What I learned this past week… 

Every once in awhile I think it’s important to share my lessons learned with anyone who wants to save themselves from actually having to figure these things out on their own.  It’s the end of July and I am fried.  (July 24th – 30th 2017).

Allow me to explain.

Contrary to popular belief, North East Michigan has “Summer” like everywhere else.  Sometimes it is just a temperature thing.  Other times the humidity kicks in with the high temperatures.  And naturally there are days of lower temperatures and high humidity.    This past week was the perfect storm of high temperatures plus humidity.  For me, this means ‘stay inside with the air conditioner’.

I am heat sensitive.  I get nauseous and zapped of any energy I might have had prior to stepping outside.  This situation will eventually become a Migraine.  But that’s nothing new.   I just wanted to offer some background information for you.

So, I already said it was mostly miserable outside (all week).  My attempts to find some respite were genuine…

For example:


 When in the vehicle I wore dark sunglasses 😎.  However, it is important to remove the sunglasses when going inside a bank.  Talk about awkward.  Everyone gets all quiet and tense -especially if it’s not a branch you regularly use.  I swear I do not have any connection to the unabomber.  I just have a headache. 

Gas Stations 

Next, I have found that grocery shopping and really any kind of shopping can be done in gas stations.  (Although all gas stations are not created equal.  The good one’s are out there!)  You can get lottery tickets, cappuccino, hoodies, chips, sandwiches, booze, home decor and jewelry all in one place.  So if you have forgotten something-like deodorant or phone charging cables, stop by the gas station with a store.  You will be pleasantly surprised. 



My husband and I have decided that driving while eating is a mess just waiting to happen.  So when we were en route to the various appointments this past week, we would choose a place with a dining area.  We have also determined that fast food meals cost as much as restaurant meals.  Therefore we usually aim for ‘real’ food establishments.  (I don’t want to get in trouble for last epiphany, you know what I mean.). If I order a chicken sandwich, I want to be able to recognize the chicken. 


Inside the vehicle

The ability to determine a comfortable air temperature for two or more people is tricky.  It takes skill.  Moving the vents is almost always the best thing in these circumstances.  It’s bad if the car is too hot/cold for all.  In this case, all vents were on me.  I was in heaven. 

Radio and music.  

Being where we are we can tap into the local stations.  What happens though when we are out of range? This is where Playlists come in.  Prior to hand held devices, which play whatever you have stored in them, there were 8Tracks, Cassettes and Compact Discs.  All of which were based on one band.  Luckily the Playlist is usually a unique or eclectic mix of songs, podcasts, comedy or whatever.  So, whomever is in charge of the music needs to be attentive to others’ likes/dislikes.


When booking a hotel ahead of time that is part of a national chain, be certain to notice which one you chose.  Why there are two Red Roof Hotels within two miles of each other is beyond me.  That situation is just begging for customer chaos.  Threatening the desk clerk of the hotel you thought you booked, but didn’t, is unacceptable.  You have to laugh off the confusion and pray that the one you didn’t book has availability and the one you accidentally booked (up the road a bit) is flexible with canceling.  Otherwise driving those two miles, after finding out about the mix up, can be very uncomfortable. (I think Best Westerns do it too -have more than one in a small town.) 


What to bring.  

Well it was just an overnight visit so I kept it simple.  At least that’s what I thought I did.  I had my paperwork, meds, purse, pillow, top and skivvies.  No problem.  My husband asked if I had everything (my travel bag was lighter than usual).  One bag packing…  that was my goal.  He seemed skeptical.  

I was proud of myself… until approximately 90 minutes into the three hour drive.  Now, when the driver is on the road with comfortable atmosphere and the passenger gasps and starts looking around the car and bag packed next to him; he goes on full alert.  What did he miss???? An animal in the ditch?  A speed trap by local law enforcement?  Wrong direction?  (These are just the things I assume he was trying to figure out…  ). 

I had to admit (out loud) that I forgot a ton of stuff and he rolled his eyes.

When we stopped at the gas station within ten minutes, I was so relieved.  He was too, but in a totally different way.  

I had forgotten to pack deodorant, hair spray, pajamas, book, flat iron, shampoo, lotion, lip gloss and mascara.  Good ol’ gas station store is going to save me.  Well I got the deodorant, hairspray and lotion at least.  I even got him a lottery ticket and a box of his favorite candy.  (He didn’t share any of his candy with me.  Not one bit.  Hmph.). 
So bring it all.  

Don’t try to stuff your personal maintenance necessities into one bag.  If you need two, take two.  There is no shame in needing tools when being presentable.  My husband was muttering “I thought it was too easy.  You with one bag… should have known.  Ha!”


Do not poke the bear.  

I was bored.  We still had to go back home.  Another three – four hours in the car within twelve hours.  I was getting car sick and thought that if I could focus on something else, my gag reflex would settle down.  I swear my husband can read my mind.  Out of the side of his mouth without even looking at me, he said, “Do not even think I will put up with your need to entertain yourself at my expense.  I will pull over and leave you wherever you land.” 

Bummer.  I suppose a dud lottery ticket and box of candy only goes so far.

Nap time.

This past week put over 800 miles on my Explorer with my husband at the helm.  The different appointments were all over the state from Ann Arbor to Hale with stops along the way.  He got us everywhere safely and didn’t leave me anywhere (bonus*).  

I count my blessings💫 at times like these.  We have a reliable vehicle, money for gas/hotel/food, and each other.  Sometimes we talk, sometimes we don’t.  We are comfortable together and have perhaps learned something new about each other before the day is done.  💞

✨Blessed indeed.✨

Tattoos & Trees

True story:

About ten years ago (+\- five years) and yet another fifteen years prior to that.  This will make sense for you (the reader).  I promise.  Trust me.

I traveled to Arizona for a visit with my grandparents, sister and mother.  It was time to find a full service, independent living, facility for my grandparents. 

The three of us toured a few facilities each day until we found our ideal space for the distinguished Patriarch and Matriarch of my mothers’ side of the family.  It took a lot of convincing to get them to see it, much less than the actual move from their condo to a facility we chose.  

It was nice.  They allowed my grandparents’ cats, furniture and even had it’s own kitchen.  The forms were signed.  Their condo was up for sale and I had to get back to Michigan.


Within a couple of months I got a call from my sister.  She wanted to get a Tigger tattoo and wanted my opinion.  I have a tattoo on my hip bone of Opus the Penguin.  I got it when I was seventeen, so in my sister’s mind I must remember the experience…. eh… I didn’t.  Seventeen and tattoos were common in my generation; remembering the details, not so much.

Opus the Penguin
I did my best to explain it to her, but jeez that was fifteen years ago.

After many months of looking she decided to bring the multitudes of Tigger to a top three.  In this process she had found a few other ideas that would be good on me and my mother.

She wanted all of us to get (at least one) matching tattoos.  I laughed and questioned her rationale.  

“It would be a bonding experience.”  

Uh- No.  

Within the week I was getting pictures from my sister with a very noticeable Tigger tattoo on her calf.  She even showed it to our grandmother for review.  Apparently our grandmother approved and asked questions about it -the process, design, and pain.  She and my sister often did Tigger themed things, like this cake, for instance.

Tigger everywhere!

The holidays had me back in AZ later that year.  I laughed every time my sister brought up the “group tattoo idea”.  However, by then, my mom had agreed to do it. My sister must have been quite convincing.   They were going on and on about yin yang symbols, turtles, paw prints, etc.  I was still holding firm on my “No.”

I had underestimated my sister because the day after Christmas she admitted something…

She had a plan.  

  • We all had to agree on the design and body location.
  • We had to find a clean and reputable establishment that was handicapped accessible.
  • We had to go into it with a “No Regrets” mentality. 

I was still not in love with the idea or plan.  Besides, why did it have to be handicap accessible?  So I asked.  

Wait for it….

My sister continued, “…Grandma wants to go too.  So we will just swing by her new nursing home, check her out for the day, let her go first with her tatt, get ours, and then grab something to eat, sign her back in to the nursing home without drawing attention to ourselves and Ta Dah.  No biggie!”

     “We are NOT kidnapping Grandma, tattooing her in a handicap accessible (air quotes) tattoo parlor, having a late lunch and then sneaking her back in to her nursing home without anyone noticing ‘something different’ about Grandma.”

“Awwww c’mon.  She really wants whatever we’re having.”
     “Are you crazy?!  No!  Soooo beyond no!  We could get in serious trouble for that.  Oh My Lord. (*sigh) Did you tell mom?”

“She liked it.”

Of course she did.

This dialogue continued back and forth for quite some time -months.


My sister stayed on this kick for awhile and is over it now (I think).  Our grandmother passed away within a few years -tattoo free.  My mother is still tattoo free.  

Part of me wonders, did my grandmother have a seventeen year old self who always wanted a tattoo, like me? What would she have chosen at seventeen? 

I don’t doubt that she entertained the idea then, or at my sister’s plan sixty years later.  I can only fathom what 1945 art was acceptable for her standards.  She was a nurse back then.  She had seen it all, and knew the human body quite well.  She would know where we could keep it hidden and respectable.

This past Autumn, my sister, mother and I were together again and I brought up the group tattoo idea.  We thought about it, tossed around some ideas and then got back to our independently busy lives;    somehow still remaining connected.

Maybe the next time we get the chance I can get us all to agree on a tree.  More specifically The Tree of Life.  It would be a Family Tree of Life!

“As above, so below”
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Be Gentle With Yourself.

The title of this post references one of my favorite pieces of writing, The Desiderata.  No one can confirm or deny the author and date of publication, but I don’t think that I would have it differently regardless of those details.  

I have not heeded it’s simple words.  

I am not gentle with myself.  I am cruel, degrading and relentless in my mind to myself.   


True story:  I received a compliment from a retail worker.  (She claims that I always wear the cutest tops.). I was in a gourmet cupcake shoppe.  I smiled at her, thanked her, and then in the same tone of voice -calm, quiet, sweet, and said “I hate myself actually, mostly my body.  I shop for tops all of the time.  My arms are the worst.  So I try to only get 3/4 length sleeves… 

It took a few more moments of drivel before I noticed her again.  I had gone inside myself and starting pointing to various areas of imperfection; kind of like a flight attendant pointing out emergency exits.  

Back to reality.  She was still there and I was honestly surprised that she hadn’t moved on to another customer.  I didn’t say all of that to garner an unearned second compliment.  Which is good because I think she was too surprised with my response, she didn’t know what to say.  I smiled, lowered my head to acknowledge that days’ blouse.  

I apologized for the commentary and reached for my cupcake.  Which, by the way, I had lost interest in.  It was only going to make things worse.  

(Why is this blue?)


See what I mean about failing to be gentle with myself?    I’m pretty sure that I had offended her and quickly added that to my self degradation list.  (Loser, quit offending nice people).

I don’t have some awful sin to atone.  I just said what I was thinking and am always thinking.  I have to be more careful in the future with this type of situation.  I would rather fix my response than use that energy on accepting myself.  Oh the irony.

Does everyone else do this too?  You know, hate themselves 24/7?  Is there a brain cell that allows this?  Is it a depression thing?  How about female?  Maybe a need for perfection sets me off.


Today I was trying to laminate a card with packaging tape so that I could hang it up somewhere…  I wanted it to be in it’s original state for as long as possible.  But the stupid tape wasn’t very cooperative.   Here I am, trying to get control of the tape and it sticks to the card all weird.  Bubbles, creases, imperfect lines which show overlapping.  I could just kick myself.  The oh-so precious card wasn’t perfect anymore.  I had screwed that up too.  Upon closer inspection I noticed that there is black dog hair stuck too.  Check it out…

Perfect -Ha!

Curious about the front of the card?  I mean, it mattered so much that I was trying to preserve it…

My favorite part 🎀

See?  I told you I messed it up.  Again with irony.  (*sigh)

Creases and tears in the tape.  It will never be perfect now.  Which is okay -for a card, right?

I love her!
Black Pug -fur shedder.

🕶 Summer 2017 👒

The skies are blue with white clouds, the wind is in the tops of the trees, and the scent of freshly mowed grass floats through the air.

I can be found outside to absorb Vitamin D more often.  I often go for drives in my 1999 Mazda Miata (top down, radio up.) singing my heart out.  I can enjoy the scenery when I take my dogs on walks.  I could go for bike rides with my husband.  I could follow through with plans or have a summer job for extra money.  But I’m not doing any of these things.  I can hope that all of this will play out next summer or the summer after that.  I will be ok, just not today.

I am spending this summer filling out forms.  Forms?  Yes, forms.  Being in my condition, I have a lot to “prove” to people, I guess.  I have forms for Student Loans, Social Security, Insurance Companies, Appointments to keep from each groups’ Independent Medical Reviews.  My years worth of forms is not helping to remove my carbon footprint.

So if you get the chance to capture some Vitamin D, walk your dog, drive your convertible and go for bike/ horse rides, do it.   Do it for everyone who can’t, right now.  Enjoy the outside and stay “form-free”.  Don’t pick up a writing utensil or hide behind a screen of any sort.  Mind your manners.  Eat full-fat ice cream … on a WAFFLE CONE! 

Most of all… 

Enjoy the Summer of 2017. 👒

Planning, Hoping & Fumes

I think that I have a friend or two who genuinely care about me and my illnesses.  I believe that I have some acquaintances who would be certain to talk to me if we were in the same place, coincidently.

Thanks to Pastor Trisha Peach, blog peacht, via Hypothyroid Mom, I caught a few of her comments to be very true for me, currently.

Like this… “It makes planning nearly impossible. Many humans take for granted that they will wake up feeling “normal”, go to work, go see friends, go to their child’s sports game – same as always. 🌅👩🏻‍🏫👩🏼‍⚕️👨🏼‍💻👩🏻‍🏫👩‍🎤👮🏻👯‍♂️

For someone battling a chronic illness, you just don’t know. Instead of “planning”, it’s more like “hoping”. You “hope” you wake up feeling ok, you “hope” you can make it through work, you “hope” you can make it through your child’s play…..and each event takes its toll on your energy and health.

You cannot predict the day before how you will feel. So the world makes plans and prepares for events and you…..”hope” to be a part of them.”

She goes on to write,  “It is not because you no longer care or because the event is not important to you or the person is not important to you. You are missing out because your body has given out.

In fact, your body may be 4 or 5 events PAST too many by the time you just give out. It’s like driving a car that is running out of gas….you lasted on fumes, but finally despite all your efforts, the fumes have run out. The gas pedal is all the way to the floor, but she’s not going any further.”

My doctor had requested some blood work from me…, which, upon return, explained a plethora of my health problems. She was speaking another language (Greek? Latin? Dr. Speak?), regardless I needed Google. And here I am. 🌎.

Meghan O’Rourke has an essay called “I had Autoimmune Disease and then it had me.”   It was printed in The New Yorker Magazine, Aug. 26, 2013.  It came up in a Google Search for Hypothyroidism.  She was speaking my language.

So, for my friends, I hope to keep our plans but I need to be full; not on fumes.

💩. I don’t even like me when I’m on fumes.  👺

Bariatric surgery

I experienced Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass through removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch) or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch. 


I needed to be smaller than I was.  I had a great job, my own apartment, a strong family, a very nice Infinity QX4.  Life was grand, until I opened  my mouth to eat.  You see, in 2000, I was diagnosed as being morbidly obese.  I think that my BMI was in the 40’s.

My last year of undergrad was interesting.  I had my first real relationship, student teaching and no cash.  So I ate the cheap food from gas stations, dollar stores, and CostCo.  Bulk was definitely the way to go.  By the year 2000, I was going to end up with diabetes and heart disease.  

The gossip magazine’s were all doting on Carney Wilson of Wilson Philips.  She had an “Easy surgery and the fat just melted off of her”. No pills, drinks, fad diets or exercise programs ever again.   Hey I can handle that!

I got the surgery in October of 2001 -insurance companies are just so easygoing (*Sarcasm).  I laid on my dad’s couch for two weeks and followed the new diets prescribed by my surgeon.  (Clear liquid, regular liquids, soft solids, and then in 6 months normal food, just in very small amounts.  My stomach was now the size of an egg.  The pounds were indeed melting off.  I ended up losing 150 lbs in less than a year.  

The fact that I loved smoothies and coffee;  the ideal weight loss was fairly easy to maintain.  I would drink Protein shakes from the local GNC, drank the Jamba Juice’s “Mocha Moo’s” with extra protein powder, and Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.  I never bothered with cooking.  My idea of cooking was making a pb&j (if I really had to).  I took my dog for walks, farther and farther as weeks went by.  

I started going to “clubs” within the very end of my first year.  It didn’t matter which génère the music was. I just wanted to dance and feel the rhythm of it all.   I felt alive.

After the six months, I had a calzone (black olive, mushrooms, ham, and extra cheese).  Mmmm.  It was really good.  I needed a whole week to finish one… but I didn’t care.  Dancing on the weekends would burn off the calzone calories.   

I moved out of my home state and started a new life with my (then) boyfriend, (now) husband, in a new state 2003.  Alas, as I have mentioned in other posts, my new “home” was missing out on Jamba Juice chain stores and Starbucks (Coffee Shops).  I went through withdrawals.

I was definitely depressed (whenever I had a craving for a Mocha Moo) .  And since I’m an emotional eater, I ate.  I started with the homemade food at the school, where I taught.  That led to eating solid food everywhere!  I even got cooking lessons with, like, a real chef person!

It was getting harder and harder to maintain the ideal weight/ BMI. This means that I was gaining the weight back.  I honestly believed that the operation was to essentially banish the ability to gain weight.  Yet, here I sit, knowing it is possible.  Luckily I have plateaued at a number I can live with.  

I often wonder if the Bariatric Surgery has/ had something to do with the Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Adrenal Fatigue, etc. that I am going through now.

Millennial Generation 

Millennials are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when this cohort starts or ends; demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting … Wikipedia

I am writing this because I am worried about my two nieces and one nephew the Millenniums whom I love so much.

All three are very intelligent 🤓 (their school report cards can vouch for this).  I’m not just being a “Helicopter Aunt.”   They each have some very cool hobbies: Baseball, Volleyball, Cooking, and Computer games.  Their parents are very supportive of the kids, and are happily married (since 1998).

They have unique friends and seem to be a sort of “renaissance” childhood plus adolescence.  I am so happy when I get the chance to see them 😊.  

They have been around the world, Paris, China, Hawaii, South America, Alaska, Washington DC, Florida, you name it, they’ve been there.  Their parents believe that the kids need to see the world and really understand history (as opposed to an outdated textbook).  

The one thing that is a very different for this Millennial Generation is community.  It seems that they may have 400+ “friends” online, but how many do they really know?  Everything is online.  College, Loan requests, Dating, Music, Games, Notifications, Arguments, Banking, etc.  Everyone feels safer to say whatever or be disrespectful behind their computer monitors or cellphones or ear buds.  Right?

What are my nieces and nephew really going to do if “the grid” goes down? What am I going to do?  Hmmmm.   Or if they meet and fall in love with someone they met via the latest dating app, only to find out that the person behind the profile is not who they pretend to be?  What is in the future for my darlings?  Will emotional cheating become a part of trust issues?  This even happens now!  The two individuals/profiles have never met, they just had a “friend” online and it’s none of your business as to what is discussed?  Sometimes it really is nothing, but there is always a special person that you can pour your heart out to.  Remember  You’ve Got Mail   (Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan?).   Bookstore brawl… Granted it’s not a recent film, yet it is relevant to make my point.

It’s been said that four out of ten marriages end up in divorce because of Social Media.   (Sirius/XM Satellite Radio).

What if one of my darlings gets hurt or worse because of a bad online meeting?  You hear about those every day.  Example:

  • One out of 10 sex offenders use online dating to meet other people.

  • Women are afraid of meeting a serial killer. It’s OK ’cause only about 3% of online dating men are psychopaths!

  • A study found that men who reported incomes higher than $250,000 received 156% more email than those with $50,000. That’s 156% more golddiggers, guys, so think twice about whether you want to post that kind of personal info.

  • On free dating sites, at least 10% of new accounts are from scammers, says Marketdata Enterprise, Inc. Catfish, anyone?

  • In 2005 alone, 25% percent of rapists used online dating sites to find their victims. Let me repeat that: twenty-five percent of rapists used online dating sites to find their victims.

  • A matchmaking service in Denver, Colorado says that 51% percent of online dating singles are already in a relationship, yet are putting themselves out there as being single.

  • A third of those surveyed said “They falsified their information so much that it prevented them from getting a second date.”

  • In 2011 alone, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center lodged 5,600 complaints from victims of “romance scammers” with collective  losses of over fifty million dollars.

  • Each year internet predators commit more than 16,000 abductions, 100 murders and thousands of rapes, according to InternetPredatorStatistics.com.


    I understand that this generation will have highs and lows that my generation can’t foresee.  As I am certain that the Baby Boomers felt about GenX and had no idea that the computer would change the world and how we manage things when everyone is a winner.

“The Millennial generation is the largest in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge.

  • Millennials have come of age during a time of technological change, globalization and economic disruption. That’s given them a different set of behaviors and experiences than their parents.

  • They have been slower to marry and move out on their own, and have shown different attitudes to ownership that have helped spawn what’s being called a “sharing economy.”

  • They’re also the first generation of digital natives, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are used to instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews.

  • Finally, they are dedicated to wellness, devoting time and money to exercising and eating right. Their active lifestyle influences trends in everything from food and drink to fashion.

  • These are just some of the trends that will shape the new Millennial economy.”


With all that they will be up against in their future, I just hope that my millennial family members know how much I love them.