High School Reunion

I joined Facebook several years ago because it was the only way my friend would let me see her wedding photos.  She was mean!

That meanness reconnected me with so many people from my past and brought me closer to my family back home.   My high school friends immediately began asking, “When are you coming to visit?  Are you coming for your class reunion?”  A lot of my friends were not in my class.   Woody became militant and asked me every week.  Sis begged me to visit.  These were all friends I had not seen or talked to either since high school or while I was still in college.

Chaz and I went to Los Angeles 3 years ago to spend Thanksgiving with Dawn and her family.  We also put together a mini-reunion with as many of our friends who could make it to her house.  It was an amazing day seeing so many people after so long.

Breakfast at Lotus Cafe. Tofu scramble with turkey bacon.

This trip we went down to Encinitas to see everyone.  One of my neighborhood friends, I’ll call her Rad, hilariously volunteered another friend’s house in our Facebook messages.  He graciously agreed to host and his wife did not quash it.  He has a lovely wife, another of my friends from high school and funnily enough, they didn’t remember each other from high school.  Life is funny that way sometimes.

Carrot, beet, and celery juice to start the day.

We woke early the day of the reunion and had breakfast.   There were a few places off of El Camino Real that are super food allergy friendly I wanted to try, but none of them were open yet.   We wound up in downtown Encinitas in the old Lumberyard at Lotus Cafe & Juice Bar.  A lot of healthy dishes and they lean towards vegetarian or vegan dishes.  You see my tofu scramble with turkey bacon.  I don’t normally eat turkey bacon.  Okay, I never eat turkey bacon.   Ain’t nothing like the real thing.  Ya feel me?  However, they didn’t have real bacon.  Only turkey bacon or soy bacon.  The food was a little bland, but I did enjoy the tofu scramble.  It was the first time I had tofu scramble of any kind and my newly egg-free palate was momentarily happy.  I also had a side of avocado.  It was a full half sliced avocado.  They also do fresh pressed juices and I partook of a carrot, beet, and celery juice that was a wonderful pick-me-up that morning.

We took some time after breakfast to drive around town.  I had not been there in nearly 20 years and I had never taken Chaz there.  We drove up and down El Camino Real so I could see all the changes in the businesses and show him where my parent’s computer store used to be.  The shopping center still looks the same with the old brown painted wood and Spanish tile roofs with the door frames all painted a different primary color.

A sign that still says San Dieguito High School

I managed to remember the back way to my schools even if I did miss the turn to show him Oak Crest Junior High.  Ocean Knoll Elementary and San Dieguito Academy (San Dieguito High School when I went there) are across corners from each other so we drove by those two.  There was a soccer game or something going on at Ocean Knoll and SDA was a ghost town.

It would have been nice to get out and walk around, but we didn’t have time.  We didn’t even have time for Moonlight Beach!  *le sigh*

We did have a great time with friends though.  That was completely worth not having time at the beach.  We sat around talking, laughing, and watching the kids play with each other.  Some of the friends we saw the last time we all got together.  Some of them, it was the first time getting together with all of us.

We caught up with each other and reminisced with stories of “back in the day.”  We all went to high school together.  Some of them I knew before high school.  Many of us were in band together.  Oh yes.  My fellow band geeks unite!

I could not have planned this shot if I tried!

Just chatting

and snacking and imbibing

and smile. 😀

I loved being with my friends.

Because we’re ALL crazy!

With the latecomers. That’s my “Sis” in the middle. I love her so!

Rad did all the food for the meal.  Everyone brought little snacky foods.  Somehow, I forgot all about the berries and fresh coconut we brought while everyone else was munching on cheese and crackers.  Oh, well.  I was really satisfied with everything Rad made.  All without worry.  Rad follows a Paleo diet for her health and even before we talked about little details, I knew I was in good hands.  I think we all had a collective foodgasm.  I even had seconds.  Something I very rarely do.  We decided she needs to open up a Paleo food truck.  That would bring me back to Encinitas more for sure!   Give her something to fix and she will do it on a grill.  It doesn’t matter what it is.

All Paleo. All safe for me. All AMAZING!

It was a wonderful day and I was sad to go.  Dawn said it well on Facebook that night, (how I remember it)  it is great knowing that some friends are just as caring and genuine now as they were back then.  I left with the best memory.  We were all sitting around talking and someone said, “Mawwage.”  Then we all chimed in, “Mawwage is what bwings us togeva todayyyy.”

Fighting to Persevere

I’ve mentioned how poorly I was feeling before.  Here and on social media.

I downplayed it.  If you know me, you know I tend to downplay things.

I was at the point where I was counting spoons to see what I could and couldn’t do through my day.

I called off work one day a few weeks ago because I woke up in the middle of the night in pain and wasn’t able to get back to sleep.  Nor was I able to stay standing while fixing my breakfast.  I didn’t have the spoons for the day.  I took the max dose of ibuprofen (800mg) after calling in and went back to bed.  I spent the better part of that day and the next doing nothing but laying on the sofa with my feet elevated.

Just the day before one of my managers was telling me I needed “to get healthy” because there was a big load of work coming up.  The irony is I’m probably the most health minded person there even if I’m not healthy right now.  I had these reactions running through my head when he told me I needed to get healthy.

Are you fucking kidding me?  Do you realize who you’re talking to?

I’m never going to be healthy here. 

You selfish bastard. 

I just want off my feet! 

Stop talking already! 

Let’s go back to “I’m never going to be healthy here.”  When I realized how true that statement was, I knew something had to change.  Either I get to the root of this problem and figure it all out or I quit my job.

I kept all this in mind for my doctor’s appointment.

Pain, inflammation, heart palpitations, problems sleeping, mood swings, fatigue, being so tired I was falling asleep on the sofa if I wasn’t vertical, feeling like I re-sprained my wrist.  I thought that my thyroid was going haywire.  I was at the point that I felt like I was hitting the same rock bottom that I hit before.   I was crying because I felt so horrible, yet I kept pushing myself to do more than I should have and still not give in.

My life was like this again…

The Saturday before my appointment, I was awake mega early again due to pain.  This time along my pelvic bone on the left side.  This was new.  I couldn’t go back to sleep and I eventually got up and started my morning routine.  When I got to work the same manager that told me I needed to get healthy was asking me how I was doing.  I told him, “Not well.”  Then I explained being woken up by pain when he asked.  “Are you going to the doctor today?” he asked.

At this point it was creeping towards noon.  My doctor is not in on Saturdays.  I probably could have driven myself to an ER instead of work that morning, but I was trying to hold out.  I was incredibly irritable from lack of sleep, pain, and generally just tired of being sick all the time.  It took all I had to not just reach out and give him a wake up smack.  He is a really nice guy when he’s not so focused on the bottom line, but I knew he was thinking in the back of his mind, Oh no, we can’t get even more shorthanded so close to the holidays.

I started thinking again, I’m never going to be healthy here.

You might be wondering, then why not quit?  That’s the easy thing to do.  I’m a person who feels bound by loyalty.  I am not bound to the corporation.  I am loyal to my co-workers and my team leader.  If it weren’t for the ones that make it worth being there and laughing with, I would have left long ago in search of something else.

I went to my doctor last week Tuesday, starting with my chiropractor and moving on to my integrative doctor.  I didn’t rush through my progress note to my doctors to let them know what is going on.  In previous months, by the time I saw them, I wasn’t feeling nearly as bad as I had this last month or even as bad as I did when I went in after being off work for nearly 48 hours.

For the first time my neck adjusted better than it had in months.  I have a stiffness that settled in months ago and would not adjust for anything.  Normally, my chiropractor jokes about me starting without him as things start popping back into place while he’s getting me into position for the adjustment.

My doctor sat with me and reviewed everything I wrote down.  We went over the Stress Chart they have in every room and discussed where I was on the chart and the cause of my stress.  Work.

My wake-up call

I never thought I’d hear the words, adrenal fatigue, coming from a doctor of mine and directed at me.  But, it explained everything.  It explained why my plantar fasciitis was getting worse no matter what I did to help it along.  Icing my feet after work, stretching them out, rolling them over golf balls.  My feet were just getting worse and worse.   I thought the inflammation was what was driving everything.

If you aren’t familiar with adrenal fatigue or even what your adrenal glands are or what they do, let me do a quick summary.  Your adrenal glands are responsible for releasing epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol when you are under stress.  Epinephrine is also known as adrenaline.  In my case, my adrenal glands were working overtime to pump out cortisol while at work because of the stress I was under.  This resulted in my cortisol levels being all over the place rather than high in the morning and steadily dropping throughout the day, which explains the sleep problems.  When there is too much cortisol running through your body, your body turns on the inflammation response and poof…inflammation!

I never plan anything after my appointments with my chiropractor and integrative doctor.  I don’t want to completely undo everything they just did and I want my body to be able to accept the adjustment and acupuncture and get maximum benefit.   I spent the rest of Tuesday on the sofa.  As my body adjusted, I felt more and more exhausted.  I just wanted to sleep for months.  Or at least sleep until I was better.   I think getting an answer gave me finality and my body just wanted to shut down and say, it’s okay now, let me do the work to make it better.

I felt the same the next day, but slightly less irritable.  Baby steps.

I talked to the manager responsible for my scheduling, who happens to be the one who told me I need to get healthy.   I explained my diagnosis and that I needed my hours cut as I recover.   He agreed to meet my needs, which I fully expected.

By Friday, I was feeling light at work.  Less stressed.  I kept my focus on my tasks and if I happened to get called away to answer a call on the other side of the store, or get carts outside, or help at the registers, I went without all the negative thinking in my head that fed the stress.

Baby steps.

Here I am, Monday.  I’m still sleeping like crap.  I was awake well before I needed to be this morning.  I laid in bed for a while before finally getting to it.  Grocery shopping.  Housework. Yes.  I finally cleaned today.  I still have clutter going on, but I cleaned my bathroom, swept, mopped, vacuumed, and dusted.  Still baby steps, but it was something I couldn’t do a week ago today.

I’m moving forward and moving slowly.  I’m running on my time and to the beat of my recovering drum.  I’m reminding myself not to push myself too much or too far.

I persevere.

Going South

We took a weekend to go a little further South while we were on vacation.  We were getting together with some of my high school/neighborhood friends and Dawn‘s mom, along with a few other things that just happened after we arrived.

It was an adventure.

When we were driving from the Burbank airport to Dawn’s house, I noticed some banners for a Faberge exhibit at The Bowers Museum.  I got excited.

I fell in love with Faberge when my uncles took me and my brother to see Octopussywhen I was 9.  I was completely enthralled with the complexity of the design of the egg used in the opening.

Outside The Bowers Museum

The first time I saw one up close and personal was one of the yearly trips to Beverly Hills with Auntie Boogie and Granny.  We were all surprised when we walked into one of the stores we always went to and saw roped off table settings with guards.  Auntie Boogie is a Faberge fan, too.  We spent a lot more time leaning over as far as we could to get a good long look.  This was before digital photography and zoom.

This would be a chance to see a lot more with my nose on a case.  Okay, I didn’t really put my nose on the cases, but I got really close and took a lot of pictures.  I wish I could share the pics, but there was something about nothing sharing them certain ways.  To err on the side of caution, no one gets to see them but me when I open up the folder in my files.  It was absolutely breathtaking though.

We walked around several of the other exhibits to really make it worth our while, then we went in search of food.

What we found was a bakery in Fountain Valley that was almost completely allergy-free.  Sensitive Sweets.

Sensitive Sweets

Everything you see was within limits for me. Everything they had in the bakery, except for the lemon bars, were safe.

Black Forest, Chocolate Mint, & Red Velvet Cupcakes. Key Lime deliciousness that was just a tad too sweet for me.

Two of Chaz’s brownies.

I’d go back for this. The thumbprint cookies were okay. The sandwich bread tasted like Hawaiian sweet bread but was much denser. The cupcakes were where it was at there.

It was late afternoon by the time we checked in to our hotel and started thinking about dinner.   If you caught my post in which I reviewed Tomiko, you already know about dinner.  If not, check it out.

From dinner, we drove down to The Old Globe Theater in Balboa Park for the first night of Allegiance – A New American Musical.  I reviewed this on my other blog, Chocolate Wasteland.  You can read about it here.

In the hotel room.

I planned ahead and got us a room with a kitchen in case I needed to cook on my own.  We wound up only using the mini-fridge for all our treats from Sensitive Sweets.  Better prepared than SOL!