Tuesday, July 28, 2009

this week's agenda:

-have bedroom window exterminated and therefore cleared of ants
-purge through years of nostalgic build-up and organize my belongings
-hide from the sun
-make a much anticipated trip to IKEA to buy a desk and some white board pens
-send a secret to post secret
-turn my humdrum little bedroom into a creative and inspiring masterpiece
-go for a much needed skeletal alignment
-submit an expense claim
-pick up Jen from the ferry
-debrief with Jen
-eat Moby Dick’s fish & chips
-contemplate the meaning of life

Monday, July 27, 2009

hair envy.

It has been 11 months plus 1 day since I had my mid-mid-life crisis moment and chopped my hair off. I used to have long hair; actually for my entire life had long hair. Long, so long. To be fair, I have enjoyed the short hair for the majority of the year. But over the past few months I’ve started to realize that maybe it’s time I grew it out again.

For one, when I picture myself in my head, I have long hair. When I picture my future, it is a future graced by the presence of long hair.
Two. I am convinced now more than ever before that I have a long-hair-personality.
Three: the thought of having short hair for much longer makes me want to cry.
Four: many of my bedtime prayers are now infused with some form of “Oh God, God of miracles and wonders, could I just wake up with long hair?”

The kicker, though, came this morning at my local coffee shop on my once-per-weekly coffee run. I was waiting at the side for my half-caf-caramel-infused beverage, when she walked in: the woman with the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen. It was almost poetic it was so pretty; it cascaded and tumbled down to the middle of her back in it’s chestnut-brown glory…and it was natural, to boot. Hmpft. This must be why God invented those Bible verses about coveting your neighbor. My heart stopped, my jaw dropped, and embarrassingly enough, she turned around and caught me staring. I decided it might ease the embarrassment if I just said something to her, so while we were both at the coffee-prep counter I (feeling more than ever like an awkward teenager beside the graceful beauty with a mane of golden locks), I asked her if her hair was naturally like that. She was actually shocked that I asked her! I said, “wow, don’t you get comments all the time?” and she said that no, she didn’t. (She seemed happy to receive the compliment, which also makes me feel less like a dork for bringing it up. Even girls with perfect hair need validation sometimes). I decided that people in general must be intimidated, although I didn’t say that out loud. I just smiled as best I could and made a cheery exit.

Beautiful lioness: +500
Gangly Introspective: -2

(*point system is based on hair alone)

So that settles it. I’m going to grow my hair out. Maybe hibernating will make it grow faster…or some kind of herbal remedy? Fervent prayers, the laying on of hands? Hmm…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

the night God played His trump card

South Africa's fireworks display lights up the skies over English Bay in Saturday's HSBC Celebration of Light show.
Photograph by:
Sam Leung, The Province
taken from: here

My friend Stacy and I were driving home tonight from the Celebration of Light (fireworks) in Downtown Vancouver, and we saw a poster for that new TV s
how called "The Listener". We decided that putting "The" in front of a title has been intensely overused, and has almost reached "cliche" status. Originally, I was going to call this post "the pinnacle". I decided against it, although I simply can not think of a more fitting description for this evening.

A bit of context before we begin: I am utterly and completely, head over heels and passionately in love with lightning & thunder storms. I love the raw power, the unstoppable movement, the element of surprise and the sheer beauty of it all. While a lightning storm is going on (and those of you present with me this evening can attest to this) I squeal with delight at each flash, strike, or bolt - involuntarily. I get a dramatic surge of soul-deep-energy each time the sky lights up or rumbles dramatically with each ensuing thunder roll. Mystical as it sounds, God becomes incredibly real to me when a storm is in full swing. I am made entirely happy and at peace despite the knowlege that I should probably be more afraid. Can you think of a clearer picture of the intense power of our God? I can't. In short: I LOVE IT.

A bit more context: I am also quite a fan of fireworks, to understate it. They have a way (like many other things, storms included) of making me feel quite small, and I love that feeling. Plus, they're beautiful and sparkly, which obviously adds to the appeal! It's not a question of if I'll go see them, but when are they and where, and when can we leave?

A wee bit more context: I live for the sunset.

Tonight, with a group of new and lovely friends, I made my way down to the Bay to watch South Africa's exhibit. Sometime in the evening, it began to rain. And soon after, we began to see lightning in the sky on our left. We were also graced with one of the most memorably beautiful sunsets I think I've ever seen (and that's a lot, considering I spent 4 years on the praries). Everything about it felt other-worldly; like we had stepped into some alternate universe that didn't know we were there. The rain continued, and the lightning made a slow journey from one side of the bay to the other. Over the course of the evening the entire crowd seemed to go under some kind of covering; whether it was a tarp, an umbrella, a garbage bag, or in some cases: an air mattress. I went against the norm, not because I wanted to go against the norm, but simply because I couldn't sit down. And to put something over my head meant a restricted view of the sky - I kept missing the lightning. Besides, rain is only water, and being wet just means you aren't dry - small price pay, people. Small price to pay.

What you need to know is this: the lightning continued and intensified into the evening, and showed no signs of stopping as the time for fireworks drew nearer. I'm sure that many of the people on that beach were praying for the storm to end. Not me. With a smile on my face I could only repeat: You know what God? Bring it on.

And he certainly did. The fireworks started and the lightning continued, and the sky turned itself into an image I will never forget: a fully bloomed set of fireworks, with a crystal clear lightning bolt running horizontally right through the middle of all that color.

Best night of my life thus far.

A strange glow envelopes Vancouver as lightning strikes during the sunset on Saturday night.
Photograph by: Terry Hogan, for The Province
taken from here

Lightning and fireworks light up the sky simultaneously.
Photograph by: Tyler Ingram, Flickr Creative Commons
taken from here

For a brief moment, lightning upstages the HSBC Celebration of Light in English Bay.
Photograph by: Yury Mikhaylov, for The Province
taken from here

Here's a 10 minute video of the lightning....unbelievably cool

Friday, July 24, 2009

that was it, that was the answer to everything

...perhaps it's premature, but I am practically giddy. I'm so delighted.

I got my head put on straight. Literally.

Approximately 9 years ago, I got extensive reconstructive surgery on my jaw (long story, let’s go for coffee and I’ll tell you the rest); about three years ago I was rear ended in a car accident, within the next year I side swiped someone (yes, my fault), and early this past January I hit black ice and my car slid calmly into a parked van (not my fault, but if you ask certain provincial insurance agencies, it was). In hindsight, I guess you’d have to say that my head has undergone a lot of trauma; and while I suspected this was affecting me, I was not - despite repeated futile efforts - able to confirm that this was in fact the case.

My experience with the medical profession has certainly had its ups: I’m alive, essentially, because they exist. My childhood had a few hospital stays and a surgery or two, and so I learned very young the value of the availability of medical treatment. But that’s basically where it stopped. For some reason, my entire adult life (and including my teenage years) has consisted of almost entirely negative experiences. Jaw Surgery aside (that guy was an angel and a remarkable doctor), I have begun to seriously question those who would call themselves “interested in helping you feel better” – this was rarely, if ever, the case.

Since I graduated high school (approx. 9 years ago), I have been visiting the doctor with some frequency – and seeing that I’ve moved a lot, I’ve been able to meet and evaluate at least 30 medical professionals from across our country. I never felt good, or healthy; so I kept going back. I had a list of “symptoms” longer than both my legs, and learned early on that the doctor didn’t want to hear my list. Bring up one issue, get a pat on the head and a prescription drug for that issue, take drugs, and come back in 4 weeks. Not only was I repeatedly brushed off as a hypochondriac, I was always rushed through the system. I began to feel as though the doctors I was seeing were more interested in getting people in and out the door than they were in listening to why I came in; and they were certainly more interested in prescribing drugs than they were in figuring out the root cause. I’ve even had doctors write false information on my medical files; although they waxed poetic that they believed me, they would write something entirely different on my permanent record. As you can imagine, my trust in the system was waning.

But I continued to persist. I began to do my own research – reading countless online medical journals, studying endless diseases and their symptoms – and to my surprise, the doctors actually listened to me. I began to walk in not with a list of symptoms, but a full knowledge of my current proposed-solution to why I felt the way I did. I had facts, evidence, and convincing arguments at my disposal. If I wanted a certain blood test, I knew which symptoms to describe most prominently, and if I wanted a certain type of medication, I knew exactly what to say. The problem with this approach, however, is that I was getting what I wanted because I was good at explaining why I should get it – I was not at all getting what I needed.

And so, for the past 4 or 5 months, I’ve put my doctor-compulsion to rest. I was and am quite exhausted with the topical fix, the head-patting-reassurance, and the quickly given pills. I want real answers. I want to know the cause.

I have heard repeatedly that the Naturopathic approach to medicine can be incredibly beneficial. And the only positive experience I’ve had since I turned 18 was, in fact, at a Naturopath’s office. I had the name of a recommended Dr from a trusted friend of mine, and about a month ago, made the call and the appointment, and went in to see him. I won’t get into everything we discussed, obviously (there was a list…obviously). But I did bring up what I brought up here at the beginning: my head. I’ve had TMJ since the second accident (for those who don’t know what TMJ is, it’s an incredibly annoying and oft’ painful clicking and locking of the jaw). I asked this Dr about it and he said that since he did not specialize in things of the Muscoskeletal nature, he’d refer me to someone who did.

I was referred to another Naturopath (one with a background in Chiropractics etc). I went and saw him yesterday.

I want to buy him a pony, or perhaps his own private island, or maybe he’d settle for a no-nonsense kiss on the lips.

...like I said, maybe it’s premature.

If you’ve never been to an appointment with a Naturopath I’ll give you a general description of what it’s like. Your first appointment is usually an hour long. Yes, one full hour with a medical professional who is interested in figuring out the WHY’S behind how you feel. It is a feeling unparalleled. After he listened to my stories and asked his insightful questions, he did a few “tests” so he could figure out a bit more about how my body is working. It’s hard to explain the tests without actually demonstrating them for you so I won't (he would pull on my arm and I’d have to resist, etc). In any case, after he conducted his experiments, he determined that it was “just as he thought”. My head was off it’s center. So he fixed it for me (not to worry! No neck cracking or sudden movements; it was a very slow adjustment, he just pressed on the muscles right below my skull, and it was intensely relaxing).

I can not even tell you how drastic the change has been, and it started from the minute the adjustment was made! His theory is that when I got my jaw surgery the problem started, because they fixed my jaw but did not ensure that my jaw and my head were in line. As for the accident(s), he said that, typically, TMJ doesn’t start unless the head/jaw is actually hit. So the fact that a jerked movement cause my TMJ means that likely, I was already halfway there, and the problem was only aggravated by the accidents. So with my head being off kilter, the rest of my body would have been thrown off. My circulation would be effected, and would therefore affect the circulation to my brain. My digestion would be effected, my nervous system was effected, and so was the alignment of my other joints and muscles.

I feel like I have someone else’s neck on. It’s so soft. And not at all like impenetrable steel. Aaaah.
AND, I slept like a baby last night. An actual baby (right through the night of course!) I fell asleep when I went to bed, which hasn't happend in three years (usually I am awake for at least an hour or two...unless I go to bed when I am absolutley nausiatingly tired)…and I woke up rested (that hasn’t happened in 3 years either). I feel happier, and I actually feel clear headed (again, three years). I am so unbelievably stoked.

There’s obviously more that has to happen; I have a few more appointments with him coming up, but the fact that I can feel this good after only one appointment makes me want to sing the Halleluiah chorus on the busiest street in town.

Now if you’ll excuse me, me and my relaxed neck muscles have some feeling amazing to do!

*disclaimer: I am by no means trying to blanket-statement the entire medical profession. These experiences have been just that: my own experiences. I do not discredit the many hardworking and stellar individuals in the medical profession – the only thing I’m questioning are some of their methods.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

a beautiful revolution

I'm trying to decide how often a person can change their mind before the general public will start to consider them unreliable. This is my third blog in three years, each with a different focus and each for different reasons. For the few of you that followed my very first blog, you will know that this mind of mine changes seasons a lot; I wavered (outwardly) about quitting that blog on repetition for at least a year, before I finally decided to close it off. After a short break from blogsphere, I started a blog called ayearinmykitchen - a blog which was supposed to chronicle the epic journey of a woman (me) who ate only her own cooking for twelve months -shockandawe!- the twelve months turned into four, plus three (most recent) months of stagnance. Not suprisingly, my interest in that Journey and its Chronicle have dwindled to practical non-existance.

Maybe it's my co-dependance on all things small-screen, or my addiction to writing, or the naive belief that I actually have interesting things to say...but I am starting again. One more mind change, one more self-motivated change of heart.

I'm not entirely sure what this blog will look like, or what I will even end up writing about. There are a few of you who know that I am currently working on a book (with about five ideas in the 'pending' file). That being said, I feel like most of my energy for the written word could be taken up elsewhere. But I am, in the very core of my being, a writer. I am the most at peace when I am typing or writing or jotting down ideas on scrap pieces of paper. This could be just one more venue for me to get the swirling unformed thoughts out of my head and into some form of tangible reality.

...could be.