Kiss The Fiddler

Ramblings, moments of humor, random thoughts, experiences, insights, simple wisdom, and whatever else I feel like sharing.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kiss the Fiddler

Hey, did you know that I make soaps?  Yup, I do.  And it's fun.  They're really neat.  All sorts of different kinds.  I just know you want to buy some.  You can check them out HERE.

You can order by messaging me on the Kiss the Fiddler FB page.  If you use PayPal, I'll send you an invoice that way.  If you don't, we'll figure something else out.  All the profits go to a good cause - helping to support a family in need this week, and, uh, me and my family most of the rest of the time.  So, go shopping, y'all!


Dark Chocolate Black Sea Salt Caramel Fail

Fail!  Dark chocolate black sea salt caramel bar.  Rec'd as a Christmas gift (with a LOT of other dark choc bars).  It's like the damn thing was taunting me.  Come on!  You can't resist me!  Yup, right.  I can't.  Pissed at myself and now have another migraine.  Heidi, do  you see the link between food and your body?  I've tried for years to sever that link but now knowing about the link is going to save my life.  I used to weigh 100 pounds (I'm 5 ft nearly 8).  I don't have the words to relay how much this f*cks with my head.  I'm so frustrated with myself right now!

Day 4 and a bit better!

Day 4.  And I feel a little bit better!  I felt good enough to drive to town for necessary groceries.  Came home, started broth and made soup.  The soup is yummy.  Water, carrots, ginger and about a quart of frozen pumpkin from our freezer.  Cooked it all together, whizzed it with a stick blender and salted to taste.  Soft cooked veggies.  I hope it's GAPS legal because it's what I'm slurping before I crash.

This morning's migraine responded well to relpax and lortab.  It's gone.  I'm left with brain fog but for me, that's normal.  And plenty of tension in my neck and shoulders causing a tension headache.  Again, normal for me.

Anyway . . .  nap.


please, someone, take that ice pick out of my skull. it hurts.

woke in the night with a terrible migraine. took migraine meds (lortab, phenergan, relpax, ativan) and crawled into a detox bath. bath felt good. i get this kind of headache when i go off coffee. but i'm not. i'm just very slowly cutting down. i did add kraut yesterday and wanted way more than i ate. i swear, i coulda eaten the entire jar, it was so good and crunchy and hit the spot just right. maybe it's too early to add kraut. maybe i have a migraine just because (don't need a reason). at any rate, whew. 

my goals for today:
go to store and buy more chicken bits for more broth
spend 10 minutes outside, whether i feel up to it or not. 
keep up with drinking broth
keep up with drinking water
take at least 1 detox bath
keep up on soft veggies in broth
keep up on yogurt
keep u p on coconut oil in yogurt
keep up on drizzle of oney in yogurt
keep up on frozen blueberries in yogurt. 
keep up on fclo and start budget envelope to buy more
keep up on pbx pill

i will give the kraut a break today and try it again tomorrow. 

i really want to add pumpkin but want to be careful and only do one new thing at a time so i know exactly what my body is reacting to. thoughtsh?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

GAPS day 3

And I feel like crap.  Or worse.  I swear, everything and then some hurts.  Today I have a thick white coating on both my tonsils.  I didn't sleep well last night.  Tossed and turned a lot.  Took another detox bath this morning, this time with just baking soda.  That felt good and I'm now less itchy.  I'm puffy though.  My hands are puffy enough that it's difficult to make fists.  I'm guessing that it's probably toxins in fluid all over my body.  I'll continue to push broth/stock and water.  I stepped on the scale today (cause it's Saturday) and I weigh 221.0.  That's down 4 pounds in 3 days.  I know it's fluid.  And I know I'm still quite fluid heavy.  Drink, drink, drink, eh?

I know that coffee isn't GAPS legal.  The wean sucks.  I am still drinking coffee in the morning.  Less than a cup today.  With half and half.  I know better than to just stop coffee cold turkey.  Been there, done that.

It seems like the more broth I drink, the more horrid snot I make.  I hope it's my body's way of cleaning house.  Although I suspect I have a bacterial infection and probably tons of yeast in my sinuses.  Not sure how to go about treating it in a GAPS legal way.  I've been taking an Elderberry Elixer that my herbalist mother made for me.  Maybe that will help.

Ok, gonna crawl back into bed.  Have a good day, y'all.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Crazy Red Itch Must Have Water Now!

I'm panicked.  I just attempted a detox bath.  Scrubbed the tub.  Put the appropriate amount of pretty hot water in it.  Dumped in 2 cups of epsom salts.  Put a fist full of epsom salts in a glass and added 6 drops of frankincense oil and 6 drops of oregano oil.  Dumped mixture into the tub.  Stirred with my foot and got in.  Within seconds, it felt like my skin all over my entire body was on fire with terrible itchiness.  It itched so much that I hyperventilated and made myself dizzy.  I scrubbed with a wash cloth.  All over and hard.  When I couldn't stand it any longer, I drained the tub and showered off with just water.  My skin is beet red, no hives but feels all prickly and itchy.  I feel like I need to rip my skin off me!  The sensation is so intense that it's nauseating.  So I have a plug of ginger in my lip.  I'm shaking all over and feel very weak.

I'm confused.  I take baths.  I use epsom salts.  I use those oils externally.  Nothing really new except the parts put together at the end of a day like today.  Is it a normal GAPS response to a detox bath to have one's skin react so immediately and so intensely?  It feels better now that I'm out and dried off but I still itch crazy!  i was going to ask my sweet to rub calming salve on my skin because it feels good but now I don't want anything to touch me, not even undies or a sheet.  WTF happened?

Another thing worth noting is that I have an overwhelming craving for pink salt and ice water.  I can't drink water fast enough.  It's like I'm desperate to get it into my body.


Day 2 of GAPS

Day 2 of floundering around in GAPS. Yesterday sucked. Today I feel worse. One of the meds I take is cymbalta. When I miss a dose, my body feels like there's random jolts of electricity going through it whenever I move. I haven't missed a dose but I feel like that today. 

I took the meat and bones out of my broth. I couldn't bear seeing them in there every time I open the lid. I also added part of an onion, some green pepper, some mushroom and some celery. Maybe that will help the flavor.

Today I'll start taking a liver tonic I made over the summer. I'd forgotten completely about it until now. I hope that helps my body get rid of toxins by boosting my liver's function and help me feel better because honestly, I feel like I've been drug behind a train

I have a great little cheer leader. My son! He is being so, so sweet to me. He says things like, "Mommy, drink your broth really really fast if you don't like it. It's medicine for your body." Aren't I lucky to have him? I know, huh? Yah.

So, onward. Broth. Liver tonic. Probiotic. Yogurt. I'm determined. Please pray for me. Because this hurts. It feels right but it hurts. A lot.

Just to be clear, I will NOT be weaning any meds without both my MD and my DO's approval and help. Oh, and my Pharm guy too. For a Pharm guy, he's amazingly open and diverse and not attached to any particular big pharma way of thinking. He breaks it down chemically and hormonally and even draws it out on paper what the chemicals are (or aren't) doing. So, no, no meds changes just yet. And, surprisingly, my meds list now, long as it is, is shorter than it was a year ago. I used to qualify as having type 2 diabetes and take meds for that as well. I used to take even more antihistimines than I do now. And more stomach acid meds (3 total of those). I know how I got to where I am with meds. I've gradually increased over the period of 30 years (i'm 41 now). I understand that it will take time to safely wean off big pharma. I can be patient for that.

My wife is very supportive. It was she who first suggested GAPS for our son. I thought it was snake oil science. She also knows that she can't win. With my hx of eating disorders, she's learned not to even try to talk to me about food. It just ends up being a fight. That's one of the reasons this is so difficult for me. It's making me be honest about food. What I'm eating. What I'm not eating. What i'm hiding. What I'm purging, etc. It really does frack with my head.

Another "issue" is that I get paid to promote ViSalus. I have been on the Challenge and, though it made me sicker, I did lose weight and got more energy. I've gained all the weight back. I feel caught between earning a few extra dollars a month (enough for a tank of gas for my car) and backing out of Vi. I think they have something good for a segment of the population that's unwilling or unable to look at food closely as GAPS requires. I no longer use Vi (soy, fake sugars, whey) but I do still have clients on it and I use it as currency in my barter community. I feel like a hippocrit. No, I don't spell.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crawling Back

Hi.  It's me.  And I've come crawling back here.  To this blog.  To this place of safety and self expression.  I say crawling because I am.  Barely.

I've become so unhealthy that what shred of dignity and function I used to have is gone.  My weight is at an all time high at 225.  I am deeply depressed and in pain all the time.  I need help.  And I've looked for help far and wide.  The person I need help from is me.  I need to make a change.  I need my life back.  My child needs his mama back.  My wife needs her partner back.  And I'm sick and scared to death.

For over a year now, my son, who has Autism, has been on the GAPS diet.  It's changed his life.  I want what he has.  I grew up vegetarian and can't stand the taste of meat.  The GAPS diet is based around bone broths.  It's highly researched and carefully designed to heal the gut, mind and body.  I desperately need what it has to offer.  And I'm absolutely terrified.

I plan on using this space, this blog, as a place to journal my journey.  It's not going to be easy.  I will try to be honest.  I'm not writing it for my readers but you're welcome to come along if you want.  If you do come along, please offer me your support.  I'll need it.

Today, the day after Christmas, I am sick.  I'm coughing to the point of gagging.  I have a splitting headache (no, I'm not hung over).  I feel like throwing up.  My entire body hurts.  I've taken my morning meds (cymbalta, gabapentin, zyrtec, lisinopril, cranberry tabs) as well as phenergan and lortab.  I'm sipping on my now cold coffee with half and half in it and I just took some probiotics because I figured, why not, right?  I loaded the dishwasher, added home made detergent, set it to start.  I took 4 chicken drumsticks out of the freezer and put them in a pot with water and salt and unflavored beef gelatin and set them to cook.  I poured a dram of elderberry elixer and crawled back into bed.  Here begins the journey.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

It's been a long hard day.  Well, weekend.  I've been struggling really hard with a migraine and that exhausts me.  A family member is having a pretty serious medical crisis and that's pretty stressful.  My wife is upset by said family member's medical stuff and that's stressful.  It's time to make applesauce and put up food for the winter.  There's too much to be done and not near enough time or energy for this mama to do it.

So I decided to go to bed early.  Luken was in bed.  Settled.  Calm.  I crawled into my bed and curled up.  I closed my eyes and savored the cool breeze coming in my open window.  Then I heard the small footfalls of Luken sweet boy coming from his bed, across his room, across the hall, into my room.  They stopped at the edge of my bed.  Very quietly, he said, "Mommy, why did the chicken cross the road?"

Not rolling over, I asked him, "Why, honey?"

"The chicken crossed the road so he could sleep with his mommy."  And he crawled into bed next to me.  All soft and warm.

I seriously have the sweetest little boy.  How lucky I am.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Gift

I had such a sweet experience this morning. Luken and I went to the Carousel, as we do several times a month. He rode and then asked if I'd ride with him. I asked the pony keeper, and even though I hadn't paid, she said yes. So I climbed on. 

Even before the ride began, I felt Luken relax against me. He was happy and laughing. Around and around we went, laughing and completely enjoying being in each other's presence. It felt so good! 

Then the ride ended and I felt the usual rigidity return to his small body. That three minute ride had a big impact on me. Luken doesn't relax. Not even really when he's asleep. So feeling him relaxed and happy against me was a big deal. It was such precious gift. 

For those of you who don't already know, A Carousel for Missoula offers free rides to persons living with a disability and their attendant.


Does not taste like eggs

Me:  Please don't lick your shoes, honey.

Luken:  Mommy, there's something on the bottom of my shoes.

Me:  Hmmm. . .

Luken:  I think it's chicken poop.


Luken:  Mom, chicken poop does NOT taste like eggs.

Luken:  I think I'm sick.  I'm probably gonna puke.  Probably at night time.

True story.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Love to Watch You Grow

Today is Luken's first day of Kindergarten.  I'm thinking of how I want to set the tone for his school year.  I can sum it up like this.

I love to watch you grow.

And it's true.  All the new things Luken does, I love that.  When I see him struggle to acquire a new skill or think his way to a new idea - I love that.

Here is a brief pictorial of this morning's big event.

"Luken, please stand still so we can get a good picture of you."
His reply, "mouse farts!"

He is never still. 

A bit of apprehensive perhaps?  Good thing we had the ride to school to calm our nerves. 

Off he goes!

Bike wrestling.  Er, parking. 

It's such a big world.  And he's such a small boy. 

"Are you coming with me, Mommy?"

Oh, this could be fun.  He's found his spot at the table. 

I think he's gonna get along just fine here.  

My big boy . . . 

I love to watch you grow.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

kinda down

i'm kinda down in the dumps.  i don't know why.  it's been a pretty good summer.  maybe i'm just tired.  well, i know i'm tired.  i'm always tired.  there's a lot on my mind but i don't quite know what it is yet.  kind of unsettled and heavy and sad feeling.  so i'm just putting it here.


Friday, July 26, 2013

What are you doing now?

On your 5th birthday, I want to take a look and take note of what you're doing now, my son.

You can ride a bike with no training wheels!

You know the names of many of the trees in our woods!

You can mostly give yourself a bath.

You love to climb.

You'd rather eat with your hands but you do know how to use utensils.

You can write your name.

You enjoy adding.

You love to race things and build crazy wild jumps and tracks.

You help take care of baby birds.

You're learning the Lord's Prayer.

You have a gigantic vocabulary.

You love having stories read to you.

You're a great eater, not picky at all.

You're full of energy and are hardly ever still.

You spend time in the back yard building roads with your diggers.

You still suck your thumb and want to sleep with Brownie and your woobie each night.

You can get yourself dressed and are learning to tie your shoes.

You like fishing.

You're excited to start Kindergarten in the fall.

You're strong and can hike all the way up to the log jam up Bass Creek and back down without being carried.

You really want to have a loose tooth.

You like to snuggle.

You give great kisses.

When you hear sirens, you tell me I should go to the fire hall.

You're a little bit afraid of thunder.

You think hail is pretty cool.

You have your very own little garden this year with sunflowers, garlic and catnip in it.

You want to drink everybody else's ice water.

You're the sweetest funniest most creative kid I know!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Little Bear . . . We tried for years to have a baby. Did way too many fertility treatments. Took medications that made me sick. Finally got pregnant! And then was so, so sick. After 10 LONG months, and a very difficult labor, Little Bear was born via c-section. Both of us had some early struggles. I became very ill and went into heart failure. I was so sick that my memories of those early weeks are foggy. Little Bear had some struggles of his own. He was born with a PFO and had a long Q-T wave (he had a hole in his heart and an abnormal heart rhythm). It was also discovered that he has abnormal blood vessels going to his arms. We'll have to look at that when he's bigger and into sports. Otherwise, it probably won't cause problems. Little Bear's issues resolved with time as did mine. We learned to breast feed and he ate like a champ. And he grew. And grew! 

He's always done things his own way and in his own time. From an early age, he sorted his toys, separating out the red objects from the rest. His motor development was a tad behind his peers. He never crawled. When we went to story time at the library, he preferred to lick the outlet cover on the floor rather than to play and interact with the other kids. I noticed these things but didn't worry much about them. To me, my child was perfect. He was all that I'd hoped for. And I loved him like crazy! (I still do!)

Over time, I noticed more and more differences with Little Bear when I compared him to his peers. Autism crossed my mind but it was such a heavy thought for such a sweet boy that I pushed it out of my mind. He would only sleep on certain sheets. And with certain blankets. And even then, he'd hardly sleep. He put everything in his mouth, even after his peers had outgrown that phase. And most of the things he put in his mouth, he'd try to eat. He'd fixate on a single idea or object and be completely unable to focus on anything except that (being a dog, spinning, being upside down, wheels). 

When other kids were learning to play with each other, Little Bear was busy licking things. But I loved him like crazy! He was my much wished for child. 

Over the years, I've learned that Little Bear does indeed have Autism. And Sensory Processing Disorder. Yes, he's a complicated kiddo. He has tantrums that would make a sailor wither. He picks the prettiest dandelion for me. So yes, he doesn't understand social rules. He knows the names of all the trees in our woods. He has his own little garden. He presents me with many challenges. And he gives me so many wonderful opportunities to learn and grow. 

Would I rather have a "normal" child? Would I rather have an easier kiddo to raise? Not at all. I am head over heels in love with my son. And I wouldn't have him any other way in the world. He shows me love. He shows me God. He shows me life. Little Bear has been such a gift to me. I am so lucky that he chose me to be one of his mamas. 

Happy Birthday, Little Bear!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

19 Dead

Today it was confirmed that 19 firefighters were killed while working a wildfire in Arizona.  As a firefighter, I cannot fathom this.  I am heart broken and shaken.  The preliminary report says that they were forced to deploy their shelters.  This is something we practice at least every year.  All wildland firefighters know how to do this.  And we all hope we never have to.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, my heart looks for answers and there are none that satisfy.

God, you are bigger than the fire.  Wrap your strong arms around the firefighters who died.  Comfort those who remain.  Teach us all.  And give us peace.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Heating Up

The weather is heating up.  And my head does NOT like it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

'Round and 'round they go!

The other day, we visited
A Carousel for Missoula. 

This is one of Luken's favorite
things to do. 

At A Carousel for Missoula, 
individuals with 
"special needs"
get to ride for free!

We regularly
take advantage
of this.

 There is a dragon at the gate. 
In it's mouth are colorful rings. 
If you grab the brass ring,
you win a free ride!
That's what Luken is leaning over for. 

On this day, Luken took four
rides.  I rode with him
for one ride so I could
help him grab the colored rings. 
We caught the lucky
brass ring!  
It made Luken's day!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Versatile Blogger Award

Thank you to Shiny in Love for nominating my blog for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Fun!

7 things about me . . .

1.  I eat popcorn in bed.

2.  I really like rings.  Rings with shiny stones in them.  But I don't like my hands so I don't often wear rings.  I should wear rings more often.

3.  I'm afraid of the wind.  I can hear it before it gets here.  The mountains right out my front door roar when the wind is coming.

4.  I think cars are fun.  I like to drive them.  I like to shop for them.  I like to learn about them.  I get this from my dad.  I'm also driving one of his old cars.  It's a tired old race car.  Or, maybe I should say that it's a retired race car.  It's the most fun car I've ever owned.  It was free (as in, I didn't have to pay money to acquire it) but it's turned out to be anything but.  I'm counting on another 100K miles from it.

5.  I'm of the opinion that we (people today) ought to operate from a bast 12 number system.  Base 10 is okay.  But base 12 would be so much more useful.  Twelve is divisible by so many cool numbers.

6.  I still want to be a teacher when I grow up.  Or a nurse Midwife.  Or a famous fiddle player.  Or a veterinarian.

7.  I am addicted to sugar.  No joke.

Here, in no particular order, are the blogs I am nominating for the Versatile Blogger Award.

And, here is a link to the rules


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I'm getting kicked off the fire department and I hate it. I've been unable to maintain required call volume or training hours. Tonight was an example (or 2) of why. I notice traffic heading toward the fire hall. My pager hasn't gone off. It seldom does. It doesn't work. Anyway, I put Luken in the car and go to the fire hall to see what we have going on. Hay fire. Hard stinky work. I say I can only respond POV with Luken. I stay and do some station work, keeping him within arms reach the whole time. An emergency comes up at home so I have to leave the fire hall and go home and shut off the water and power to the pump. I also change Luken's clothes and grab his dinner. Then head back over to the fire hall. I run drinking water up to the fire and walk around with Luken on my shoulders taking a few pictures. The fire is down to a smolder by this time, danger past. People are cleaning up - rehabbing. I help when I can, with Luken on my shoulders or hanging on to my leg. I return to the fire hall behind the last truck. It's time for Company meeting. I decide to stay, even though it's already past Luken's bedtime. I give him his dinner. Throughout the meeting, he spins his circles and screeches. People keep telling him to be quiet. Some people make fun of his stuttering. He's causing a disruption so after about an hour of trying to manage him, I give up. An officer comes and offers to help me carry kicking thrashing Luken and his B-O-S to the car. Done. No wonder I can't make calls! No wonder I can't make training! I don't want to get kicked off. I'm pissed about it. And I just needed to vent.


Friday, June 7, 2013

3 Blankets

As I tucked Luken into bed tonight, he said, "You'd better cover me with three blankets.  I'm expecting a strong breeze tonight."


Monday, June 3, 2013

Oh, Shit!

My family went on a little family adventure yesterday.  It involved a coupla hour car ride.  As we're happily rolling down the road, Luken says, "I wish we had taken Heidi's car."

"Oh?  How come?" I say.

"Because in Heidi's car I get to say 'oh, shit!'."

It's true.  I let my child say dirty words.  He gets to say whatever he wants to say.  But only in my car.  And only when I say he can.  His favorite is "Oh, shit!".

I hope, that by providing Luken a place where all words are okay to say, he'll not say them in inappropriate places.  Time will tell if my theory pans out.  In the mean time, it provides comic relief.


iPad Challenge

Friday, May 31, 2013

Raise Awareness and Earn an iPad for Luken

By now, you (my readers) know that my sweet little boy has Autism.  He is making great strides in learning and communication.  Luken never ceases to amaze me.  He's scary smart and growing fast.  He will start Kindergarten in the fall!  Can you believe it?  

Anyway, I've seen many cases where children with Autism flourish when they have use of an iPad.  It helps them learn to communicate in ways that they couldn't before.  It opens more doors of opportunity for these amazing kids.  There is something about the iPad/user interface that does things that other tablets cannot.  I want that for Luken. 

I found a program at The Puzzling Piece that lets me earn an iPad for Luken.  You can help.  Please visit and click on the "products" tab at the top of the page.  Then click on the "iPad Challenge Pieces" tab.  From there, you can shop several different pieces of unique jewelry.  If you order one, there will be a space under the picture of the piece for the challenger's name.  That's where you type my name (Heidi Kestrel) so that I get credit for that sale and Luken gets one step closer to an iPad.  When  I get 60 sales from the "iPad Challenge Pieces", Luken will receive his iPad.  

As of this morning, I had 4 sales to my credit.  I have 56 more to go.  So, please, if you'd like to sport a piece of Autism Awareness jewelry, consider buying it here.  Not only will you be raising awareness, but you'll also be helping a little boy to have an iPad.  And, if jewelry just isn't your thing, then please share this blog posting with your friends and co-workers.  It really does take a village to raise a child today.  You're part of my village.  Part of Luken's village.  This is something easy to do that will help a lot. 

Thank you!


Thursday, May 30, 2013


The boundaries I set aren't meant to define how you behave.  They are meant to guide me in choosing how I respond.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It's planting season.  We've planted squash.  Lots of squash.

My wife has said, "We're gonna have squash coming out of our ears!"

Luken quickly corrected her.  "No, Mom.  Squash won't come out of our ears.  It will only come out of our butts.  And only if we eat it first."

Future scientist?



It started raining last night.  It rained much of the night.  It's raining off and on this morning.  And I love it.  It brings calm to my heart.  It reminds me to stop whatever it is I'm rushing to do and take some deep breaths.

Today I will do my best to remain calm and peaceful.  I will strive to gently guide my child through his day, reaching always toward positives and success for him.  I will wrap myself around his small body and lead him toward the quiet places I know he must have within him.  It's hard to remember that sometimes.

Right now, at this moment, I'm sitting on my bed writing this and Luken is in the bathtub.  I hear a constant stream of his verbal froth in the high squeaky voice he uses when he's stimming.  He's playing with monster trucks in the bath.  "Ac-tek, ac-tek, ac-tek, wooo, woo, wooo, wooo."  Over and over again.  He's found a groove that works for him.

I am coming to learn that grooves that work for Luken look strange to many folks.  I used to be more concerned about it than I am now.  When he finds a comfortable space for his body and brain, I try to be grateful for it, not to change it into something that might seem more socially acceptable.  It's a learning process.

I love my son.  We're going to have a great day together.  I just know we are.


Monday, May 27, 2013


I haven't posted much lately.  It's not that I don't have anything to say.  I have lots to say.  I sort of don't know how to say it.  When I don't post much, it usually means that my inside world is too busy for me to write.  Please hang in there with me.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Early Morning Streaker

What must our neighbours think?  Oy . . .

This morning, as I was in my room getting dressed, I noticed that the school bus was coming down our street to pick up the little neighbour boy.  I ducked out of site of the window in order to keep things appropriate.

Just then, I hear the front door open and Luken yells, "Hey!"  And then, slam.  I peek out the window to see him racing naked across our front lawn.

The bus stops in front of the neighbour's house.  The little boy loads up.  Luken persists, "Hey!  Hey!  Hi!  I'm saying hi to you!".

From the window, I holler, "Luken, come inside right now!  Luken, remember your privacy!  Luken, stop!"  At the same time, I'm furiously trying to get dressed so I can chase him.

He's not having it.  He runs all the way to the street.  Close enough that the bus has to stop to ensure his safety.  All the occupants wave at him.

Satisfied, he turns around and ambles back into the house.

Oy . . .  my kid.


Sunday, May 19, 2013


Spring is supposed to be wet, right?  Yes. 

But not in the basement!  

The pressure thank that supplies our faucets with water has worn out.  And the constant flux in pressure has caused a leak in the flexi-pipe connecting the pressure tank to the main pipe that feeds the faucets.  I knew there was a tiny leak.  I went to check it today and found water all over the floor about 3 feet into the room from the corner closet that houses the pressure tank.  Not good.  It's in our library.  

We shut everything off and our neighbor helped us figure out how to drain the tank so it stopped dumping water onto the floor (which is carpet).  Thanks, Kevin!  

Now we wait for the plumber.  He said he'd be here tomorrow.  

Damn, this is NOT what we needed to be spending money on right now.  I'm frustrated.  

But I'll get over it. 


Headache relief fund  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sweetest Gift

Today I was feeling kinda
down in the dumps.

I was sitting on the couch 
feeling sorry for

I looked up
and there was my kid.
With his grimy little fist
full of flowers. 

Just for me. 

I have the best kid.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring rain

Today was cooler.  And breezy.  With sweet little intermittent rain showers.  The buds are getting big on our lilacs and the cherry bush next to our front steps is covered with pale pink blossoms.  It's pretty.  And covered with fat slow bumble bees.  And mean fast yellow jackets that will sting you just because they can.

It's Friday and I like that.  It's a relief to have made it through a hard week to Friday.  And then the weekend.  Whew!

Took Luken in to get updated on his imz today.  Somehow we got a little bit behind.  He got one shot today and he did very well!  He was brave.  The longer we had to wait for the nurse, the more nervous he got.  By the time they came in, he was kinda freaked out.  I think that the worse part for him was when they cleaned off his let with a cotton swab.  He was disappointed that there wasn't any blood.  He got a bling bandade.  My kid rocks!

Now, this afternoon, we're going to town for errands.  All of us.  Wish us luck.  I have a headache (duh) and kiddo gets overwhelmed by stores.  I like to think of it as an adventure.  Right?  Sure!  We're going on a family adventure.  To buy staples like cat sand, chicken, veggies. . .

Y'all have a good weekend.


Migraine Relief Fund

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Beautiful Day

Today was one of the first beautiful spring days we've had this spring.  The temperature was warm.  The sun bright, the sky clear and blue.  Perfect day for working in the garden or hiking in the woods.

I, however, spent the day in my darkened bedroom, again (or still) with a migraine.  This needs to end.  I keep saying that I'm at the end of my rope.  And then it keep going on.  And on.  And on . . .  The constant pain is exhausting.  The level of pain is scary.  There is no comfortable position.  All the time I feel like I'm about to vomit.  I swear, I want nothing more than to be able to life my life.  I want to be the mom my son needs.  I want to be the wife my spouse deserves.  I want to dig in the dirt, hike in the hills, take pictures of the sky.  I want to talk about something other than headaches and being afraid.  This is not what I signed up for.  And I do not know how to change it.


medical bill fund

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Panic knows no reason.  Night or day doesn't matter to it.  Panic is a lot like pain.  It comes unbidden and unbridled.  Like a raging prairie fire across what little shred of sanity I have left.  It sucks air into my chest and holds it there until I'm way past dizzy.

I've been panicked a lot lately.  I panic when I wake up in the night and hurt so intensely that I am sure I'm dying.  Then I reach out with my foot and find my sweet's leg and I press my foot there, against that certain warmth.  I will my breath to move so that I may know I'm alive.

When I hear the wind coming, I panic.  I can hear it before it arrives at my front door.  Sometimes the wind makes the mountains roar.  Then it comes, the wind and the panic, rattling the windows, drawing the warmth away, covering the craggy peaks that are my solace with clouds that carry biting snow.

Two days a week I force myself to get the mail.  It's bills.  Always bills.  I am afraid to open them.  I find them confusing.  I feel ashamed that I can't figure them out.  I feel guilty that I haven't paid them.  Again, I've been sent to collections.  I know this isn't responsible.  I can't see a way through it.  And I panic.  There is never enough money.  I'm too damn expensive - always have been.  Stupid panic.  Concentrate on making my body move air.  Into my lungs and then out.  Don't stop in one place and forget to breathe.

I can't talk about the headaches without crying usually.  Because I am so afraid.  I am scared that I will die before I find somebody to help me figure out what's causing them.  Pain, nonstop crazy pain makes my mind do things I don't understand.  I panic about it.  What if I die this way?  What if I die and I can't find the craggy peaks to fix my eyes upon?  What if I die and I can't find my little boy's soft grubby sticky sweaty hand to touch?  Panic makes me crazy.  And pain terrifies me.

When I talk to a doctor or health care provider about the headaches, I don't know how to make them understand how long it's been.  I don't know any longer how long it's been since I really truly haven't had a headache.  I'm not sure I would know anymore what that feels like - to not have a headache.  Doctors want me to tell them when the headaches started.  I can't.  From where I am now, I can't see the beginning of them.  I know I had headaches as a child.  I know I had headaches in high school.  I'd come squinting up the sidewalk from the Ad Building to the dorm and plead to be able to crawl into bed.  I've been crawling into beds in darkened rooms to hide from a headache for longer than I can remember.  Pain has made me desperate.  I do not want pain to rule my world, but, right now, it does.

Right now, my curtains are drawn against what I imagine is soft evening light.  I don't know if there are clouds of mist or snow covering my craggy peaks.  When I finish this post, I will roll onto my side and close my eyes and wrap my head in a dark purple pillow case to keep out the fading light that pushes in around the edges of my bedroom windows.  This is not life.  This is desperation.  Pain filled panic.  This is not living.


Help the Fiddler (that's me)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

So, the headaches . . .

I'm starting a new diet to try to help my body heal from years and years of migraines and pharmaceuticals to try and fix the migraines.  Today is day 2.  And it sucks.  The diet allows absolutely no sugar.  No caffeine.  No grains.  Nothing processed.  Period.

The caffeine withdrawal sucks!  I had a migraine to start with.  And not giving my body the caffeine it's so accustomed to makes the headache so much worse.  Nothing helps the headache.  I can't even see straight.  Not seeing double, I'm seeing tripple.  I don't even know how that's possible.

Oh!  And the sugar withdrawal.  Brutal!  If you think that I'm nuts in saying that sugar withdrawal is brutal, you try it.  I'm serious.  Give it a go.  And lemme know how you feel 2 days in.

I hope this helps.  Because right now it completely sucks butt.

I know that it's not a good idea to self-diagnose.  But when you're as desperate as I am for something that helps, you're gonna look around at other possible causes and solutions.  One of the things I've found recently is lots of new info on Chiari Malformation.  The criteria for dx is that the brain be protruding at least 5mm from where it should be.  More recent studies suggest that this 5mm criteria is random and that any protrusion, if it causes symptoms, warrants treatment.  So I'm in the process of tracking down my latest MRI.  I will send it to another doc for a second opinion.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.  It's blustery and windy here.


Saturday, April 27, 2013


Dragons in the dark are scary.  We can't see them.  We don't know where they are.  We can't tell if they're friend or foe.

But dragons in the light - well, those dragons are REALLY scary.  Those we spend more than our energy to outrun, to hide from, to fence up.  And it never works, at least not for very long.

Dragons make us fear them.  And they they pull our fear and twist it around twisting, snarling, reaching out with tentacles that freeze us into some crazy grotesque shape that gives no hint of who we might have been prior to the dragon.  Then we are forced to stay there, frozen in the fear, and stare the dragon in the face.  It's like a game of chicken and the dragon always wins.  Each time you can bear to face it no longer, your twisted grotesque form cracks and you try to turn away, to run, you close your eyes, you jam your fingers into your ears.

And you realize, with panic, that it's too late.  Somehow you've become part of this damn dragon you've been running so hard from.  You feel tricked.  Bravery and courage feel hollow.

Your only choice is to stay and look at it.  Look into the eyes of that dragon.  Gather all that courage, hollow or not, wrap up the panic and channel it into some movement - any movement.  In the tiniest of movements, in hidden eeked out moments stolen from the night, you slowly come to realize that this is a life and death fight.

You don't know why, but you know you must fight to survive.  So you do.  Over and over again.  And it feels like razors cutting at your soul and you're afraid because it feels like you're going insane.  None of it makes sense but you hold on because that's where the ride is taking you.

It's a hard ride.  Some people run from their dragons their entire lives.  I'm not one of those people.  I plant my feet firmly.  I gather the panic and focus it and it helps me move in a direction.  A tiny movement maybe but it's something.  I will look. I will be twisted.  I will not shy away or hide my eyes.

So, Dragon,  you've been warned.  You'e better bring your A game because I'm tired of running from you and you are going down!


Thursday, April 25, 2013


This has been a crazy busy week for me.  I've helped teach 2 different CPST classes.

The first class was an 8 hour class (12 hour day) on Monday.  It was a Renewal class, for techs who's certification had been expired for up to 2 years.  We had 5 students and everybody passed.

Then, starting Tuesday bright and early, We started a brand new class of 12 CPST candidates.  So far, after 3 very long days of teaching, they've all passed all 3 written exams and all 3 skills tests.  Tomorrow they will complete the class by participating in a Child Passenger Safety seat check event.  The event will be hosted by Missoula Rural Fire and held at their Station one in Missoula.  It promises to be a full event with live media present.  Looks like we're gonna have a nice day for it.  Woot!

I absolutely love teaching.  Adults.  I enjoy teaching adults.  If I could figure out how to make a regular job or career of teaching adults, I would.  It's been a really fun week!


Thursday, April 18, 2013


So, I pretty much ran out of hope yesterday.  It hurt.

Woke up to a new day today.  It still hurts.  But I have a tiny shred of hope.  Maybe a new spring shoot.  Tiny plants are sprouting now in the springtime.  Perhaps it's that way with hope.

Some good things happened today.
     - I got an appointment with a doctor from California who has a reputation for successfully helping people with complex medical problems.
     - My phone died.  So I drove to town and the AT&T people were awesome.  They set me up with a new phone.  They helped me troubleshoot coverage issues.  They transferred all my contacts from my old phone to my new one.   They were very kind.
     - I got a haircut!
     - I called the vet to ask for more meds for my hospice kitty.  They offered to deliver the medication to my home.  Sweet!
     - Somebody offered to pay for me to see their Chiropractor.  I looked him up and my insurance covers him (sort of).  I called and made an appointment for tomorrow!
     - Somebody stopped by my house while I was gone this morning and left a bag of gifts on my front porch!
     - The sun is shining.

So, yes, I still have a headache.  But it's easier to bear when I also have a little bit of hope.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

There Goes the Bus

I am 9 years, 10, 11, 12 years old and school has just let out for the day.  It could be Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.  The bus comes in 45 minutes.  I have the timing of the bus figured out.  I can hear it before I can see it.  If I start down the long sidewalk when I first hear the bus, I'll be at the bus stop by the time the bus arrives.  After I hear the bus, it comes into site.  The brakes squeak and it turns the corner and comes bumping over the railroad tracks and grinds to a stop at the end of the long sidewalk in front of my school.  On a good day, I'm there waiting with the rest of the few kids who ride the city bus.  We climb on and get out tickets punched and plop down into our seats.  We're on our way home.

But on many days, I don't make the bus.  I am "teacher's pet".  That means I got to help with "special jobs" after school.  Sometimes these jobs are fun - put stickers on student papers, color letters for a poster, plan a bulletin board.  And sometimes, the job means "helping" my teacher feel better.  He gets sad and too many days it is my job to make him happy.  For him, this means sex.  For me, it means torture.  Through it, I listen for the bus.  I pray that the bus driver will stop the bus and come help me.  Please, somebody, help me.  I am desperate.

If I hear the bus coming, hear the brakes squeal, hear it lumber over the tracks, hear it pass, and look out the window in time to see the rear of the bus disappear in a black cloud of diesel smoke, then I know that nobody will help me.


I am on the fire department in my town.  This means that sometimes I respond to horrible vehicle accidents.  When somebody is trapped inside their vehicle, I'm often the person who crawls into the wreckage around them, wedges myself into the back seat behind them and takes up the job of C-spine mobilization.  This means I place a hand on each side of the person's head or neck and do my best to imobilize the spine while the other firefighters work to extricate the victim and provide medical care.  When I'm in there, sometimes with their blood running down my face I'm so close, I talk to them.  I put my face right up close to their ear.  I tell them to breathe.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  That's all you need to do right now.  Breathe with me.  In. . . Out. . . In. . . Out.  And I tell them what's happening.  I tell them that the person who's touching your arm, he's a great EMT.  He's going to start an IV so you can have some pain medicine.  And that guy over hear next to your shoulder, he's the best person I know to help get somebody out of a car.  He knows exactly what to do.  It's going to be loud.  You're going to hear popping sounds.  The glass will break.  Ok, close your eyes.  That woman is putting a banket over your face to keep the glass from cutting you.  See, there.  Now we're both under the blanket.  It's okay.  All you have to do is breathe.  In . . . Out . . . In . . . Out.

As I do this, I can often tell whether the person I'm with will live or die.  I'm not highly medically trained.  But something about the way that I feel them with my hands tells me.  I'm usually right and I hate it.


I have had chronic near constant severe migraines for months.  For years.  My head has hurt since I don't know when.  I can't remember the last time when my head did not hurt at all, when there was no burning searing pressure stabbing pain inside or around my skull.  Yes, once in awhile, the pain is less.  Sometimes it's just this dull constant pressure that won't go away.  Those are the good days.

I've sought help from many many different professionals for the migraines.  I've seen neurologists, taken medications, done yoga, exercises, changed my diet over and over again, done neuro feedback, psychotherapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other things I don't even remember to try to make the headaches better.  I've endured tests, MRI's, poking and prodding.  I've answered question after question and tried drug after drug.  Nothing has helped.  And I am desperate.

Some days, the pain is so intense that I am afraid I'm dying.  When that happens, I curl in my bed and breathe.  And I crawl behind myself, in a tiny cramped crumpled space and I place my hands on each side of my head.  I lean close to myself and I talk.  All you have to do right now is to breathe.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  In . . . Out . . . In . . . Out.  And, since I don't know what's happening, I make up a story.  Like the people I help who are trapped inside the wreckage of their vehicle, I sometimes thing I can tell if I will live or die.  Sometimes, crouched behind myself, hands on my neck, bent close, I feel that the patient will die.  And this terrifies me.

I am 9 years old.  And 10 and 11 and 12.  And the bus doesn't stop.  It turns the corner and disappears into its cloud of black smoke.  I am desperate for help and nobody comes.  I am 40 years old and I hurt so bad that all I can do is breathe, in and out, in and out.  And the bus doesn't stop.  It turns the corner and is gone.  And I am left to choke on it's black smoke.  Nobody can help.  The migraine keeps on and on and on . . .


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Train Wreck

It feels like my life is a train wreck.

The stress at my house seems out of control.  

My dear old cat, Anika, is ill.  I took her to the emergency vet yesterday because she was so obviously in pain.  She has a urinary tract infection and probably a tumor in her bladder.  We're treating her for the infection and providing comfort cares (pain meds and fluids).  I don't want her to hurt.  Once we got the pain under control, she seems happy and content.  She knows that she's free to leave, no strings attached, whenever she's ready.  She's a cat.  Cats are pretty good at death. 

I'm broke.  Not broken, quite, but out of money.  Quite.  I got my entire month's worth of funds on Friday.  It's not even Monday yet and the money is already gone.  I paid our household's monthly bills, bought a few groceries, put gas in my car, and took the cat to the vet.  Done.  Until mid May.  This sucks!  

My house is a mess.  I can't get on top of it.  I try to narrow my focus to one small area or task.  It doesn't help.  I'm stuck in overwhelm and it's getting me nowhere. 

I've had a migraine since Monday.  Yup, you read that right.  I've had this headache for a week now.  Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night were particularly bad.  Today has been a struggle but it's not been as bad as yesterday was.  I'm STILL waiting on the results of the food allergy test.  I feel like I'm out of options.  All my doctors can do now is toss drugs at the pain.  That helps, some. But only for a coupla hours.  This is NOT what I signed up for!

It's spring!  I should be happy.  I'm not.  I'm tired and crabby and I hurt.  My family is stressed.  Nothing seems to be going right.  I need a break.  Yup, it feels like a train wreck. 


Friday, April 12, 2013

Reality Check

There are days when I think that my son isn't affected by Autism.  Nope.  He's not autistic.  He's just a little quirky.  But it's not Autism.

And then reality comes giggling in through the front door with the little neighbor boy.

G is exactly a year younger than Luken is.  G came over this morning to play trains.  Watching the 2 little boys play together was quite telling.  G kept trying to engage Luken in play.  Luken, meanwhile, played his own game with the trains, at 100 miles an hour and maximum volume, whirling around G, squealing and screeching at the top of his lungs.  At one point, G looked up at me with a confused look on his face and shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Hey, I'm trying here but I don't know what to do."

Yup, my kid is different.  And I love him no matter what.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Going Back

I went back, last week, to the place where I was raped probably hundreds of times as a child.  I went back to my grade school.

I asked a good friend to be with me there so I wouldn't have to go alone.  The support she offered was comforting.  I was afraid.  I was afraid that being there would trigger flashbacks or a cascade of unstoppable horrifying memories.  It didn't.

The school has changed.  Or rather, the people have changed the school.  The classrooms part of the school has been completely gutted and re-worked.  It has a different layout and an addition.  There are windows from the outside into all the rooms that children are using.  And windows from the inside into all the rooms (except the bathrooms and furnace room).  There are lots of doors.

The copy room and textbook storage room are no longer closed locked dark places of torture and rape.  They're open cheery spaces off the main entry lobby.  The classrooms are open and bright.  It has a good vibe.  It felt like a place where children could be safe, be happy, grow and learn.  I am glad.

And I'm proud.  I'm proud that the people of the church involved believed me.  I'm glad that they didn't simply let things stay the same.  I'm glad they thought hard and worked hard to change their school.  I'm glad they've had long and serious conversations about how they can and will never allow such a thing to happen there ever again.  I'm glad they haven't forgotten.  I'm glad that my experience, telling it, reliving it for the courts, surviving it, has made a difference.  To me, it feels like these folks have really stepped up in the wake of something terrible.  They've taken a stand never to allow such things to occur under their watch.  And they are watching.  It makes me feel like it wasn't all for naught.

At the same time, going back there made me deeply sad.  Sad for the little girl who learned that her teacher could rape her, smile at her, and send her home knowing that if she told anybody, there'd be hell to pay.  Sad for the other kids whom I know endured similar abuses at the hands of this man.  Sad for the broken lives and torn families.

People sometimes say that time heals all wounds.  No, it doesn't.  For some kinds of hurts, it's as if time doesn't exist sometimes.  There are moments when the memory of it or the feeling of it is as present day as your coffee in the morning.  Time, for me, about this, has given me space.  Space to learn to live with what happened there.  Space to choose to heal.  And space to work on it.  But, last week, stepping into that school as a grown woman, over 30 years after the first rape there, I felt as small and scared as the 9 year old girl I used to be.

It was a strange mix of emotions.  Being happy for the change.  Being sad.  Feeling small and afraid.  And it's taken me a week or so to sort it out enough to write something that even remotely makes sense.

I hope, that by looking and going back to the places of the stories of my past, I can begin to put to rest some of the grief I've carried with me for so long.  Maybe, one day, I'll be light enough to not have a constant migraine.  I hope.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

its a mess

someone i know and love just stopped by the house to say hi.  awesome, right?

you'd think so.

but i live in a stye.  no, really.  my house is a pit.  it's a mess.  and i hate it.

oh, i don't hate my house.  i hate that it's such an effing mess!  i'm ashamed that it's a mess.

and i try to keep it clean.  but the mess gets away from me.  i run the dishwasher at least once a day.  i try to remember to put in laundry.  i see that the floor needs to be swept but i don't sweep it because i know that less than 10 minutes after i sweep it, it will look just as bad as it does now.

i am so frustrated.  and ashamed.  who can't keep their house clean?  well, i can't.


Friday, April 5, 2013

lots to say

It's been a busy week or so and I have LOTS of things need saying.  I kind of don't know where to start.  Lots of things brewing.

PSA of the day:  Wear your seat belt!  No excuses.  Buckle up.  Everybody.  Every time.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

a few hours

Today, for the first time in weeks, I had a few blessed hours of no migraine.  I woke up clear headed and not in pain.  I had a good morning outside playing with Easter eggs and little kids.  I didn't start getting a headache until after noon.

Then, it started.  The first searing jab of pain splitting the hemispheres of my brain gave me warning about what was coming.  I continued on with my day.  Now, it's late.  And I hurt.  I can quite fairly say that yes, I have another migraine.

But, for a few sweet hours earlier today, I didn't have a migraine.  Thank you for the gift.


Friday, March 29, 2013

sometimes, when i hurt so bad, like right now, i need something that offers hope.

 Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

Text: Edward Hopper, 1816-1888
Music: John E. Gould, 1822-1875
Tune: PILOT, Meter: 77.77.77

1. Jesus, Savior, pilot me
 over life's tempestuous sea;
 unknown waves before me roll,
 hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
 Chart and compass come from thee;
 Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

2. As a mother stills her child,
 thou canst hush the ocean wild;
 boisterous waves obey thy will,
 when thou sayest to them, "Be still!"
 Wondrous sovreign of the sea,
 Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

3. When at last I near the shore,
 and the fearful breakers roar
 'twixt me and the peaceful rest,
 then, while leaning on thy breast,
 may I hear thee say to me,
 "Fear not, I will pilot thee."

Thursday, March 28, 2013


It's Holy Week for Christians.  

If you know me, you know that I struggle with Christianity.  Right now, it's a life giving struggle.  Maybe like birth.  I don't know. . .

During this week, Christians reflect on the days and hours leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Tonight, I went to church and the service was about Christ's mandate or new commandment to us to "Love one another as I have loved you."  This is a tall order.  Think about it.  God loves you (me, all of us) to death.  If you're a Christian, that's your reality.  It can be both a heavy reality or a freeing reality.  Maybe it's both.

At the end of the service tonight, the Altar was stripped.  It was laid naked.  In preparation to remember Christ's death, where God, in Jesus, laid naked before us.

As American society, we shy away from naked.  We find shame in our own nakedness.  We taunt other's nakedness.  What does it mean to you to be naked?  You were born naked.  Your innocence was naked.  There is a curiosity about being naked.  Sometimes, we dare to take the cover off and peek underneath.  Yet, most of the time, when we see nakedness, ours or another's, we seek to cover it.  We turn our eyes down.  We look away.  And, when we find ourselves naked, we hide.

Do you dare to be naked?  Before your own eyes?  Before God?  Naked has no secrets, does it?  Naked is all out there, in the open, nothing left to hide.  What do you hide?  What keeps you from being naked, free?