Sunday, November 23, 2014

Turns out you can't quit adrenaline cold turkey.

Lizzie Lau skydivingThis news according to my new chiropractor who I saw for the first time a few days ago.  I told him that I was suffering from anxiety and headaches, then we went through my background so I could tell him about my many sports injuries:
  • Whiplash during a hard opening on a skydive.  I've done over 400 jumps.
  • Another whiplash when I was clotheslined off a dirt bike on a trail in Mexico resulting in herniated discs, scars, and a concussion.
Lizzie Lau Cozumel dirt bike accident

  • Repeated spinal trauma from years of racing motocross and riding offroad. A neurosurgeon once suggested, after viewing my MRI images, that I needed to stop falling on my head.
Lizzie Lau Cozumel Motocross Track

    Lizzie Lau Florida to Alaska on a BMW
  • Trauma to my back when we hit a bump on the way to Alaska on the back of the BMW and I didn't have my weight on the foot pegs because I was leaning out to take a photo.
  • Plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis in both feet from years of running.

So after telling him about all the ways I have abused this body over the years the doctor asked, "Would it be safe to say that you're an adrenaline junkie?"  I laughed and told him that reformed adrenaline junkie is part of my bio on all my social media.  He told me that my body was used to producing all this adrenaline and that my activities released it, so now that I wasn't releasing it the adrenaline was building up and causing anxiety and what I described as a fight or flight feeling in my collarbone area.  He told me that I need to get active again, and let him fix the trouble spots in my spine.  

The Gonstead Technique

I've been seeing chiropractors since I was in my late teens because I've always had back and hip pain.  It wasn't until I had my skydiving injury at age 27 that I found out I have scoliosis.  I was really shocked when the doctor showed me the x-ray and I saw the curvature.  It made me queasy.  In over 25 years of treatment by different doctors, this is the first time I've encountered a Gonstead practice.  My Mom's chiropractor up in Canada recommended the clinic I'm at now, and I'm really impressed with their thoroughness.  The initial consultation included x-rays, a scan that measures heat, and another scan that measures muscle strength.  They were able to show me on the film and the computer screen exactly where the problems are.  The doctor also felt along my spine to find swelling, abnormal muscle tone, alignment and mobility issues.

I'm going back on Monday for another adjustment and I have high hopes that the adjustments, combined with the Medical Chi Gong treatment I had recently, will help me to feel better.  I literally knock on wood every time I say this out loud, but I've already noticed improvements.  My posture feels better, my neck and shoulders are more relaxed, and headaches are less frequent.  The Medical Chi Gong treatment left me feeling energized and optimistic.  

Next I need to get back into an exercise routine to release all the pent up energy and add some running endorphins back into my life.  I'd also love to have massage therapy more often; acupuncture would be great; reflexology couldn't hurt.  If I'm being brutally honest, my wellness wish list would also include sex.  The last time I had any was with X3 at the end of our relationship, so yeah, it's been a while.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why I Don't Have A Pet Right Now

I had the best cat, I can't imagine ever having another that comes close.  I adored her, and one of my few regrets in life are leaving her in Guatemala in 2010 when I came to California to have my baby.  She disappeared shortly after I left, and I'll never know what happened to her.  To this day I feel so guilty that I don't think I deserve another pet.

Boogers Are Yucky - kitty 1X2 and I adopted Boca Negra Brown aka "Kitty" on the dock in Cozumel.  We were based there for five years, and just before we moved she showed up and joined us as crew on the M/Y Aries.  She moved with us to Isla Mujeres, and then a year later to Roatan, Honduras.  She was not a good seagoing cat, she got terribly sick and was miserable every time the yacht left the dock, lucky for her it didn't happen that often.  She was a perfect yacht princess though, spoiled rotten, imperious, and demanding.

She was a dumpster diver when we found her, but in no time she got used to the finer things in life, fresh fish, lobster, shrimp, and filet mignon.  If I yelled "fish" she would come running.

Boogers Are Yucky - kitty 2

She slept with us at night, and spent afternoons up on the boat deck lounging in the shade of one of the dinghies.  In Isla Mujeres she once spent 40 minutes staring down Tiger Woods as he pedalled a stationary bike on the back deck of his yacht, "Privacy" when it was tied up at the dock behind us.  She deigned to climb aboard and help herself to a full tour of his yacht as well, until one of the crew members escorted her back to the dock.

Boogers Are Yucky - kitty 5
Bottom left image is a mirror selfie taken in the reflection of one of the yacht's horns.
When X2 and I split up, he wanted the kitty to stay with him and I didn't argue.  I felt bad enough that I was ending our 10 year marriage, I wasn't going to take the princess too.  Later though, he called and asked if I could pick her up in Roatan because he was leaving the yacht and the island and couldn't take her.  I was living in Antigua, Guatemala at the time, so X3 and I drove nearly 10 hours to La Ceiba, Honduras and took the ferry over to Roatan to fetch her.  I knew she'd hate the ferry ride, so I flew back to La Ceiba with her, and then we drove home to Antigua with her moaning in the back seat the whole way.

In 2009, we moved from Antigua to Guatemala City, and opened a motorcycle accessory store.  Kitty enjoyed Guatemala, and the freedom of living in the land of eternal spring.  Houses there are built inside high walls and razor wire, but they are often open at the top and as soon as she figured out that she could, she started hopping rooftop to rooftop exploring.  She had to be rescued several times when she got into a neighbor's yard and couldn't get out.

Boogers Are Yucky - kitty 3
She had one terrible habit that used to drive X3 crazy.  She loved to sleep at the foot of the bed, but if she got jostled she would jump off and head downstairs to find something to bring up.  I have no idea what this behavior means, but she would bring a glove, a toy, or a piece of paper and then start yowling at us.  If we didn't acknowledge her immediately, she'd start jumping around, flipping whatever it was in the air before setting it down beside the bed and yowling some more.  If it was a piece of paper, she would put a paw on it, grab it with her teeth and begin tearing it to shreds.  X3 suffered from insomnia, so this noise in the middle of the night was never welcome.

Boogers Are Yucky - kitty 4

That wasn't really the only thing that bugged X3.  Not long after we moved into the city, Kitty joined a gang.  They partied on rooftops, and every so often she brought them home to our roof and the racket they made was really out of order.  She got into trouble too.  One night she came home with a deep slash in her back that looked like she had gotten into some razor wire.  She needed a bunch of stitches.  The truth is that even though she had a good safe life on the yacht, she was a slug.  She really came alive when she had the freedom to roam.  At least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.

When I flew to California to give birth I planned to return to Guatemala with the baby immediately, but I never went back.  X3 took care of Kitty until she left one night and never came home.

I miss my sweet Kitty girl.  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghost Stories - My Experiences With The Paranormal

I want to share some of my ghost stories, and what better day to write about hauntings than Halloween!

One of the first paranormal events I remember was in a bed and breakfast somewhere in the UK.  I was 13 and traveling with my parents and my little sister.  We were visiting family in Wales and England, drove up to Edinburgh and later took the ferry across to Europe.  I don't have my travel journal with me so I don't know what town we were in when this happened, but I still remember the vision like it was yesterday.  We were all sleeping in the same unremarkable room.  It was kind of small, kind of chilly, pretty normal for England.  I woke up in the middle of the night and it had transformed.  I sat up in bed and the normal single door was gone.  In its place were two huge wooden doors, and in front of each door was an enormous dog, like an Irish Wolfhound or English Mastiff.  I could see the dogs by the light of the fire burning in the hearth that no longer existed.  The feeling I had was warmth, comfort, and security.  I knew that the dogs were there to protect us, and I went back to sleep.

When I was 15, I went to Japan as an exchange student with a group of kids and teachers from several schools in the lower mainland of British Columbia.  We all spent 2 weeks with our host families and 1 week touring all the hot spots, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara, etc.  Again, I don't have my journal to get all the details from the trip, but I know that we had just checked into a hotel in Kyoto and I was in a room with several girls.  The rest of the girls had gone down to dinner, but Tina and I were still in the middle of a conversation.  The two of us were sitting on a bench in the room talking when all of a sudden I had a chill, the kind where all my hair follicles tingle, we stopped talking, and wide-eyed turned to the corner of the room where there was a large piece of pottery, like something you would see in a garden.  There was also a man hanging by the neck.  We screamed and ran from the room.  Tina reported seeing the exact same thing.  The hotel staff was very apologetic and allowed us to switch rooms.  We spent the rest of the evening walking around the Gion Festival halfway expecting to see more ghosts.  One of the teachers accused me and Tina of causing mass hysteria.

The house in Crescent Park that we lived in while I was a teenager, until I moved out at 17, wasn't particularly old, so I don't think anyone died in it, but some strange things happened.  I remember walking by an upstairs bathroom and hearing someone in there running a bath.  When I got downstairs, the whole family was in the kitchen so I asked which of them had left water running up there.  No one had and when we went up to check, the door was open, the light was off and there was no water running.  Another time I was talking to my Mom and my Aunt in the kitchen, and I was leaning both elbows on the cutting board that covered the Jenn-Air grill that we rarely used.  It didn't get hot, but suddenly flames came shooting out from under it.  Neither of those incidents compare to the night of the poltergeist.

The Night of the Poltergeist

I was married at the time, but spending the weekend with my teenaged sister while my parents were out of town.  We were asleep in my parents bedroom in the east wing of the house when something woke me.  I was used to the normal noises of the house, and the occasional skittering sound of squirrels or raccoons, but this was different.  I was convinced that the house was being burglarized.  I could hear furniture being dragged around downstairs, doors opening and closing.  It was loud.  The only thing I didn't hear were voices.  A million thoughts raced through my head.  Someone knew my parents were away and had sent a team to steal their art collection.  They would eventually come upstairs and discover that the house was not empty.  How would I protect my sister?  I was contemplating dragging her under the bed to hide when her eyes snapped open.  She sat up and said, "Call 911".  I called and the dispatcher kept me on the line as the police arrived and walked around the house.  There were no signs of intruders.  I was asked to hand the phone to my sister and go downstairs to open the door for the police.  I crept down the stairs expecting to see mayhem, but not a thing was out of place.  The police officers stayed for a while, but clearly thought we were nuts.  We didn't sleep the rest of the night.

Jennifer Evans
Some of the people who've heard the story think that my sister may have been responsible for the episode.  There have been many accounts of teenagers unconsciously causing inanimate objects to move using telekinesis.

You tell me, does my sister look normal?  --->

Single Dad Laughing's list of Creepiest Things Ever Said By Kids is a must read, and a friend recently suggested I write in about some of the creepy things Ebi says.

She was having a nightmare recently, was crying a little and I was trying to cuddle her when she said, in a very clear voice, "It's here.  It's right beside me."  Trust me when I tell you I looked to see if there was something beside her.  On the off chance that there was something I couldn't see, I told it, that it was not welcome.

About a month ago she was having a meltdown and I was offering her a hug when I said her name and she shook her head and said, "Your daughter isn't here anymore, she is gone - FOREVER."  Yikes, right?  Fortunately after a hug and a snuggle, my daughter was back.  I'm almost 100% certain of that.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review - Simple SMART & Happy by Kathy Gottberg

For some time, I've been wanting to attend a blog conference, but it's not likely to happen in the near future.  Instead, I recently organized a little get together with some local bloggers so we could exchange ideas, chat about what's working for us, and what our goals are.  One member of the group, Kathy Gottberg of Smart Living 365 presented each of us with a paperback copy of her book.  Simple SMART & Happy.  It was super motivational to see a book that evolved from a blog, because it's a dream of mine to do a cooking blog that eventually turns into a cookbook.

I'm not being compensated for this review.  Reading the book just made me so happy that I wanted to share.  I may however receive about a nickel if you buy the book through my link.

The book is a collection of posts from Kathy's blog that flow together perfectly to describe a simple approach to life that will not only reduce stress, but will allow you to focus on what brings you joy.  The word SMART in the book and blog title is an acronym of the words Sustainable, Meaningful, Awareness, Responsible, and Thankful.  Yes, it sounds like something that should be on a meme, and it instantly resonates with me the way inspirational quotes do.

I don't want you to get the wrong idea about Kathy.  She's not writing her blog on a shared computer at the public library.  She pulled a MacBook Air out of her bag at our blog chat, and I know she's not cooking rice and beans over a fire in her backyard, or getting around strictly on a bicycle.  She's not saying give up everything and live an austere minimalist life.  What I get from the book is that we need to be a lot more in touch with what we want, what is valuable to each of us, what will really make us happier and more content.  Hint: it's not stuff.

We've been programmed to believe that we should feel honored when banks want to lend us huge amounts of money for enormous homes and vehicles.  We think it's normal to go to the furniture store and take home a dining room set that we don't have to pay a dime for in the next six months.  I can attest to the fact that even though I'm currently only making enough money to cover food and utilities, I get preapproved credit card applications in the mail every month.  We are brainwashed into thinking we'll be happier with more, more, more.  Unfortunately, this way of thinking isn't good for us, and it isn't good for our planet.

Meme Source
I can totally relate to the concept of simple living as described in this book because choices I made forced me to embrace a simple life, and to my astonishment I'm happier now than I was when I was living on a yacht, and making great money.  A private jet would arrive on the island with all my internet purchases about every six weeks, and I remember the anticipation of their arrival, the elation as I unpacked the bags, and then the fizzle when none of the new stuff made me feel any joy.  When I think back on those times, the things that meant the most to me weren't things at all.

When I stopped being a consumerator and began to feel content without that constant need to accumulate stuff I started to see life in a whole new way.  I'm trying to raise my daughter this way, to value experiences over possessions.  Living a simple life with a child could be very challenging, but so far we've been the lucky recipients of an amazing array of hand-me-downs.  The stroller we still use is over 10 years old, bought new for my sister's first child.  The only new thing my daughter had as a baby was her infant car seat.  90% of her clothing to date has been hand-me-downs or thrift shop finds.  We continue the cycle by giving things she outgrows to friends with younger kids.  We only have Netflix and DVDs, so she isn't exposed to tv commercials.  Because of this she isn't constantly adding to a list of toys she wants.  She doesn't know about them unless she sees them at a friend's house.  She is pining for a real microphone to sing into because her cousin Cynthia has a super fun karaoke machine.  We'll see.  I have a feeling a microphone might be a lot of fun for both of us.

The bottom line is that I love the message of the book, and I enjoyed the writing.  I highly recommend it.