Uncommonly Good!

Although this is a Sponsored Post the opinions here are all my own.

When I was first approached by Uncommon Goods to do a sponsored post for them my answer was a resounding yes! I have known and shopped with them for years and their catalog was the only one I didn’t toss out. Now Uncommon Goods is trying to minimize their impact to the
environment by shifting more business online, limiting how many catalogs they mail, and printing their catalogs on either recycled paper (virtually all of which is from 30% post-consumer waste) or paper sourced from FSC certified forests (which are harvested in a sustainable manner).

I always knew Uncommon Goods was a unique site but I didn’t know they feature products that contain recycled components and do not sell products containing leather, feathers or fur – they’re committed to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.

If you would like to read more about the company’s mission statement you can do so here.

Now it’s on to their unique goodies!

Uncommon Goods is a site that you literally can do all your holiday shopping on, along with the other special moments of your life. The site has lots of anniversary gifts for women, many $50 and under.

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I love this “You are always loved” spiral necklace, hand-stamped pendant. From an East Indian artist, the silver is upcycled and is a reminder that the woman in your life will always be loved, cherished and appreciated.

You can buy it here.

To take a look at all of the anniversary gifts for her, click here.

For men I like this Stump Ring, personalized with his initials and that special woman in his life.

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The artist works out of Brooklyn. You can purchase it here.

For more ideas for anniversary gifts for men click here.

I also love this up cycled Cotton Sari Robe which is made from rich remnants of reclaimed saris. It features a patchwork of reclaimed saris by a cooperative of artisans in a village outside of Rajasthan, India.

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Buy it here and click here to take a look and see all of the unique gifts for women.

Uncommon Goods also has great gifts for kids, your kitchen and some just for fun for special occasions and holiday shopping. I hope you’ll take a look and find something you won’t see anywhere else!

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I’m Out

This blogger is asking for your help. She is not asking for money, she is only asking that you take a look at her book, and if you find it interesting, to please buy it. Her story really got to me. I’m “out” too until my next disability check but luckily I have a boyfriend and even an ex-husband whom I can turn to. Her story shows me that someone always has it worse than I do.

I’m out. Of money, that is. It’s official. I went to the grocery store today to pick up some essentials and I got the dreaded “Insufficient Funds” screen on the debit machine. Though it’s killing me to do so, I’d like to ask a favor.

If you haven’t already, please buy my book. If you have, or if you have a friend who might like it, please direct them to it. Reblog, share on social media, have a parade down the main street of your town or city, whatever it is you normally do to get attention. If I can get to $100 in royalties, Amazon will pay me next month – they hold smaller amounts.

Blog continues here.

Book Cover For Linda G HIll

Book Cover For Linda G HIll

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More Ways to Help The Spoon Lady!

Christine Miserandino, creator of the Spoon Theory, is at the halfway mark towards her Go Fund Me Goal. Years of steroid use for controlling her Lupus have caused most of her teeth to fall out. Her dental and her medical bills are enormous and she still needs more dental surgery.

Christine’s Go Fund Me Goal is $50,000. If you haven’t donated yet, even five dollars would be helpful. And if you really can’t help, please share this post or her Go Fund Me link on social media.

But there are even more ways to help! How many chronically ill bloggers have been touched by Christine? How many of us consider ourselves “Spoonies” or even have “Spoons” in our blog title? You can help get the word out by putting a badge publicizing her fund, like I have done in my blog! You can get the code here.

And finally, the website Conscious Crafties, which sells items made by chronically ill people, has made a special shop for Christine where all the money sold from the items goes directly into Christine’s Go Fund Me account. You can take a look at Christine’s Shop and the Conscious Crafties website here.

Christine’s fundraising goal may seem like a lot of money but I have no doubt that she can achieve it!

As I said, if it’s difficult for you to donate money, I hope you will consider some of these other options!

Thank you.

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The Best Book I’ve Read This Year (So Far)

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 3. October is National Book Month, tell us about the best book you’ve read so far this year.

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The best book I’ve read so far this year has got to be a book I recently read. Author Megan Miranda is a Young Adult writer and this is her first novel for adults.

Nicolette has the summer off from her job in Philadelphia to help her senile father sell his house in her small town in North Carolina. Going back home brings back memories of her friend Corinne going missing without a trace. Now, ten years later, another young woman has also gone missing and Nic has to find out if her family has anything to do with the disappearances.

The book is told backwards, from Day 15 to Day 1. It is confusing at first but then you realize how actually ingenious this story is and it makes you want to read the book all over again.

In my opinion, this book is better than Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. I’m not sure why it hasn’t hit big yet but I think it is a real gem!

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From the Prep to the Results

If you are a bit squeamish, you may want to skip The Prep part!

My gastroenterologist moved over to the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic and it turned out I was abled to be scheduled for an endoscopy/colonscopy on the 29th of last month.

The Prep

If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy you know how delightful the prep can be. For the uninitiated, here is my story.

You have to drink this giant laxative drink in two hours, every 10 minutes. I was taking the drink and chasing it with some clear Propel so it wasn’t too bad. But as I kept drinking it got harder to keep down. It didn’t work right away, but when it did look out! I rushed to the toilet where I prepared to spend the next few hours seated on the throne with a good book. At one point I was “evacuating” and I had a bucket in front of me to throw up the drink.

It turns out it is not so easy to sit on the toilet for a long time. I found it uncomfortable and painful, plus I was already exhausted. I finally had to take my chances and sit on the nearby couch. Big mistake because when the urge came there was NO holding back. I destroyed a few pairs of underwear and had poop running down my legs.

Finally I thought that the worst was over. I was so tired I went to bed. Suddenly I had to GO. I ran to the bathroom which required a trip across my kitchen floor. I crapped all over the floor and then I slipped in it! I was down on the floor covered in poop.I made it to the bathroom and then cleaned up the floor and myself as best as I could in the middle of the night. Jacques washed the floor on his hands and knees, God bless him.

The Procedure

Jacques and I arrived at the clinic and checked in. I was going to be sedated so I had to give a urine sample to test for pregnancy. I go to give a sample and I CAN’T pee. Me, with my overactive bladder cannot pee a drop. They hooked me back up to my IV bag with the hope that the fluids would make me go. The nurse told me that I was the first procedure scheduled and politely told me to hurry up. PRESSURE!

I tried again and it was still a no-go. I apologized to the nurse. I saw my doctor and he was pacing back and forth. Everyone was waiting for me to pee.

Finally I had enough of the IV fluids to give a sample.

I was a little scared because I had never had an endoscopy before but I don’t even remember going under sedation. I felt nothing. That is why you SHOULD have these tests, because even though the prep is a beast, you feel nothing.

When I was recovering, the doctor told me everything look good except it looked like my stomach was irritated, like a Gastritis type of thing. I asked if this was the cause of my nausea but he kept saying, “Let’s how the biopsies come out”, which made me a bit nervous.

The Results

The doctor called me and told me the biopsies were consistent with Celiac Disease and he wanted me to get a blood test done.

At this point I am praying it’s Celiac’s. Although this would mean a gluten-free life style I would gladly give up wheat, cakes, pasta, etc. for the chance to have my life back.

I just want a diagnosis!

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One of Our Own Needs Our Help

If you have a chronic, invisible illness you more than likely have heard of or even refer to yourself as a “spoonie”. If you haven’t heard the term “spoonie”, it came from Christine Miserandino’s The Spoon Theory as a metaphor for showing healthy people what it’s like to be chronically ill. The basic idea is that everyone starts the day off with a certain amount of spoons, or units of energy, but people who are ill use their spoons faster than those who are healthy. For example, it may take a healthy person one spoon to get ready in the morning but it may take a sick person five spoons.

I first read Christine’s “Spoon Theory” in 2004 and it came at a time when I really needed it most. I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2003, leaving me with chronic pain, swelling and exhausted. I was losing a lot of friends and the respect of many family members, especially when I told them I couldn’t visit them for Christmas because I was just too sick. There responses ranged from “But young people don’t get arthritis” to “You’re too pretty to be as sick as you say you are.” Losing the respect of family and friends had me in a deep depression and I felt very alone. At the time, Christine’s But You Don’t Look Sick website has a forum where I literally came upon thousands of people who were just like me and who were facing the same issues! Christine’s work became a lifeline for me and still does to this day.

But now, the woman who has changed lives for so many chronically ill people needs some help of her own. Although I have known Christine to be very sick in the past, she always seemed able to accomplish anything and be strong for all of us.

To say that Christine is having the toughest year of her life is an understatement. In January of this year, she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl which was also life-threatening to her.

Christine has been undergoing extensive jaw and dental surgery. The 20 plus years of steroids for her Lupus have wreaked havoc on her mouth. In addition, Christine throughout her pregnancy was throwing up five to seven times a day. She also has a disease which leaves her with little saliva in her mouth. The effect of all of these things have left her needing six teeth extracted, four root canals and filings. Now her teeth are literally falling out of her mouth.

Her physical and dental issues have left her with a mountain of medical bills with more to come. Her parents, who have supported her throughout her life, have maxed out their credit cards.

I know Christine to be a very proud and private person and I know she would not be doing this unless she were in extreme need. A friend of Christine has created a Go Fund Me site for her with the title “Help Christine Smile”.

If you have been touched by “But You Don’t Look Sick”, “The Spoon Theory”, have the words “spoon” or “spoonie” in your blog or call yourself a spoonie, I urge you to donate whatever you can to Christine’s campaign. I realize that a lot of spoonies have their own medical bills or live on disability but even as little as $5 can go a long way. Millions of people know of “The Spoon Theory” and “But You Don’t Look Sick” and when you think about it, reaching her goal should be an easy one.

If you are a chronic illness blogger, I ask that you also post for Christine. Post, tweet, retweet, share on Facebook, etc. so everyone can know that for the first time in her life, Christine is asking for OUR help.

If you do not have a chronic illness, I also ask that you thank God you are healthy and donate whatever you can to the woman who has changed so many sick people’s lives.

Thank you.

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For My Son on His 10th Birthday

If you would like to see other birthday messages to my son, you can click here.

Dear Tyler,

I am three days late in writing this and for that I do apologize. It’s been a year since I have been sick with nausea and a low grade fever and the doctors still don’t know what’s wrong with me. You have been absolutely great about it, letting Jacques take you to Tae Kwon Do, to school, swimming, etc. Even though it’s out of my hands I have enormous “Mom Guilt”, although I always make it for the big things in your life, no matter what.

Ten is such a big year! Double digits, a decade old! Where has the time gone? Every year, just like most mothers do, I look back on your birth day and remember what was happening at what time. It still seems like yesterday.

You had your school birthday party with cupcakes and candy and are looking forward to your birthday party with laser tag, pizza and cake. Your dad and I are hoping our money will stretch this month but we really wanted to give you a special party since this is such an important birthday.

You love watching videos on youtube. Your favorites are Five Nights at Freddy’s and Undertale. You love playing with the FINAF collectibles and you still love your Imaginext Batman playset.

This was also the year of “My Little Pony“, even though you are totally embarrassed about it! You and I watch it together and we collected some of the characters. Nobody but dad knows about your pony love and I like having something that only you and I do together. We also play this action figure game “Kracas” that you made up. We’ve been playing it for years and it’s just for you and me. I am amazed at your imagination and creativity!

You hate school. You do well in it but don’t have any friends in class this year. You have problems with people teasing you which makes my heart break. You punched a child last week and part of me was happy about it, even though you got punished in school. You are working on anger management, control and learning how to make friends in therapy.

This year you did develop two new really good friends. David, a boy in your grade, and Daphne, a neighbor in our complex. You pretty much play with Daphne every waking hour and it makes me happy to see that you are having fun with her.

After having some bad times with your OCD you are doing better and your anxiety is decreasing. But you do tell us that you have problems with your self-esteem and even though you look happy, you are sad most of the time. The therapist, your dad and I are trying to determine if you are depressed. I hate to see you hurting, Tyler, I wish I could transfer the pain to me.

Despite all of this, you are so courageous, compassionate and smart. You are the best thing that I have ever done with my life and I pray every night that God can give me the wisdom and health to be a better parent.

I hope your tenth year is a magical one for you, my amazing (not so) little boy!

Love,

Mom

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Last Day of Summer Fun

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt 5. If you had more time, what is one last summer excursion you would plan for your family?

My soon to be ten year old son, Tyler, has had crushes on girls before but this is the first time he has one on a girl in our neighborhood, so they do get to spend a lot of time together.

I know he has a crush because I asked him, “Is Daphne a girlfriend or a friend who is a girl?” to which he responded to me “Shut up!”

On Labor Day I planned to take Tyler to a really pretty beach on Lake Erie, the last summer hurrah. Even if I was sick I was going to force myself to go because he loves the water.

When he got up this Monday I said, “Today’s the day we’re going to Fairport Harbor!” He got this weird look on his face, the look that means he doesn’t want to disappoint me. “Um…I think I’d rather play with Daphne.”

My child is growing older. I am no longer the number one woman in his life but that’s okay. It’s all a part of growing up. His growing up, and me knowing when to let go, but not too much!

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More Doctors, Less Answers

All of my test results are back from my appointment with the Hematologist/Oncologist. My blood tests results that were only slightly out of range previously have returned to the normal range and my CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis were normal.

While I am pleased that I do not appear to have a serious illness, my frustration with being undiagnosed and the toll it has taken on my quality of life grows. My son Tyler has been great about it and Jacques has been wonderful about taking Tyler to tae kwon do, swimming lessons, haircuts, etc. But I want to be the one doing those things for him and I don’t want to have him playing video games when I am too sick to sit up.

Oftentimes it hurts to have my laptop on my stomach so I can’t blog and sometimes I am too nauseous to read. Sometimes I can only lay down and stare around the room, wishing to get some relief from sleep, even though I am not tired. I seem to get a break for a few hours after I have taken a nap and then I am sick again. I am tired of soft boiled eggs and chicken noodle or rice soup.

Last week I saw my Infectious Disease specialist that I saw when I had Lyme Disease. Apparently she was under the impression that this was a follow up visit. No one ever asked me. As soon she came in she said, “Well, we have problem here. You are seeing me for a new problem and I only have twenty minutes to see you!” She sounded…bitchy. Awkward!

She told me that no one with an Infectious Disease runs a fever for a year, so this was basically a waste of an expensive co-pay. She didn’t test me for anything because nothing had changed about me since I was tested last. She said it could be anxiety, that it could raise my temperature, but I looked it up and it said it happened during panic attacks, which I have never had, and the temperature it could raise up to was lower than the fevers that I run.

I felt like she was grasping at straws. She is no psychiatrist!

I was hoping it was some sort of an infectious disease that could be easily treated with antibiotics and was so disappointed.

Then I got more bad news. I was scheduled to have an colonoscopy/endoscopy in October. I called up to see if I was on a waiting list for a sooner appointment if someone cancelled, and found that I was in fact never scheduled! I spent two days getting the runaround from people who said they would call me back and never did. Now I will have to wait even longer than three months to get the tests. In desperation, I messaged my doctor to see if he could get me to a person who can help me.

Of course this depressed me on top of my ordinary depression! It will be a year in September that I have suffered with these symptoms and I just feel like they will never find out what’s wrong with me and this will be my life.

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I looked for pictures of mean doctors but couldn’t find any.

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Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

I’ve been enjoying some great reading this summer. Here are three books I’ve really liked. These reviews are taken from my goodreads account. I hope you will follow me on there!

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Best friends Jessie, Claire and Gabriela all made decisions the year they turned 40 that they regret. Ten years later they are given the opportunity to relive their 40th year and must make a decision whether or not to stay back in time or go back to where they were. What will they choose? This was a fun book which included choices, regret and friendship. It’s a great, quick read that had me guessing to the end as to what the three friends were going to choose. This is a great summer read!

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Written in 1933 and not published until 1992, Mary Mann Hamilton tells her story of helping to develop the South. She tells of surviving floods and tornadoes, managing a boarding house in Arkansas and helping to run a logging camp in Mississippi that helped to develop the Mississippi Delta. All this along with raising her children! I was really surprised how hard Mary worked, right along side the men. This book tells of her triumphs and tragedies during her life from 1866-1936. I really enjoyed the first hand account and the history, and would say it’s not to be missed!

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With a loving husband, one beautiful daughter, two stepsons and a baby girl on the way, Kelle Hampton thought life was perfect. But her life is shattered when her baby is born with Down Syndrome. This book is the story of Nella’s first year and how Kelle comes to terms with it. I was really struck by her honesty and of the support group of family and friends to help Kelle get through that first year. At times it was a bit tough to read, but the growth Kelle experiences is a lesson about life for everyone. The book also includes absolutely gorgeous photos.

Happy reading!

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