Protein Shakes and UGG Boots

I’ve had an incredibly sensitive stomach for about 10 years now, due to years and years of undiagnosed celiac, acid reflux, and then treatment. For years, I’ve tried to have a lot of smoothies when the weather gets super hot and humid, because that’s when I tend to be most nauseated. I’ve tried lots of different brands, and most recently, I’ve had to make sure that they’re all gluten free. I’ve had SunWarrior, PlantFusion, Phood, Shakeology, and probably others that I don’t even remember, too.

I love Shakeology, but it is expensive, so I drink PlantFusion and Phood much more regularly, and Phood is one of my new obsessions. I recently bought a 2 lb tub of Phood after drinking a few samples, and I bought a blender bottle (which I’ve coveted for some time) and I loved it so much that I went back and bought a second bottle!

I need to have a substantial breakfast, otherwise I’m off all day, but I can’t eat solid food without a ton of nausea early in the morning, and on nannying days, I’m up at 5:20 and at work at 6:20, but shakes and smoothies do the trick! A Phood shake (I use chocolate nut milk to make it even richer) will keep me full for a few hours easily, and generally does so without too much nausea, or no more nausea than I would have if I didn’t have a shake. It’s my new go-to, and the dense nutrients of a high quality protein powder like Phood or Shakeology means that I have a lot of energy because my body is getting what it needs and it doesn’t have to do a whole lot of digesting.

One of the other “side effects” of having been sick is that I have something called Raynaud’s Phenomenon. My feet and hands have compromised circulation, and get cold, numb, discolored, and swollen. Because my feet are almost always freezing, my UGG boots have been a Godsend this year. I bought my first pair in September, after wearing last year’s well-worn boots into the summer, because I had pain so bad in my toes and feet that I put all of my warm-weather shoes away. I knew that if I was wearing my old boots in August, I would need especially warm boots for the winter, and I’ve warn my UGGs nearly every day since then.

I’m sure I look like quite a picture in my sweats and spoonie-friendly clothes, with UGG boots and a blender bottle, but the older I get, the more comfortable I am with just letting things be and letting it all be out there. At the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Towards the end of last summer, or maybe the beginning of fall, I began a complete Voyager re-watch. Voyager got me through a lot of tough times, and throughout the years, I have gone back and re-watched specific episodes and specific story arcs, as I have also done with The Next Generation, and the movies, and also Deep Space Nine to a lesser extent. I was into Season 2 or 3 of Voyager when I went back to nannying, and so my marathoning slowed considerably. It was nice, though, because I was able to really look forward to my Voyager time. In December, I adopted my dog, Zoey Makana, and if I watched an episode a week for the first few weeks of her being home, it was a lot. Then, things settled down, and I resumed a schedule that allowed for more than one episode each week.

I dreaded the end of the Complete Voyager Re-Watch, and felt a bit adrift when I’d finished the series. I have re-watched some episodes since then, but now that I’ve so recently seen the series in its entirety, it hasn’t been the same.

A month or so ago, I decided to randomly begin a complete re-watch of The Next Generation, which is even longer than Voyager, and also has several feature films. This marathon is proceeding even slower than the Voyager marathon: I’ll watch an episode or two, and then not watch any for a few weeks, then repeat. It’s always funny to me to go back into a show’s history and re-watch the pilot or the early few episodes, because oftentimes, a lot is changed from season 1 to season 2, and sometimes there are elements in the end of the series that are almost unrecognizable from their initial appearances in season 1. I’d entirely forgotten that Geordi LaForge began as a redshirt helmsman. Worf was also a redshirt for a while. I would have gone down swearing that they were both always yellow had I not begun this re-watch! (As a major Trek fan, this is a huge problem… Almost blasphemy to admit that you have forgotten elements of the early franchise!)

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a huge part of the limited memories I have of my early childhood. Mom and I would watch it, and I have memories of eating happy meals (or just the french fries and Dr. Pepper with the occasional bite of chicken nugget) in front of the TV in the guest room with my Deanna Troi action figure. Sadly, the combadge wouldn’t attach to my dance leotard (it wasn’t a pin or a magnet), and so I wasn’t able to wear it to ballet, an upset I weirdly remember to this day.

With that, I’m going to go drink some, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” and “Make it so!” with the marathoning! Have a great Lazy Saturday!

The Power of The ‘Interwebs’

Last year, when I was undergoing treatment for lupus, I turned to the powers of the internet, because my treatment was largely uncovered by insurance.

One person donated and told me to pay it forward when I was able.

The internet has spawned some amazing things: crowdfunding for the creation of everything from music to films to books and likely many other things, as well. I have attended concerts from my couch because of the internet, and I have interacted with celebrities and authors on Twitter, which is amazing.

I recently attended a concert/q&a online. Tickets were purchased on a ‘give what you can’ scale, which I think is going to be the way of the future. In this particular venue, you also had the opportunity of buying a ticket for someone that was attending for free, and I was able to purchase tickets for a number of people that could not pay for their own tickets (tickets were in the $1-$5 range, and then you could leave tips), thereby paying some of the money contributed to my treatment forward. It may sound like it’s not an equivalency, but this concert was performed by an artist whose music got me through many a dark moment last year, and the few people that got in touch with me to thank me each told me that this same music helped them through their own dark times. To each, I told them, “Pay it forward.”

And how amazing that someplace that is considered to be so dark and terrible and anonymous might be a source of great change in the world?!

The Vicar of Dibley

If I cut my teeth on Star Trek, I learned to speak (and sass) on British comedies and mysteries. Mom and my Grandpa are total Anglophiles, and anything British is a must-watch. To this day, if someone is speaking with a British accent, it sounds entirely normal, and I have to think about the person or character’s country of origin because it doesn’t stand out to me. (I also have to make a very conscious effort not to reply in a British accent…)

The Vicar of Dibley is a show that I’ve seen many times, because in addition to being a British comedy starring the wonderful Dawn French, it’s about an Anglican Vicar in a small town in rural England, who is the town’s first experience with female ordination. It’s hilarious, and it’s a show that’s featured heavily in mine and Mom’s quote repertoire.

One of our favorite episodes to quote is The Christmas Special, in which, to celebrate Gerry’s tenth anniversary at Dibley, the villagers hold a hymn-writing contest, and perform the best of the new Christmas hymns at the Midnight Mass. The winning hymn was written by a parishioner who wanted to approach Christmas in a way that is original, and wrote about the labor and delivery of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

I cannot encourage you enough to go and watch this episode. It is so funny.

The Vicar Of Dibley is available for streaming on Netflix, and I have re-watched the series many times there, though I must note that there are some missing episodes, including the pilot. We also own the DVDs, which are a great way of (binge) watching all of the episodes and specials.

The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus – Role Reboot

The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus – Role Reboot.

 

The Year I Was Diagnosed With Lupus, my essay published by Role Reboot.

I was 23, and a newly minted Master of Fine Arts, when I left my family in New York to join the Creation Care program at Camp Mokule’ia in Waialua, O’ahu, Hawai’i. Creation Care was an 11-month-long program, and one of a number of faith-based internships run by the Episcopal Service Corps. The program was everything I’d wanted, and though I was terrified to leave my family for such a long period of time, I tried to remain focused on the fact that I would be living in a tropical paradise for 48 weeks…

Continue reading my essay over on Role Reboot!

Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day is a bittersweet one for sure.

It is the first Mother’s Day since I adopted my beloved little fur baby Zoey Makana, and it is also the first since the untimely death of my beloved Godmother, my Aunt Mary.

Perhaps in an attempt to keep things normal, and definitely in an attempt to fully life because one never knows when the last of anything will be, we had my grandparents over like we normally do. My sister cooked, which left me on cleanup duty, which is not my preference, but which I will do.

My Uncle gave me a Mother’s Day card from my Zoey Makana girl, which was funny and sweet, and which I loved, but yesterday, when I was picking out cards, I didn’t have to buy one for Aunt Mary. Grandmother and Godmother are usually quite close, and though I loved receiving a Mother’s Day card as a (dog) Mama, the absence of the Godmother’s card and the Godmother’s phone call weighed heavily on my heart and mind. As soon as the grandparents left, I kept thinking, ‘It’s time to call Aunt Mary.’ I don’t quite know when that feeling will go away, as I know that my mom keeps wanting to call my Great Grandmother, even now, 22 years after her death.

Zoey had a great day; she got to eat breakfast, got treats of bread (one of her absolute favorite treats; poor girl, adopted by a celiac), Whimzees bones, dental bones, chicken training treats, peanut butter, and organic turkey, as well as her normal dinner. Plus, she had extra humans to love and to be loved by (and to bark at whenever they went to the bathroom).

My grandmother loves how calm Zoey is, and how, even though we have 5 animals in the house, they all get along, and how, for the most part, the animals are the calmest members of the house. My mom had a dog when she was in college, but my grandmother is *not* an animal person by any stretch of the imagination, but when she’s at our house, she’ll pet whichever animal happens to be closest. I am so glad that we have some of the best (rescue) animals known to woman-kind living in our house! Zoey is only ever anything that might be mistaken for aggressive in the pursuit of more love, and sometimes treats, or protection of her Mama against a perceived threat, and our cats will sit happily for as long as you’ll rub them.

I think, in the presence of an unimaginable loss, the best thing that you can do is continue to live. At least, I used to. Now, I think that the best thing that you can do is continue to love, to not let yourself close your heart off and to become cold or bitter. Part of me wonders if, when I told my Godmother that I’d adopted this fantastic dog, she felt like she could let go and that I’d be okay. Part of me, of course, wonders if Zo could ever be my salvation from anything, except, of course, she already has been my salvation in my turbulent life with lupus and all of the other things that life has thrown at me these past two years.

I don’t know how to be okay without my Godmother, but I know that I have to be; that if I can’t be okay and if I can’t continue to love and to be happy and to find beauty in this world, that she will have taught me nothing, which is unacceptable. But I don’t mind telling you that Mother’s Day without her was so damn difficult. So if you’ve suffered on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day like I have, my heart is with you. It’s not easy to build a life for yourself without the people that you care deeply about, or without people from whom you are estranged.

I hope that you, and I, find peace.

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