Essays, Health and Fitness, Memoir, Oddities

No matter how weird you are, you are never alone

English: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2011) Lt....
Luckily, I didn’t need to call an entomologist to solve my problem. | English: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 2, 2011) Lt. Tracy Mejeomov, an entomologist at the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, examines a sample of bed bugs under a microscope to identify the species. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Gary Granger Jr./Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, I started finding what appeared to be tiny apple seeds in my bed. At first, I thought someone was eating in my bed. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that I had discovered crumbs all over my sheets from what I can only assume was my teenager discovering – and helping himself to – the  tasty, dark chocolaty, sea salt and caramel pretzel treats that I had stashed away in my desk drawer so I could keep them all to myself. However, when I continued to find these seeds, I knew I couldn’t continue to assume that my teenager was coming home from school every day and eating an afternoon snack in my bed.

Because that would just be too weird.

With no obvious explanation to be found, my fertile imagination immediately set to work trying to figure it out. As I worked myself up, imagining everything from mice eating in my bed (I did recently kill a mouse in my living room with a broom after watching my cats chase it for several minutes and then not know what to do with it once they’d caught it) to some disgusting disease or parasite that causes cats and/or people to excrete something that looks like tiny seeds from their bodily openings, I finally turned to the all-knowing oracle, Google.

At first, Google scared the crap out of me, as it is wont to do. The first link I opened landed me on this conversation led by someone who was having the exact same problem that I was having. After reading her discussion post, which begins with the words, “I think we have bed bugs,” my stomach clenched, and my whole body went clammy.

“Oh, my Google gods, I didn’t even think of bed bugs!” Continue reading “No matter how weird you are, you are never alone”

Biking, Cooking, Health and Fitness

Take care of yourself

Yoga Class at a Gym
Unlike this picture, my yoga class takes place in a daycare room at the rec center. They have to shove all of the kids’ toys up against the wall to make room for us! | Yoga Class at a Gym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started a new yoga class this week. It’s been a while. I don’t know why I quit. Two classes in, I can feel the crickle-crackle working its way out of tense muscles. I came home after class and scribbled down some poetry. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night rather than tossing and turning all night in an attempt to sleep on the side that aches the least.

This morning, I could hardly wake up. I am usually awake by the time my older son leaves for school, but today he had to wake me to tell me goodbye. Then I fell right back to sleep. My alarm went off twenty minutes later, signaling me to get up and get my younger son off to school. I hit the snooze button. Continue reading “Take care of yourself”

Health and Fitness

Guest Post: Conquering Self-Doubt about Your Writing Skills

By Ryan Rivera

At some point, most writers feel they are not cut out for this thing they are pursuing. Whether they regard it as their passion or something they’ve always wanted to do, some often feel they do not possess enough skills to produce material that’s worth reading. Self-doubt can be crippling, and writers are not exempt from being bogged down by this feeling. Once it sets in, your vision is clouded with thoughts of inefficiency, not being good enough, and just not being meant to do it. This will hinder you from reaching your maximum potential.

At the same time, you can use it to propel yourself toward improvement. Conquering self-doubt is no easy feat. It comes in bouts, which can be hard to shake off your system. It can be healthy on occasion, if you learn to use it to your advantage. Claim those ill thoughts and unleash your power over them. You must kill it before it kills you. Continue reading “Guest Post: Conquering Self-Doubt about Your Writing Skills”

Health and Fitness

Avoiding radioactive iodine therapy for Graves Disease

The surgeon must be careful not to damage or r...
Image of a thyroid gland | The surgeon must be careful not to damage or remove the parathyroid glands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 13 years ago, I was diagnosed with Graves Disease, which is also commonly referred to as hyperactive thyroid. I saw an endocrinologist who sent me for testing and then immediately sent me for radioactive iodine therapy treatment. I was only 23 at the time, so I did as my doctor told me without asking many questions.

It wasn’t until later when I occasionally ran into someone else with the disease that I found out there were other options. I also learned far too late that radioactive iodine therapy can be very dangerous and have a negative impact on your health, leading to long-lasting health problems, and even cancer. Continue reading “Avoiding radioactive iodine therapy for Graves Disease”

As Found on Pinterest, Crafting and Hobbies, Health and Fitness

On the DIY bandwagon

DIY Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent Label
This is my homemade powdered laundry detergent. You can download and print a copy of my label (for free) from my portfolio website. Just click the image above to get there.

Hello. My name is Mandy. And I’m a Pinterest addict.

It shouldn’t surprise you that I am on the DIY bandwagon as well. With my son and I each being diagnosed with asthma in the past two winters, I’m especially interested in the homemade cleaning products that are currently making their rounds. I can’t help but wonder if there might be some chemical in our lives that is exacerbating our breathing problems. I’ve always had a bit of a nagging cough in the winter time, but this year, it seems like I’m fighting a never-ending battle to keep bronchitis at bay.

Needless to say, I’ve become very interested in all of the DIY homemade cleaning product recipes I’ve encountered on Pinterest. Many of these recipes call for natural ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice instead of the many unpronounceable chemicals found in most store-bought cleaning products.  Continue reading “On the DIY bandwagon”

Biking, Health and Fitness, Illinois

I need a new bike

Polar mountain bike.
No more mountain biking for me, I guess. | Polar mountain bike. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to ride my bike everywhere when I was younger. First it was a ten-speed racing bike (I had a crush on a senior who was into bicycle racing,) and then a mountain bike when mountain bikes were first popular. I was in great shape back then and could hop on my bike and ride to a destination 10 miles distant like it was nothing. Then I had kids.

Kids are a pain to bike-ride with until they’re old enough to ride their own bikes and keep up with the grown ups. But by the time that happens, the grown ups realize they can no longer keep up with the kids. I bought a new bike last year (or maybe the year before, I can’t remember,) so I could ride with my kids who are soon turning 6 and 13, and I hate it. Continue reading “I need a new bike”