years leading up to her decline and death was from gluten intolerance? One study says there is evidence to "suggest a possible role for gluten sensitivity in the pathogenesis of some cases of MSA." There are more studies that suggest a similar finding.

Turns out undiagnosed celiac problems can also cause earlier menopause and miscarriages. And quite a number of people start having more problems with gluten when they hit menopause.

I'm starting to think that going gluten-free is possibly a really, REALLY good idea for me.
mamagotcha: (otter)
Sometimes I think I missed out on some How to Be an Adult class in school somewhere. I never really learned to use makeup, or shave anything, or deal with clothes (buying them, matching them, wearing them so they don't look like burlap sacks)... I think I just missed the bus entirely on certain ubiquitous life skills. Most of the time, I really don't care... but once in a while, I kind of wish I knew what the hell was going on.

For example: drinks. Bill likes to mix up nifty things and so for Christmas this year, I gave him a rudimentary bar (little rolling cart, dorm fridge, and a collection of some basic bottles we were missing). He's been doing a great job whipping up this and that, but when he asks me what I want to try, I flap my mouth like a fish. I must have missed the Basic Cocktails and Mixed Drinks Introductory Course somewhere.

Not a big surprise, I guess... I always preferred being the one who made sure the drunk ones got out the door before puking and later home safe, rather than joining their revelries. Things that came in kegs at college parties really tasted awful, and the novelty stuff like vello or Long Island iced teas just kind of repelled me. But I never even thought to try the rest of the more adult things in moderation. Sometimes I'd do a White Russian or Mimosa, and someone gave me this grapefruit/cranberry/vodka thing that was good once (I want to say it was a Sea Breeze, can that be right?), so that's what I'd ask for if anyone offered me a mixed drink... they were safe and I knew I would like them. Oh, and we went through a lemon drop and mojito phase a while back, too.

But now that Bill has this bar, he brings me offerings of fun drinks that are all over the place. Coconut, Godiva liqueur, and Amaretto (or Frangelico) is an Almond Joy! Manhattans! Martinis! Whee! Someone suggested I solve my woes the other night with a gin-and-tonic, which I'd heard of but never tried. So Bill made me one... and I really liked it! I've had one each night for the last three nights now.

So... what are YOUR favorite mixed drinks? Do you have any stories about them? Which ones should I absolutely try? (One caveat: we don't do tequila.) Educate me!
mamagotcha: (Default)
A friend was blogging about her own struggle with body image and fat and food, and I wrote a long response that I wanted to hang on to.

I know this isn't everybody's cup of tea, so I'm tucking it behind a cut... )

I hope you find your path to health in a way that encourages contentment and joy!

ETA: Open this PDF and search for Linda's article, "Tales of Mice and Leptin: False Promises and New Hope in Weight Control." It's a terrific blend of social observations and lab research, as well as a crash course in many of the areas her book covers.
mamagotcha: (Default)
So some of you know I have done some work with perinatal hospice, as well as one-on-one doula support for families facing miscarriage or the loss of a child.

I've been toying with the idea of trying to get something started while I'm here in Chicago, and this website is what I've come up with.

If you have the time or inclination to do so, would you take a look at it and let me know what you think?

(If I could, I would add another page full of pregnancy loss-related websites and books, but I've already used up all the pages I've been allotted. I still might try to shoehorn those in... maybe consolidate two of the other pages?)

I am also willing to accompany and support women through abortions, although that's not what I want the site to be about. Do you think I should include that specifically on this site, or would it alienate other potential clients?

Thank you!

ETA: I've incorporated most of what M and J suggested below, but I'd still love more feedback if anyone wants to throw it my way!

I know the text on the "Contact Me" window is smaller than the text on the other windows, but I can't figure out (yet) how to change it... and I'm a bit mystified that it's different from the other pages. Anyway, I've noticed it and I'm working on it.

Navelgazing

Aug. 3rd, 2011 11:22 am
mamagotcha: (flower)
I love what feminism has done for my generation. But I wish it had been able to do it without instilling huge doses of guilt for choosing to raise my kids at home, enjoying cooking and baking, and being interested in handwork. Despite my belief that I have made the best choices for me and my family, I am coming to the conclusion that I am going to feel guilty twinges for the rest of my life. As we know better, we do better: the freedom to choose a certain path does not equal disdain for those who choose differently.

I know that this phenomenon (feeling judged and defensive) crops up when one is ambivalent or insecure about one's own choices. I've seen it so many times... my decision to homebirth or homeschool or breastfeed makes some other moms feel like they MUST shoot down my choices in order to bolster their own positions. It's been hard to learn that I don't need to take those attacks personally. But when I'm attacking myself for my own choices? Not so easy to deflect anymore.

I value all those things when others do them. It's my own situation that my tapes seem to sneer at, over and over. I wish I could get over it already.

And apropos of nothing: welcome back, LJ! Still working out how G+ is going to fit into the mix, but I think I still like LJ's format. I wish the spammers would knock it off already, but other than that... glad to be back!
mamagotcha: (Default)
An amazing thunderstorm is engulfing us right as I write this. The midwestern storms, the rolling thunder and huge purple clouds, the immense forces that awed even the unflappable Mark Twain... I love them and I'm so glad I've had a chance to live among them.

Posted via LjBeetle
mamagotcha: (Default)
We're in the midst of a heat wave. A sticky, hot, solid wall of air is pounding against every door and window, and the only things keeping it at bay are the insulation of our brick walls and our central a/c. Our basement is much cooler than the upstairs, and we spend a good chunk of the day down there. I've been working on some SCA illumination*, watching stuff like Top Gear and Spy Kids with Linc, and reading The Devil in the White City** down there.

Hooray for A/C!



*The award scrolls given out at every event are hand painted and lettered by volunteers... I'm still early in my scribal career but love it! Several members had housefires recently, so there's a bit of a rush to get replacement scrolls done before the big annual gathering, and they're even using inexperienced little ol' me to get them done.

**A terrific account of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and the concurrent story of a mass murderer... a true story.
mamagotcha: (Default)
Every room in our house has books in it. I've spent a lot of time, energy and money collecting and hauling my personal library around the country with me. Right or wrong, I make instant judgments about people based on the books they have in their houses (and you can probably guess what I think of people who have NO books!). I am thrilled beyond words that Linc is now reading everything he can get his grubby paws on. E-readers and the Internet may have dealt publishers a fatal blow, but I'm going to hang onto my books for the rest of my life.

I am so grateful for my books!
mamagotcha: (flower)
Whoa dang, I really dropped the ball on that one. I thought I could keep this up during our trip to Kansas City, but it fell by the wayside as we had our adventure. So I'll try to do some catch-up and get back into the groove...

A week in one go... )
mamagotcha: (flower)
Today, I had the opportunity to visit my old Nia class. I stepped right back in, as if the last two years away had never happened. It wasn't just the kind women and welcoming teacher... although those things were wonderful. It was the dancing.

The routines are a framework upon which you build your own movement, stretch what you need to stretch, flow at your own speed. It's such a forgiving, accepting place, and I feel so good when I finish (although today I was crying a lot, which was OK too).

I miss Nia SO MUCH. It was like slipping into a warm, familiar bath, even though I'd never done a single one of the routines that were in today's class. Now that Bill got his grant and maybe things aren't going to be so tight, even with the car payment, maybe I'll be able to do it again back in Chicago.

But for this week, while I'm here in Kansas City... I'll be there for every class. The next ones are on Wednesday and Friday mornings, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., over at Research Medical Center. Your first class is always free, and if you let me know you're coming, maybe we can catch breakfast at Sharps Cafe first?

I am SO GLAD I found Nia, and so very grateful that my first teacher and class were here. Kansas City, you don't know how lucky you are!
mamagotcha: (Default)
Something I've been getting more and more interested in is the study of game theory. I'm in the middle of writing a longer post on it (honest, Julia!), but the whole thing is fascinating.

In the fall of 2010, I heard about a new MMO (massive multiplayer online game, think World of Warcraft) that was aimed at adults but non-violent, creative and humorous. I immediately emailed the creators and asked to be put on their tester list, and was invited to join the alpha players last December. The game, Glitch, went beta early this year and now is scheduled for an official launch this fall.

Yesterday, it was announced that Keita Takahashi, the mind behind the ground-breaking game Katamari Damacy, has come on board the development team (already filled with some amazing minds; one dev I communicate with often was a founder of Flickr). The game was already amazing, in my opinion... I can't wait to see what this new addition will bring!

I feel SO incredibly fortunate to be on the ground floor of this project (and through Glitch I heard about Tinkatolli, a game I've been beta testing with Linc). It's been a blast, meeting people online from all over the world who have been waiting for (and even better, working on) a game like this. The developers are in communication with the players often, and really seem to take a personal interest in our ideas and criticisms. I feel like my tiny little fingerprints are going to be on a fantastic thing that is growing before my eyes... I am so lucky!
mamagotcha: (Default)
When I found out I was moving to Chicago, there was one uniform response from people: "Oh, the winters are so hard there!" I wasn't TOO worried... we had already survived the shift from sunny Davis, CA to humid/snowy Kansas City, MO.

A few other folks mentioned the museums, which I was excited about, and which have indeed proven to be fascinating (I still haven't made it to the one about surgical science).

But nobody said boo about the beach! I was invited to one of the unschoolers' beach days on the first housing foray I made with the kids, and while I couldn't stay long enough to really get the full experience, I was amazed: acres of soft-sand beach with a very gentle slope out towards blue and beautiful Lake Michigan, maybe eight lifeguards on duty constantly, free parking (though that's changed, but it's still a deal), bathrooms and a snack bar, and tons of very happy people doing nothing more than lying in the sand, visiting with their friends, and doling out goodies from their coolers to their kids.

We get to come here and just veg for hours on end once a week throughout the warmer months. We've also headed out there in the deepest winter, and it was an incredible, otherworldly place, with huge grey chunks of ice lifted out of the water at odd angles... walking on the mix of sand and snow was unforgettable.

But it's the summers that are wonderful. Even when it's crowded, there's still breathing room. Linc is a total little fish, and digging is almost as fun as the water. Lots of homeschool moms show up, and I've started bringing Merl Reagle crossword books with me to share. We also share boxes of cookies, fruit, and yesterday one very kind lady had a cooler with sherbert, ice, and pretty potent mixers, from which she concocted delicious boozy treats for the moms.

There are definitely Beach Rituals that took me a while to figure out: the cooler and chair and umbrella triumverate, and how to properly set up your umbrella sturdily in the sand, and One Treat for the kids from the wandering vendors.

Linc very often insinuates himself into a group of teens or adults playing in the water with a ball, and invariably when I come to rescue their game (that has been slowed to a crawl by my little guy), they laugh and insist on him continuing, with lots of thumbs-up and clapping and cheering for when he DOES manage to bop the volleyball back to them. He eats it up, and somehow manages to keep choosing good-natured folks to pester each week.

Even Clay joins us once in a while, which is terrific... there aren't many activities anymore that he is interested in with us. Sometimes we stop at the roadside fruit vendor on the way, and stick berries in the cooler with our sandwiches. Every once in a while, this funny old geezer with gold chains sets up his lawn chairs and a huge silver hookah in the parking lot, blaring Middle Eastern music from his car and flirting with the ladies... Hookah Man. Sometimes I bring our kites. In the spring and fall, before and after the beach is officially "open" (no lifeguards or snack bar and just portapotties), we could bring Wiley with us and let him run free... he'd bring home pounds of sand stashed in his woolly fur, but he absolutely loved it.

Foster Beach is, hands-down, the best part of moving to Chicago for me. I am so grateful it's here and that I get to enjoy it so often!
mamagotcha: (Default)
Spent some time doing laundry today, and felt a huge wave of gratitude for these modern machines.

There were days, when I had babies in diapers, that I was running a load nearly every single day. I can't even begin to imagine what that would have been like without a washer and dryer.

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