Getting My Menhdi On

How gorgeous is this? One of my wonderfully artistic students did this for several of us during our end of year party class a few months ago. Many of her other designs were even more ornate, covering each finger of the hand and wrapping around the wrist. Just beautiful. And it made her so happy to spread the joy to others.

While I loved the design (after drying) it only lasted about a week. Once dry, the dark brown turned to more of a reddish orange color. I had so many compliments, and it was a great conversation starter!

Henna or Mehndi is used to create very intricate and elaborate designs on hands and feet, usually for Hindu weddings, however; depending on country and culture, these may also be popular at festivals and such. Once applied, drying time runs 15-20 minutes. Then the dark brown part comes off, leaving the design temporarily permanent on the hands and/or feet.

How fortunate I am to know students from so many different places in the world! I plan on contacting my former student to see if she would be interested in doing these for me periodically for a fee. It just makes me happy!  It is also a celebration of different cultures and traditions.

You can find a lot more information along with awesome pictures of designs here at Mehndi.

I hope your last July 2016 Saturday is sweet one. Best to you, my friends -belle

It’s About That Time.

“Bus is coming, it’s time to leave
the summer’s gone, and so are we…”
“Let’s go shut it down in New Orleans…”
“Miami” – Counting Crows

It’s hard to say goodbye to the extensive time off I’ve had these past 2 months. When I first started teaching, I worked every summer, as well as an extra job on weekends or in the evenings to catch up and pay the bills leftover from divorce. Summers and evenings during the school year were spent slinging coffee, teaching, or both. But for the past few years, and especially now that I’m dealing with Lyme, summers are truly “time off.”

Since we are heading back sooner than soon to teach the young minds of America, my brain is shifting into overdrive. I’m thinking about overhauling one of the courses I teach. Without boring you too much with the details, the overarching theme is the American Dream. It’s a great theme. BUT, I’m seriously wanting to spice it up a bit. We’ll see.

Anyway, I would like to be able to share some of my ideas and get some feedback from you periodically. So, I am creating a new category for these posts. What might these posts entail?

1. Cool stuff related to the content that may come in handy for me later on ( and Lyme is sincerely stunting my short term memory right now)…

2. Ideas for teaching visual rhetoric and argument. I need to
do way more of this with my students.

3. Just writings, songs, authors, art, whatever related to the content I teach, and things I like and love. Like Henry David Thoreau. Or Ralph Waldo Emerson. Or….

4. Lessons I find that are awesome and that I can modify – maybe – to use in my classes (with permission of creators, of course).

5. Ideas for integrating yoga poses. This one is a stretch (and yes, pun intended!) But, I’ve read some research that using yoga with students can be a positive! More info needed along with a lot of consideration for logistics, student participation, etc. This may not be something I can really do this year.

I just wanted to give you a head’s up that I will be doing these posts randomly so you aren’t like, Say What? Yes, I will continue to blog mostly about my journey with Lyme.

With this American Dream stuff though, I will need some help. So get your brains in gear, too!

Hoping your evening is going well. Here’s some Counting Crows for your segue into sleepy time. Peace -b

Meet and Greet: 7/23/16

Time to join the partee and meet some new friends!

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

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Project H – Shout Out from South Texas

One of the very first blogs I started to follow 2 years ago when I was just a wee one in the blogosphere was A Opinionated Man by Jason. He continues to inspire and support the blogging community constantly. You need to go and check out his blog! It is great! Recently, he graciously allowed me to do a post about my ideas about home for his July Project H.

If you’d like to hear a bit more about me, then just head on over to Project H – Shout Out from South Texas

And for your viewing pleasure:

Donkeys like Texas, too!
What up?

 

How Can I Become a Better Lyme Advocate?

Hola, peoples. Summer break is in full swing, and I am very glad to report that I have “survived” another school year. BTW, surviving is only related to my health and by no means implies that I do not love my work because, I do love my work! Yes, there were many, many bumps in the road health-wise, but with tons of support from family, friends, and my colleagues and students, I have made it to a 4th summer break post-Lyme diagnosis! Woo hoo!

Just a few weeks ago, I finally found the time and the wherewithal  to submit an official complaint to the state medical board about the infectious disease doctor who saw me in January 2013. This doctor was completely terrible. I debated whether or not to file a complaint, I am not one to rock the boat, but after many in my Lyme support group continued to discuss the importance of bringing the issues with Lyme, the diagnosis, the care needed, to the state medical board, I decided that I needed to do so. Sending to him was the last resort of my GP who had been trying to treat me for 3 years of unexplained symptoms. While I am quite positive that my complaint will not even warrant an “investigation,” I am told that at the very least, it gets recorded, thus, it can be helpful in the long run for the continued fight for awareness of Lyme disease.

As advocates, we have to start somewhere. I debated about submitting a complaint. But, several of the members of the group are also very active in attending the state medical board meetings, in particular to communicate about Lyme disease and lack of diagnosis and treatment options during the open forum portion of the meetings. Right now, I am unable to attend for a variety of reasons, but I really do hope that some day soon, I can be a much more active participant in pushing for much more Lyme Disease Awareness in Texas.

Too many people are being lost to the monster that is Lyme.

Update: TMB reviewed my complaint and sent me a letter stating that my complaint did not “warrant an investigation” because the infectious disease doctor was following guidelines (looking for the bull’s eye rash – only found in 30-50% of patients). I did not have the rash. I just had new daily headaches, lower back pain, nausea, severe fatigue, joint pain, cognitive issues and severe neck pain. And, I had had these symptoms for over 3 years off and on and that is exactly why my GP sent me to and ID doctor. She was stumped and had tested me for as many other things as she could to rule out other diseases. The ID doctor told me to drink more water and carry my purse on the opposite side. THIS DOCTOR DID NOT HELP ME AT ALL. He sent me back to my GP. 

Less than 50% Lyme sufferers have a bull's eye rash
Source: http://www.lymestats.org

I guess I am a lucky one of the up to 50% that do not present with a rash that the Lyme infection was caught. Otherwise, where would I be? Way worse, and literally dying to find the correct diagnosis. 

Although I had already started this blog before I took the step to submit the complaint, I do feel like I have taken the first step in the right direction – the direction of real Advocacy.

Where is the CDC??
Source: http://www.lymestats.org

There are SO many of us not getting diagnosed correctly, SO many of us who end up with Chronic Lyme, SO many of us not receiving treatment. It is wrong, and it is time for me to SPEAK UP MUCH LOUDER!!

I want to send out a huge thank you to LymeStats for permission to use its AWESOME informative posters!! Visit the website today if you can!!

Do you do any advocacy work?  I would love to hear about it!  I hope you and your people are having a wonderful weekend. Please make sure to do tick checks. Be safe – Belle

The Dog Days of Summer -Meet LuAnn

Well not yet, really. But, since I have been off of work, I have been spending a lot of time with my dogs. And they are awesome-sauce. I hesitate to tell you how many we have. First, understand that all but one is a stray that either showed up at our house or that we picked up on the side of the road. Also, each one was checked for a microchip. Several of them we tried to get homes for but most people only want a puppy and not an older dog. It’s tough out there people!

And for all of the complaining and yawing my husband does about the dogs, he is worse than I am about picking up animals! Mostly, he comes home with birds, a crow, a screech owl, a Rosetta Spoonbill, etc. The owl was just stunned and flew off into the night. The other ones we have taken to the Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center here in Houston. It is a great organization. But it isn’t for dogs nor cats.

Have we tried shelters? Of course, but most will not take a dog if you call up and ask them to. I guess you have to drive up and drop the dog at the door? I mean we’ve tried them all at some point, SPCA, CAP, Humane Society. Anyhoo.

So to lighten things up around this joint, I thought I would begin introducing you to some of our besties. While they don’t have anything to do with my health issues, in a way, they really do. They keep me company when I am stuck in bed with migraines and nausea. They give me a reason to get up in the morning and to stay on a schedule (you know, feeding schedule!), they make me laugh out loud with their antics sometimes. They help to keep me grounded and they keep me from being too self-centered all of the time.

So first up will be the more famous of our hounds, the lovely LuAnn. You can find her on FB as #Luannticcs. LuAnn hails from the side of the road between East Hungerford, Texas and nowhere. I was on my way to pick up my nephew for a holiday visit December 2012. It was in fact the coldest weather we have had in years. As I was driving, I saw a reddish spot on the left side of the road. It looked like a puppy. I swung around and threw my hazard lights on. She was skin and bones and she growled a little at me from the bank of dead weeds she was trying to hide in. I coaxed her and got hands on her. She was so full of fleas, it gave life to the cliche “her skin was crawling.” It was insane. She was literally starving so we drove through McDonald’s for a sausage/egg biscuit. She swallowed it in 2 bites. Then, she drank almost every drop of the water I had with me.

Poor puppy!
Day 1 with LuAnn

She slept the whole way to the destination and then back to the house again, almost a 4 hour trip. We got her washed up and fed and well, the rest is history. LuAnn is almost 4 years old and a healthy if not overweight 70 pound hound. Now LuAnn has some issues to say the least. For the first maybe 4-5 months, she was a chewing machine. We normally have a doggie door we keep open at all times for the crew. But that came to a halt for awhile when we first got LuAnn. She ruined several good pairs of my husband’s shoes and a few of my books. There were also several pillows, sheets, and blankets involved. She finally just stopped, Thank GOD!

Now you may ask, why is she FB famous? She is goofy as hell. And when I say goofy, I mean goooooofy!! So needless to say, we have some great snapshots of her, well, being Goofy! LuAnn is also afraid of the riding mower, although she will chase it around the yard. She also will bite at the weedeater. She does not like when I sweep the floor or when I vacuum. She took over one side of the couch. While she has somewhat of a sweet disposition, it also seems like she has a loose screw. She is not the brightest bulb in the pack if you know what I mean.

Dog Days
Pretty cute here!

 

Happy Friday, my peoples. Soak up some LuAnn. She is known for bringing a smile to those she meets! -B

 

Hanging around with the Hound!
70 pounds of PURE Love!

Don’t Read This if You Are Grateful for Your Illness

 

 

For the past 3 years, I have been chronically ill. I don’t like it. I don’t embrace it. I don’t want to “make the best of it.” Am I angry? Hell’s yes. Do I focus on the negative a little too much? Damn straight. Can I move past the negative to bathe in the positive? Not today, my friend, not today.

Many of the tools out there available for us to use as support for dealing with chronic illness (or anything else!) are based on positivity. And these tools are wonderful most of the time. But sometimes, I don’t want to be positive. I don’t want to learn positive mantras. I don’t want to hear how much I can “learn” from dealing with a chronic illness. I don’t want to be grateful for every single thing. Every single day. I don’t want to be “grateful” for contracting my illness because it’s brought me to a better understanding of myself. Tuck Fhat!

Now, I am not dismissing the power of positivity and the role it plays in our making the best of the cards we’ve been dealt. But sometimes, I am just plain old pissed off. Aren’t you?  YES, all of the affirmative mantras help. Meditation helps. Quiet helps. But the frustration can build up, even when we are “dealing” appropriately with it day to day. Am I right? Do you feel anger sometimes?

Where does your frustration come from? Me, I get angry when I wait 4 months to see my doctor, and she spends 10 minutes with me. I get discouraged when I have symptoms that I thought were gone for good. I get exasperated when my memory fails me and my brain doesn’t work right. I get outraged by the lack of medical research and treatment options for Lyme. And I get enraged when Chronic Lyme disease is dismissed by the medical community and by the public at large.

IMG_277926934979723

Sometimes, it really does feel good to be MAD. To be infuriated. To be beside yourself and livid. Does it change anything? Not at all. But for me, it solidifies my strength, my willingness to do battle daily, my resolve to overcome.

Do you feel this way sometimes? Please tell me you do. 

Later, my peoples. If you need to punch something, feel free. -B