Posted in Health, Meditation, stress

Loving More

Today, Sunday, November 13 is World Kindness Day. I’ve been practicing loving-kindness meditations as part of my overall meditation routine. These days we need that more than ever. I listen to my meditations on I paid for a premium membership, but meditation has really made a difference. It takes a while, but mindfulness meditation enables me to separate myself from my feelings and examine them dispassionately. These days it’s been easy to feel as though I’m out of control. I think I’m safe in saying that a lot of people feel the same way. Here’s one way I deal with it. Direct action – taking care of others – is another.

Oh, and check out the Random Acts of Kindness website. There’s some really nice stuff up there!

Posted in Health, Meditation, Migraines, Sleep, stress, Work

My Daily Calm

Empty Bed

Last night was rough, sleep-wise. My 62-year-old bladder got me out of bed twice, then I was rousted out of bed in the early morning to move my car. We’re having insulation blown into our house from the outside and they needed the driveway. Of course, nobody told me this the day before. If I’d known, I’d have moved the car the night before.

I became aware of an impending migraine once I got back into bed. I was exhausted and strung out from multiple awakenings. My regular morning alarm came and went. All I wanted to do was to stay in bed where it was safe and warm. I didn’t want to do anything. I had client work to do, but didn’t want to touch it. I was tired and angry due to the multiple disruptions to my sleep. My head was starting to hurt even more. Then the fucking doorbell rang. I knew who it was: the insulation people said they’d  need to get into my basement and would ring my bell once they needed to do that. So, up and out of bed I went – cold, tired, headachey and very irritable. I threw a sweatshirt over my pajamas, stumbled downstairs and opened the basement door.

I needed something to get me out of the funk I was in. How about a start-the-day meditation over a cup of coffee or tea? That idea sounded appealing, so I went downstairs, scooped some tea into a tea pot and finished getting dressed while the kettle heated up. Then I poured the tea, portioned out some almonds and then cut up a ripe pear. I took out my cell phone, pulled up my meditation app and sat back to breathe and, eventually, relax. The wounds of the morning faded into the distance as I noted my breathing: in-out, in-out, in-out. I felt my body relax and  my outlook improve. Yes, I could do a little work and do it well. I could also write about my morning (a great way for me to get things out of my system), browse some articles I heard about the day before and enjoy the day.

So, here I am. The migraine aspirin is just now starting to kick in. My chest has unclenched and I’m breathing comfortably. I’m giving myself permission to write and relax, read a little bit and start my day, even though half of it is already gone. I’m munching on almonds and a pear. I think I’ll be okay.

Posted in Health, Meditation, Seasons, Spring

Scavenger Hunt

This is going to be fun. I’m setting up a meditation space in my house and I’m starting to look for objects. So far I’ve got candles, pebbles and rocks and a very pretty top for a busted tranquility fountain. The top has layered rock , with a removable tree and bare branches you can swap out depending on the season. I also dug out some pretty fabrics to adorn tables and blew the dust off of a small Chinese tea pot.

Mmmm, very meditative

I browsed Pinterest and came up with an arrangement that’s on a tray you can move around.  There were several sizes of candles, an Asian tea pot, vases with twisty branch twigs and assorted natural items. I dusted off a pretty oblong tray and am going to work with that. Then I went on an outdoor treasure hunt and came back with some green hedge trimmings and my own twisty little twigs. I did no snapping, pulling or cutting. Everything I got was on the ground.

I still need something I can hold in my hand, like a smooth stone or soft surface of some type. Haven’t found one yet, but I’m still looking.

Posted in Health, Margy Tries to Exercise

Taking Time to Celebrate

I’ve been playing a good-habit game on my smartphone. It’s the only app or program I’ve found so far that actually has me chucking bad habits and going through with good ones. I’m flossing regularly and remembering to blog!

I’m up to my ears in work, which is good, but the little habit game is giving me a new challenge: Celebrate Your Success! I’ve successfully completed a set of good habits for three days in a row and now I have to remember to reward myself for being such a good girl.

So, I’ll call this my celebration for the first day. I’m taking a break from my work to stretch  my writing brain and to communicate with the rest of the world…well, at least you guys!

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Meditation

A Soak That Smells Like Dessert

Cocoa Butter
Aromatic, to Say the Least

It’s been a long week and a half, with overwhelming amounts of work and visits to three medical practitioners over three consecutive days. I don’t mind the work, but my stamina has a way to go before I can sound the all-clear bell. So, I decided to indulge myself with a scented foot bath yesterday, followed by a foot rub with something moisturizing and creamy. I set up the room, lit a candle, played meditative music through my cell phone and set up the scented water. Ahhhh, nice. I occasionally added warm water to freshen the bath and had added glass pebbles to the tub to massage my feet. It was a lovely, lovely time.

Once I was finished, I dried my feet, dumped out the water and grabbed a new jar of cocoa butter to rub all over my feet. I usually use shea butter but this time decided to try something different. I rubbed and rubbed and enjoyed the cocoa scent. Then I cleaned my hands and put on a new pair of socks. Damn if I didn’t smell like chocolate for the rest of the day! Interesting experience, but a bit overwhelming. I think I may go back to the shea butter and see what other uses I can put the cocoa butter to.

Posted in Arlington, Health, Home, Meditation, Seasons, Summer,


It’s been a rough summer health-wise and I’m looking forward to continuing recovery as the cooler weather comes on. I’m trying to balance my work load, to give myself more time to relax and enjoy life. I’m come to realize how incredibly important that is. My problem is that I’m a Type A personality and any time spent “not working” feels like slacking off and being irresponsible. I’m trying to  hide from that mindset and occasionally am successful. But, I’m still dealing with a boatload of guilt every time I do something other than work.

I came across something interesting a few months ago, an inspiration from – of all people – Benjamin Franklin. He was a very busy fellow – inventor, author, diplomat and more. He published an autobiography and some philosophies about how one should live his or her life. Despite his warnings against idleness, he nonetheless did fit an extraordinary amount of free time in his very long day. He even pushed a daily schedule that I’ve found to be quite an inspiration:

I’m not going to follow it exactly, but I like the idea of finding the good in the day and striving towards it. My routine this morning echoed Mr. Franklin’s, although the afternoon fell by the wayside. Perhaps a half day, including some work, is all I can handle at the moment. I took myself out for lunch and then headed over to the library, even though I realized I didn’t have the energy to do any work there. I sat in one of the incredibly comfortable high-backed chairs and went through a meditation routine, then simply sat and took in that portion of the room: the books, the marble fireplace, the iron grating over a door (it’s a beautiful library). Eventually I left, very slowly, and decided to stop at the nearby coffee shop for a decaf.

I almost made it. I was walking slowly, listening to music on my headphones, when I tripped over a cracked part of the sidewalk and went crashing down, landing on my knee, elbow and right palm. So much for my afternoon of peace and quiet. Some very helpful folks helped get me to my feet and I limped the rest of the way to the coffee shop. Sat down with my java and popped a few Motrin. When I was well enough, I walked over to Spy Pond, again very close by, and sat on a stone bench under a tree and watched the water lapping to the shore and  the sun shining on the gentle waves. There was a sailboat in the water, which made things even prettier.

2015-08-26 15.15.26There I sat and there I rested. I did eventually make my way home and spent a few minutes sitting in the living room in front of a fan. I was still listening to the music that had been interrupted by my fall. So now I’m back upstairs, talking about my day, sharing the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin and about to check news to see what’s new there.

Posted in Animal Cruelty, Food, Health, Meatless Monday

Margy Does Meatless Monday

i just finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and spent yesterday learning a whole lot more than I wanted to about factory farming. I’m familiar with these types of farms and the misery and pollution that accompany them but this was my first review with that book in the back of my mind. 

We don’t really “see” the meat we eat anymore. Sanitized and shrink-wrapped cuts line the back of my grocery store and you don’t think about the pig, cow or chicken who was raised for your dinner. Don’t get me wrong. I eat and like meat. However, I also realize that I have more of a choice theses days when it comes to the source of those tasty dishes. You can kill a pig for its meat, but you don’t have to raise it in a tiny cage and throw or kick it around while its growing up. I don’t have to buy a truckload of antibiotics along with my burger. I don’t have to participate in a system filled with deliberate genetic manipulation (chickens bred with breasts so big they can’t walk), filth, disease and suffering. We don’t have to eat that way.

So, I’m giving Meatless Monday a try. We will have chicken for dinner tomorrow night, then indulge in some nice spring veggies tomorrow. It’s not much, I know, but it’s something and I can live with that.

Posted in Health, Migraines

Migraine Brain

I visited a neurologist yesterday, the last part of my visual hallucinogenic journey. We were following up on a recent EEG, to see if there were any faulty electrical impulses in my brain. Nope. None at all. Like the rest of my tests, the EEG was completely normal.

At this point, we’ve decided that the visual distortions are tied to my migraines. The neurologist said something about neurons depolarizing, and then went into a rather fascinating description of how the brain processes visual information. Turns out there’s quite a bit of activity in movement, from the back of the brain where the visual signal is first received, towards the front of the brain where it’s assembled and interpreted. It comes in stages. One stage is the recognition of angles, like the corners of tables and doors. From there the brain adds additional visual interpretation, like shape and color, and then figures out what it is. The eyes themselves have very little to do with it.

Zap! Here Comes A Migraine.


The theory is that migraines happen during the “angles” part of this process. Neurons depolarize (sorry, I have no idea what that means), leading to a series of misfires (I guess you could call them that) that go on to confuse the interpretive part of the process. That’s what causes the wavy visual aura that often precedes the actual headache. That’s why the visual distortions are geometric in shape – it’s all angles. My hallucinations were similarly angular and geometric, kind of like an aura on steroids.

That makes sense to me, more sense than seizures or any other neurological malady. For now, we’re not doing anything. If I start having these experiences more frequently, then we’ll consider options for medication.

migraine aura Kinda’ Like That, But Not Really

Phew. I’m sick of running around to doctors and having endless, expensive tests that have nothing but “normal” results. It’s time to get on with life.

Oh – and happy first day of May!

Posted in Health, Migraines

Oh, Cripes, Don’t Tell Me This is Happening Again!

Readers of this blog may remember my adventure with visual hallucinations back in November. They lasted for a day, were horrible, and necessitated a visit to our local hospital Emergency Room. Over the course of two weeks I had a CT scan and an MRI, a visit with a psychiatrist, neurologist and ophthalmologist. They took lots and lots of blood tests and I’m almost on first name terms with my primary care doctor. So far we’ve determined that I’m not psychotic, don’t have a brain tumor, don’t have anything wrong with my eyes other than the Fuchs Dystrophy they diagnosed earlier. My blood tests were negative except for a slightly elevated liver function which probably was a hold-over from my cold of the week before. In a word, nothing. They have no idea why I got those hallucinations.

Ocular Migraine
Yeah, That’s It

Well, guess what? I just got another set of them today! Oh wonderful – I got to drop what I was doing and get over to my doctor’s office and tell him all about it (this was another doctor on the health care team. My primary is a woman). I described the symptoms: flashy lights, walls that looked “off” somehow: rough, like wallpaper had just been removed. I also saw things in front of the walls that weren’t there, like card holders and drawings. Every time I shut my eyes, I got an explosion of running stick figures or flashy ribbons of light that were turning themselves into people, from the muscles on out. Very, very weird.

At this point, though, we’ve eliminated all but two possibilities: ocular migraine or seizures. I’m waiting to hear back from the doctor’s office with an appointment for an EEG, after which we should have a better idea.

I wonder if this is some type of ocular migraine? According to what I’ve read, they’re very hard to diagnose and are often identified only when all other possible reasons for the symptoms have been eliminated. You can read all about it here.

Maybe This, Too

I’m not experiencing the hallucinations now. I spent a half hour walking to and from the bus stop to get to my doc’s office, then spent another half hour shoveling snow and spreading salt and sand over the frozen parts. I think I beat the thing out of me.

Well, here’s hoping anyway!

Posted in Food, Health, Just Bitching

The Color of Boring

I have a routine medical procedure on Monday and there are a few days of dietary prep involved. I wish I could say I was a happy girl today, but I can’t be joyful after several days of white food. Whole grains are forbidden, as are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. I can have canned vegetables and fruit, which are awful by the way. I can also have Jello, clear broth, applesauce and smooth peanut butter.

In a word: boring. I’m also really hungry all the time, since most of the food I eat falls unequivocally into the “forbidden” category. Actually, the worst is yet to come, but I won’t subject you to that. Let’s just say that I’m really looking forward to Tuesday.