Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Posts tagged “friendship

A Journey of Growth and Numbers

Math is done! Hurrah!

I kicked it’s ass! I didn’t just get an A, I got a 97.5% for the entire course kind of A. I don’t usually brag a lot about my grades, but the work and dedication I put into getting this grade has made me very proud of doing so well. Wow, what a way to begin going back to school. This has been an amazing summer for many reasons. Odd as it sounds, I’m going to let my last writing assignment for this class sum up my experiences of the last two months.

The only thing not mentioned in that essay is the amazing person Zain has been this summer and how instrumental he has been to my success. This didn’t seem like the sort of thing to put in my class essay, but it must be said. I would never have done this well, possibly not made it as far as the first exam even, were it not for Zain. His support of my efforts and unending belief that I was more capable than I could believe for myself, have helped me to achieve this marvelous feat. Thank you, Zain!

Last, though a little confusing, the only other women in my class this summer oddly enough are both named Jess. Each is pretty damn awesome and I’ve been a very lucky person to have a chance to get to know them inside and outside of the classroom. After our final test, we went out on the town and I had a night that left me feeling incredibly alive once more. I didn’t feel like someone who’d lost the last 13 years to illness, but instead I felt like someone who’d found the ability to live and play once more. We ate tasty Mexican food, drove around town picking up various things we needed from each of our homes, and ended the night with them playing guitars and me on a drum out in a park as the sun and moon both set while the stars came into being. We saw dozens of shooting stars and shared so much of our lives, it was a brilliant time.

On with the show! Hopefully I’ll have pictures I can put up here soon now that I’ve the time to work out some bugs that came up recently with my photo hosting.

Pre-Calculus: A journey of growth and numbers. (last essay for my class)

I’ve been looking forwards to this question and am happy it has been asked. What is the most significant thing that I learned in this course? I have been finding out who “Cat” is at this stage of my life and developing in marvelous ways.

When I began this class, I was a 37 year old returning student fresh out of a life of very long term disability. I’d disappeared over the last 13 years as my life was dramatically changed and terribly hard to gain back. I knew I was a strong woman or I’d not have been sitting in that classroom jumping into pre-calculus after having just finished a self taught course in intermediate algebra two weeks earlier, but it was a strength born of need. I had to be ready for calculus this fall semester at CSU in order to enter the mechanical engineering program next spring and I trusted in myself enough to reach well beyond my boundaries with this class and give it a try.

It was a whirlwind the first few weeks; frightening and many times I doubted myself and my abilities. Thankfully, though I may have lost many things during my long hiatus from life, I also gained many skills in return – such as the ability to persevere even when I feel completely overwhelmed at the task before me. The first unit test was a terribly nervous affair in which I was now faced with proving the knowledge I wasn’t really sure I was actually learning. It was also a completely new experience as the last time I was taking class tests I was a healthy woman in my early 20’s taking my tests with the rest of the class and being fueled by classroom competition. Instead I now had to learn how to overcome a great deal of anxiety and other symptoms caused by my disability and which threatened to leave my mind completely blank or make horrendously simple errors.

I honestly did not expect to achieve an A on my first test. I left feeling that I really hoped to see a B, but not even sure I had managed that much. However an A was a great surprise, almost like an echo from my past who always easily found such grades in math because it all came very naturally. This time I’ve had to work hard at my grades, but they feel much more like I’ve earned them rather than showing up and being handed a good grade.

I’ve grown considerably more confident in my abilities and my testing shows this. I am absolutely amazed at having once again earned a yet higher grade than my last test – I had thought I’d peaked with my 98% on unit 3. To sit here now and think of how I doubted my abilities at the beginning of the class, even considered the possibility of not passing the class – I just shake my head with a bemused smile on my face at the amazing ability of the mind to heal.

I feel ready for CSU this fall. I am now excited by the prospects before me and feel tremendously more confident that I will be able to walk this new path of an engineering student. Thank you.

I also must thank the two Jess’s and the time I’ve spent with them. I certainly would not have met them in other settings and they have also played a part in my personal growth this summer. Combined, they are less than a year older than I am – yet they’ve helped me to shake off some of the more stoic traits I had to learn while dealing with the depths of my disability and find again the young woman I once was.

In the younger (blue haired) Jess, I found a vibrant spirit filled with much of the innocence of her age and a wonder at just starting to explore the adult world around her. Her zest and ways of looking at things are marvelous. In the somewhat older Jess, I’ve been completely surprised at finding a kindred spirit and the friend I’ve needed for many years. Our friendship has been transforming my life back into a place of beauty instead of the stark realities I’d been living in for so many years of hardship.

In every way possible, I have grown into more of the person I truly am instead of who I had been forced to become by circumstance. This class has been a wonderful experience for me. I am incredibly grateful for the spark of fate that came to me while napping just four days prior to the first day of instruction and left with me the thought that I must look up pre-calculus at FRCC and ignore the cost of non-resident tuition because some things are more important than money.


Today I Saved a Life

Summer school has been crazy paced. I am keeping on top of things, mostly, and feel fairly good about our first test tomorrow. Quizzes have gone well and homework is challenging at times, but with the help of the math center’s tutors, everything is being completed.

Scuba is going well too. It was a major challenge to overcome the smell of the chlorine at the pool – to feel safe in a place that a person with MCS would be afraid to go. However, last Wednesday night I put on all the scuba gear and happily swam underwater in the pool for a couple of hours.

Thursday morning saw me getting hugely sick, I’m ok now, but I actually had to go to the emergency room for IV fluids and antinausea medication. After several doses of meds, I was good to go home where I then slept the next 22 hours away. Needless to say, I missed math class that day.

What a weird week.

Yesterday saw me in a study group with a girl from class, Jess, who’s a surprising 17 years old. I couldn’t help but be curious about the coincidence in life to bring us together. She began college at 16 – as did I. When I was 17, I met up with a study buddy who became a friend who was older than me and married – as I am now. Its like I am looking back at time and now participating on the other side of an experience I had twenty years ago! Heck, when I was having this experience, Jess wasn’t even alive yet. Wild!

Then today was I driving to an appointment that’s a little outside of town. It’s a little more wild there, fields on one side of the two lane road, houses on the other. I do this drive twice a week and its very common to see small roadkill because of the traffic and proximity to the fields. As I was driving behind someone and seeing traffic coming my way, I spotted what looked like a very recently killed bunny in the road. It was only a few inches to the side of the center line. When I drew nearly abreast of it, I was looking at it some more because it seemed a little too upright for roadkill.

Wait! That rabbit is alive!

I didn’t have to give it much thought. Immediately I pulled over to the side of the road and went back, hoping it wasn’t going to jump into a passing car’s way because of my presence. Thankfully, the poor rabbit was completely petrified with fear and I was able to easily pick it up and hold it to my chest.

After a little searching nearby, I found a very nice spot to leave the rabbit about 50 feet or so from the road. He’s right next to some tall grass, under a shady tree, with a small pond about ten feet away. Lovely little spot. I set him down and he fell over, stiff with fear. One thing my time in those woods taught me though, is that the rabbit will be ok. The best thing I could do at that point was to leave and trust that in five or ten minutes he’d snap out of it and hop away.

As I neared the road again to cross back to my car, a large dump truck came barreling down the street. A truck that size wouldn’t have swerved or stopped for a bunny in the road. Without a doubt, I save that little guy’s life by just a few minutes.

Life is weird and then it gets weirder. This week looks to be keeping that trend. Still… at least I have this bright new memory of holding the little body in my arms and keeping him safe until I could find a good spot for him to stay while recovering.


Letter to a Friend

I wrote a letter to a good friend last night and oddly, turns out we both had the same ideal – that the things I said in the letter need to be heard by more than just one person. This is a very candid view of my life right now. Edited only for name, “Late night chat”

Hola! 🙂

Its about 1 am here and just killing a few minutes before Jeremy is ready for bed. We forgot our b12 shots till sometime after 10 tonight so not in a big rush for bed. Seemed like the lesser of the two problems – skip them a day or be up late.

Don’t have enough time I don’t think to reply to your email today fully so will hit it in the next few days. The simple reply – sure sounds like a lot of really fun stuff you’ve got going on! 🙂 Good luck with the relatives visiting if I forget to wish it later.

Well, Jeremy and I had a long chat tonight. Happened after I went for a bit of a walk by myself tonight. Jeremy’s ankle was kinda sore from some exercising we tried last night so he stayed home. Was good to get out by myself for a bit anyways. Granted I chatted with myself and nature the whole way I walked, but was a good chat.

Ended up giving me lots to think about and talk to Jeremy about. We ended up talking for probably 2+ hours but I think it ended in a really positive place. Not a fully happy place, but positive.

The not happy part is because of where our health is right now. Quite frankly I’m rather worried about us. We seem to have suddenly had a rather large downturn these last several weeks and we always are so dang close to that point of life being more than we can keep up with, that any downhill motion is very worrisome.

But we figured a few more things out and hopefully will have some stuff improve in the next few months from it.

Its hard coming right out and saying stuff like this, you know? Hard to admit just how low we end up sometimes. We really need more help but I don’t think there is any where to get it from. Most of the type of help we need is beyond what Jeremy’s dad can do and we are simply too broke to afford to pay someone for work.

We need to be indoors. Life is so very much hard outside like this. :/ It tears me up to see Ron’s place every day just off through the woods about 200ft and know he has a spare bedroom we could use with very little notice. But figure there’s no point to it because we get ill just being downwind of his open door/windows on sunny days so I really doubt we could live there.

You know what occurred to me yesterday? Summer 2004 was likely the last time I might possibly have been inside a house, but only for a visit. Might even have been 2003. I know 2003 was the last time we cooked inside a real kitchen and that was while sleeping in a friend’s yard and using their house one night when they were out of town, though we just cooked and watched some tv before going back outside. Was a nice and low toxic place, unfortunately they sold it and moved about a year later.

Fall 2002 was the last time I lived or slept indoors. December 13, 2002 was the date we left all that and have been in a tent since. That’s a long friggin’ time.

But aside from the length of time, its our health. We need to be indoors. I don’t know if I’m going to find a way to make that happen and the worse our health gets, the less options we have.

I’m not sure what happened, we had been doing well with the diet change for a while. But we’ve been getting weaker and more easily injured the last maybe two months. Its a real problem, we don’t have much to loose. I’m actually thinking about paying Robb Wolf for some consultation time in another month or two if we can’t swing things around ourselves. Just don’t know what to do and I think part of it might be diet. Its like – all of a sudden we just stopped getting the nutrition we need from what we eat. Will see our normal doc first and see what he suggests, but talking to Robb in a nutritionist type capacity might not be a bad thing. Might be well worth the money and at least this way we would know its a person who has some knowledge of diets like this.

Honestly, it really feels like somethings gotta change in the next few months. We’ll do pretty much anything to find that change because things stopped working right for us and in a big/bad way. I am very hopeful still that Jeremy being off his candida med will be that change, but it may have pushed our already taxed bodies too far. I’m a bit scared to be honest. Hard to admit, but I am.

We’ll find a way, we have to. I just would feel a lot better if I had an inkling of what that might be.

I know you’ve said that you pray for us sometimes. I really don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone to pray for me before, but think you could toss in an extra good word or two for us?

heh, here I had intended on making sure to write something that wouldn’t worry you and I’ve a strong suspicion that I failed on that point. I am sorry for the worry, I just really needed to tell someone these things. Well, someone besides Jeremy. 🙂 I just hadn’t wanted to add to your load and I do most certainly apologize for it. 🙂

So yeah, had a good long talk with Jeremy tonight about all this and more. Started some fresh action that should help towards putting things right for us with just a bit of luck.

Alrighty, Jeremy’s done and its very late here. I got longer winded here than planned and now he’s been waiting for me. lol I’m going to head off to bed and hopefully a good night’s sleep. 🙂 Big hugs, Lisa


A More Simplistic Life

Two years ago, a little Winter Wren started frequenting our camp. We often see them in the bushes in the woods, flitting from one spot to the next without ever a having a care for the giant who stands watching them. They are so small, other than hummingbirds they are one of the smallest birds we have locally. Yet they are also the bravest. As though they trust themselves and their own abilities to escape danger much more than the larger, often times more clumsy, sparrows and juncos.

The wee one who became our regular visitor during winter a couple years ago was a small bit of joy every day. It did not matter what we were doing, when he came around we would pause life for a moment while we watched his beauty.

He moved on during that next summer as bugs became more plentiful and easy to find. We briefly saw him again in the fall but then he disappeared one day. We would allow the spiders to make homes in the corners knowing the wren would find them a tasty snack. But eventually, we had to start clearing them out ourselves and accept that our friend was not coming back. This made us sad because of how easily it could mean he was no longer alive. Old age, a predator, starvation, or the elements could all have taken such a small being.

Winter Wren

Now and then we would see a wren in camp and always wonder if he had found his way back to us, but when the little bird would only briefly stay and look in the obvious places for bugs, we knew it was just another traveler passing through. Time passed and we stopped looking.

A couple days ago another wren came through camp. It did not stay long before flying away. Then we saw it again later that same day. This was new; they don’t usually come back twice, not since our wee friend left. Then there were two of them at the same time, both looking for bugs and double checking where each had just been, that a morsel was not left behind.

You learn personalities of birds when near them enough. Based on this, I can say that the second one has not come back through having only found the remains of the first one’s feasts. But the first wee wren we saw that day has been back many times since.

He visits at least twice each day, hopping around and eying every surface under our tarp for prey. At times we are treated to some amazing acrobatics as he snatches a bite to eat. Jeremy’s monitor is beside an open window in our tent and our bird has found this to be a good resting spot for spying around inside. Never any fear from him, you can see this when he looks right at you from atop the monitor.

As with our first wren, this one also is learning all the spots bugs hide that the other, less curious wrens always miss. I love watching him hop around on the outside of the tent, his antics when he spots something but it turns out to be on the opposite side of some screening and out of his reach. Sometimes his little feet will make small scratching noises on the nylon walls as he scales the side seams of the tent. A quizzical look will appear on his face at times, as he peers around looking for his dinner. You can almost see his thoughts… “If I were a spider, where would I hide?”

I do not think this is the same Winter Wren we had two years ago, but I am very quickly finding myself growing fond of the newcomer to our home. I am looking forward to my wee friend’s visit today and the bit of peace he brings. That ability to take me out from my own world and step into his much more simplistic life for a few minutes.


Sunshine and Happiness

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. It was a very relaxing day. Here are the things that made yesterday one of the best birthdays I have ever had:

Perfectly blue skies and sunshine.

A quiet hour spent at my spirit rock, contemplating the remarkable changes taking place in me in recent months.

Time spent with my sweetheart, not doing much of importance but simply enjoying each other’s company throughout the day.

Organic chocolate truffles arriving by UPS just in time for dessert.

An amazing amount of birthday greetings from equally amazing people all over the world. Thank you to everyone who wrote to me yesterday, it was spectacular in its awesomeness. hehe

A very enjoyable time spent day dreaming with a friend of possible futures in store for us, sandy beaches, coffee shops, and remembering that in daydreams there are no earthly limits to what you can do or where you can go. First round of tequila sunrises are on me when the dreams meet reality.

A good night’s rest at the end of a beautiful day.


From Dust to Life

A star is born in the depths of space from nothing more than clouds of gas and dust drawn together by once inexplicable forces. From such humble beginnings did our own star form billions of years ago. The same star that provides warmth on a cold day, life to everything and everyone, once began as no more than dust floating in the vastness of the cosmos.

It is my belief that truly spectacular friendships are born the same way. From the dust that my life has become, a star now burns where once there was only darkness and shadows. Just as unexplainable as star formation once was, so too are the events that have led to this friendship. I can only shake my head with amusement and awe anytime I find myself musing on the events that led me to this friend.

Both the CFS and MCS have brought about severe social isolation. Very few people knew of my existence and even fewer people cared. I had known of a desperate longing for someone who would be able to understand my crazy world, or at least understood enough and wanted to know more, but I had long since given up almost all hope of finding such a person. Jeremy is extremely caring and companionable, yet I needed someone outside this tent who would hear me when I spoke of everything in life, not only the things that have some normality to them.

Over time, all but one of my friends I had managed to retain or slowly make over the last few years began to drift away one by one. Our worlds are too different most times. They have to navigate work and the normalcy of life, while I live in a tent and struggle with the rigors of being chronically ill. I do not blame them, even I am wholly confused by my life sometimes and find it almost impossible to believe, let alone understand it.

Just as my oldest friend was quietly departing without a word of goodbye, my newest friend was practically throwing me a welcoming party though we had only just met.

Now I sit here after an amazing day filled with laughter such as I have not seen in years and tears that have needed just the right person to shed them at last. And still I shake my head in amazement at the twists of fate life can hold, while also hardly daring to believe this is real.