Category Archives: Mindless Musing

10 Minute Write


In one of my high school English classes, the teacher often started class with a “10 Minute Write” based on something we had been reading or discussing at the time. 

These pieces of writing were never anything spectacular on their own but often served as a rough draft for something else. I loved having the opportunity to just sit quietly for 10 minutes and let my hand do the talking.  (I basically spent any free time writing or drawing anyway!)

I was thinking that perhaps I’ll start doing that here. I need to find some good prompts that I can pull up and use as inspiration on the days when I’m not ruminating on anything in particular. Yes, my friends, I do sometimes take a break from rumination. 

 

I wrote this in the back of my business card because that was the only paper I had in the car. What kind of a writer am I?
 
As you read my blog, is there anything you would like me to write more about? A while ago I was asked to write about dating and I confess that I’ve had a hard time getting that post off the ground. I did write something on the NFED blog about dating but I cringe when I read over it. I don’t know why it is such an awkward topic for me. Perhaps I need to investigate that further with my therapist. Hah. 

But really. If there’s something missing here please let me know. I will do my best to answer any questions or to share my experiences on the topic.

Please post in the comments section or email me – heatherNFED at gmail dot com. 

Peace, love and happiness to you!

Monday Afternoon Car Thoughts


Here I am at the park again. I didn’t get to return last week even though I wrote about how much I like taking breaks. I had a lunch meeting one day, worked through the next day and then went out to lunch another day.

Taking Five

Last time I wrote I mentioned the books I was reading. Well, I finished the second one, The Untethered Soul. I liked it even better than Broken Open.  Granted, they are not the same style book, but I think I liked the cut-to-the-chase style of the second one better.

The book starts out talking about the voice in your head and how to step back and disconnect yourself from it. In a way I think I have already done that, thanks in large part to a great therapist I used to see. But I can remember back to the days where the voice inside my head was not very nice and really not very healthy. I’m not saying I have no inner voice now, but it’s not a jerk. In the rare moments that it is a jerk, I tell it to shut up.

Later in the book, the author talks about how everyone has pain inside them and that you can either hold on to it and try to protect yourself from anything that touches that nerve, or you can deal with the pain and let it go.

He used a great analogy of having a thorn in your arm that pressed against a nerve. Every time the thorn was touched or bumped it would cause pain, but if you were really careful and didn’t let anything touch it, you could live with it. In order to keep yourself from accidentally bumping it, you would build a device that would keep you from rolling onto it while you slept, and keep people from bumping into you when you went out. The down side of this device is that no one would be able to get close to you, even people you love.

The point is, you do the same thing when you have an old hurt that you can’t let go. If you build up these walls or these rules about what’s allowed or not allowed, then you’re essentially building a prison around yourself. And what kind of life is that to live?

The obvious solution is to remove the thorn and to deal with the pain in the moment and then let go of it.

Again, I can thank my former therapist for getting me started on that path years ago, though I didn’t realize at the time what it meant. I used to hold on to so much pain. I would cry at the sight of an Operation Smile ad, because it struck such a nerve with me. If someone made a joke about blondes or about a person with a lisp, I would raise my hackles. And don’t even get me started on how I felt and reacted to anything related to my former religion.

I’m not saying that I am now floating on a cloud of enlightenment or anything, but I am definitely more calm and content than I used to be. Much of that is because I have learned to let things go. Let it go! Live your life and let go of the people and the circumstances that have done you wrong. Life is too short to hold grudges and waste energy on negativity.

I didn’t mean for this post to turn into a motivational moment, but I think I may have just decided what my next Toastmaster speech will be about!

Time for me to head back to the office.  Namaste, friends!

The view from my car. It’s not Pike’s Peak, but it’ll do.

Lunch Break Post


Coming at you live from my car!

Car selfie

I gave myself 25 minutes on the timer to write a quick post. I really want to write more but it’s so easy to make excuses about not having enough time or whatever.

Many of my coworkers insist on working right through lunch. They say they don’t have time to take lunch breaks and so they just eat at their desks and power through. I often feel pressured to do the same, mostly because I don’t want them to think I’m a slacker. But the truth is, my little brain can’t handle working all day long. I need a break.

I often come to a park that is not far from work. Most of the time I just sit in my car and read or write in my notebook. Ok, I also waste time on FB. But whatever I do, I try to get out of the office and give my brain a rest from work thoughts.  Forest bathing, for my lunch hour. You know how I love my trees.

Anyway. So there’s a lot of things I’d like to write about, such as the book I just read (Broken Open, by Elizabeth Lesser) and the book I am currently reading (The Untethered Soul, by Michael A Singer).

The first book is about how going through traumatic or difficult situations in life gives people the opportunity to go through what she calls a Phoenix Process, where your old self or parts of your old self die and a new and improved self is born. In some ways the book is a bit “woo woo” and heavy on the New Age philosophy, but I can be down with that. I am a proponent of reading books and taking what you like from them and leaving the rest behind. She quotes a lot of Rumi and Thich Nhat Hahn, which is always a plus in my book. The downside I felt with the audiobook was that the narrator had an irritating voice. I was able to listen past that for the most part, but it did get annoying at times.

The second book I just started, but it’s lot about mindfulness meditation practices and why they are good. So when I’m finished with that I’ll have to do a review.

I have two minutes left on the timer so I guess I’ll wrap it up here. Back to work!

Magnificent Mammaries


While searching for imagery to use in this post, I came across some unique jewelry.

Today I’m going to talk about breasts. Boobies, melons, sweater-stretchers. Snuggle-pups or sweater kittens. Whatever you call them, there’s no denying that people spend a lot of time thinking about these glorious glands.

In my growing-up years, my friends and I gleefully anticipated growing ample bosoms in our teen years. We practiced by stuffing all manner of padding into our bathing suit tops and strutting around in front of each other. Balled-up socks, balloons, crumpled up paper. We could only imagine the weight and density of the luscious lumps we would surely develop.

When I was about 10 years old, the magic started to happen. Or, as my mom said cheerfully one night as I was getting ready for bed, “The pumpkin seeds are sprouting!” I blushed and acted like I was embarrassed, but inside I was delighted. My Marylin Monroes would be taking the stage before I knew it!

Actual pumpkin seeds sprouting!

In those early days of breast development, I oscillated between feeling proud of my growing girls and feeling unhappy with their lack of size. At first I wore sports bras under large t-shirts (mostly because it was 1990 and that’s what all the girls my age did), but this did nothing to enhance my feminine look. I also worried that the sports bras were actually hindering my development because they were so tight.

In some cruel twist of fate, neither I nor my two best friends got to feel the weight of womanhood on our chests in the way that we had imagined. My two friends were naturally very petite (so much so that I often felt obese in comparison – which, if you’ve seen me in real life you might think is hilarious). In my case, I can probably thank ectodermal dysplasias in some part for my lack of humongous hooters.

Ectodermal dysplasias can affect breast development in some girls and women because it affects glands, and as we all learned early on, breasts contain mammary glands. I consider myself fortunate because I do have natural breasts, albeit little ones. Some forms of ectodermal dysplasias prevent ANY breast development and often the affected women will get breast implants in order to attain a more feminine look.

Throughout my teenage years I always kept some shred of hope that I would hit a growth spurt that would only affect my chest area. I looked at ads for supplements in magazines (though I never actually bought any). I tried exercises, (I must, I must, I must increase my bust!) and the power of positive thinking. I eventually learned that sports bras were not the answer, and switched to bras that actually defined and enhanced my shape.

I never seriously considered breast implants for myself. I won’t say I didn’t think about it, but it was not something I really wanted. The idea of having more surgery was unappealing to me, plus I was always finding other ways to spend my money.

It took me a while, but once I got into my mid-20’s or so, I was pretty happy with my queen jewels, and the rest of my body for that matter. I found out that not all guys want women with enormous eggplants. Plus, as my friend’s mom used to tell us “You’ve got more than he does!” (Though in some situations this is actually not true.)

All joking aside, having small breasts is really pretty great. You can exercise without needing to restrain them. You don’t get under-boob sweat. You never have back pain due to heavy breasts, or get dents in your shoulders from your bra straps. You can sleep on your stomach. You can walk around without people staring at your chest.

According to internet sources, small breasts make you look younger (maybe that’s why everyone thinks I’m 25…) and they are more sensitive than larger breasts. Also, you don’t have to worry about them sagging over time the way larger breasts do.fried-eggs-1

So let’s hear it for our magnificent mammaries, whether they be small or large, perky or droopy, plump or flat. Love what you have, and if you don’t, there’s always surgery!

PS. None of the imagery here is representative of my actual breasts, just in case you were wondering.

Procrastinator Extraordinaire


Hi, I’m Heather and I’m a procrastinator.

I know most everyone can admit to some procrastination here and there. We all have tasks we put off for one reason or another. I’m sure there is at least one person out there who is a more extreme procrastinator than I am, but I don’t know them personally.

I try to blame my procrastination habits on the fact that I am busy, and in part that is true. I often feel overwhelmed by all the stuff I need to do, and rather than focusing on any one thing to get it done, I’d rather shove it all to the back burner and go do something fun instead.

Sometimes procrastination can work in one’s favor. Who knows how much money I have saved by putting off shopping trips for new clothes or shoes? I’ll just wear these scuffed and worn shoes until the soles literally fall off and I am left with no choice than to buy new ones! Or, at work, procrastinating on some menial task often results in that task slipping through the cracks of time, never to be considered again.

More often than not, however, procrastination has unpleasant results. Late nights (or all-nighters) of despair and self-loathing as a long-put-off task suddenly becomes urgent. Ok, so that hasn’t happened since college, but you know what I mean. There is a workplace equivalent, where something is suddenly due and desperate measures have to be taken. All the while you feel crappy and swear that you will never let this happen again.

It used to be that I only procrastinated on things that I didn’t like. Math homework. Vacuuming. Getting out of bed in the morning.  More recently I have found myself procrastinating on just about everything, even things I really want to do. It is very easy to busy yourself with tasks like, organizing your file folders or syncing your iPhone and iPad to your computer. When you’re done you feel like you accomplished something, but really, how necessary was that?

It’s pretty likely that I am being too hard on myself. I often forget to look at my actual accomplishments. I tend to only see what I have NOT done, and ignore all of the progress I have made in my life. I mean, obviously I don’t procrastinate on EVERYTHING, or I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

There are plenty of online resources available to tackle procrastination. I am a big fan of Zen Habits, and get these delivered to my inbox. There was also this fabulous post about what goes on inside a procrastinator’s brain. I’m pretty sure that mine has TWO instant gratification monkeys. Of course, as you’ll see in the above-mentioned article, going online isn’t exactly the best idea for a chronic procrastinator.

Where am I going with this post? Basically I was just procrastinating my morning exercise routine and realized that I hadn’t done a post in a while, so I thought I’d sit down and do one! Now it’s almost 7 am and if I don’t stop writing now I won’t have time to exercise before I have to get ready and leave the house.

Do you struggle with procrastination? Did you just read my blog post in order to avoid doing something else? Have you found ways to be more productive and keep your instant-gratification monkey from taking the wheel?

Miscellany


Hi!

Man, I have been slacking with posting here (or anywhere, really) lately. I actually thought about taking a little hiatus while I try to focus on some other aspects of my life, but that just seems too severe. Plus I want to be able to write when I feel like it, and the moment I say “I’m taking a hiatus” I will probably be struck with an uncontrollable urge to write.

Let me just give you a little update on things here. First of all, today I FINALLY called the Cheyenne Mountain Resort to book the extra nights we’ll be staying for this summer’s NFED Family Conference. I called the reservation line and it automatically puts you on hold while you wait in the queue.

I’d like to just mention that the hold music was so fantastic that I wanted to sit there on hold for as long as I could. I’m serious! As I listened to it (and did a robot-like dance in my chair), I wondered if it was the hold music that they talked about on an episode of This American Life, which I used to listen to religiously. After I got off the phone I googled “awesome hold music” and found out that yes, it was the same tune.

Now that I’ve piqued your interest, check it out for yourself here. I’m actually listening to it as I’m writing this post.

Also, if you’ve never listened to This American Life on NPR, you might want to take a gander. An auditory gander.

Speaking of auditory. Yesterday I had a routine visit to my ENT. Good news! My ear is stable. Not that I really expected anything different, but it’s always nice to get confirmation that you don’t have a diseased inner ear. I also had a hearing test. Blah.

I’m not terribly fond of the audiologist my doctor uses. This is the same woman who got the silicone stuck in my ear last year, but even before that I found her annoying. First of all, she speaks really softly, which is a bad quality in a person who is working with hearing impaired people, right?

One of the other things that makes me not take her seriously is that when she does the test where she says a word and I have to repeat it, she doesn’t do a very job of covering her mouth, so I can see her forming the words on the other side of the booth.

Also, it’s the SAME WORDS over and over! They are going to think I had a miraculous regeneration of my hearing because I know it’s:

Ice cream. Toothbrush. Sidewalk. Hot dog. Backpack. Lollipop.

Add a wind sound in my good ear.

Hot dog. Ice cream. Toothbrush. Backpack. Lollipop. Sidewalk

I’ll admit it gets hard when it is just one syllable words. Sometimes I have literally no idea what she said, and I can’t even think of a word to repeat back so I just shake my head in defeat.

At a couple of moments during the test, she turned up the wind sound SO loud in my good ear that I actually had to pull the headphone away from my ear. What the hell. Maybe this is what I don’t like about her the most. She does not seem to notice how sensitive my ears are.

It seems like a paradox that I could be so hard of hearing, yet so sensitive at the same time. I have been thinking about it a lot in the last 24 hours. I am not sure if it’s because I have to struggle to hear sometimes that I am so sensitive, or if I would be this sensitive even if I could hear perfectly. In fact, maybe it’s a blessing that I can’t hear perfectly, because maybe all the loudness in the world would drive me insane.

I really don’t like loud noises. I never have. When I was growing up, my dad had a dirt bike. I don’t think I ever got within 50 feet of it when it was turned on because it was so loud. In fact, when I knew he was going to start it up, I would run into the house and cover my ears. Even now, I practically have a heart attack when a motorcycle drives by me and revs the engine.

Come to think of it, maybe I am just a huge wimp…

Well, that’s enough of an update for now. I need to hit the hay! Goodnight and good luck!

Illustrated Personal Rant Session


Once again, I’ve let slip my morning writing habit. Of course, this time it has been in favor of spending the time drawing instead of writing. So creatively, I feel like I’ve been accomplishing something. Unfortunately it doesn’t really translate to the blog. Or does it?

http://instagram.com/p/y3RUhTh8O0/?modal=true

Despite all my fun drawing in the mornings, I’ve been feeling a bit low lately. I guess a lot of that can be attributed to the massive quantities of snow we’ve been getting. I get to feeling a bit trapped. When we don’t have 5 foot snowbanks lining all the roads, I like to go out for walks with Dave, or by myself just to clear my head. While it’s not impossible to take a walk right now, it’s not exactly safe. Plus, it’s pretty stinking cold out there too. Normally I enjoy the snow – it does make everything look pretty.

http://instagram.com/p/y_8snlB8IS/?modal=true

I also get to feeling low because I sometimes feel like I just don’t get other people (aside from Dave and my immediate family… though sometimes I don’t get them either, hah). Or I’m frustrated that they don’t get me. I start feeling sad because I think of the few people in my life that I’ve really connected with, and they all live far away or they aren’t friends with me anymore for some reason or another.

http://instagram.com/p/yrXtiUB8CA/?modal=true

I really want to have deep, meaningful relationships with people, but most of the interactions I have are insanely superficial. Especially with certain people I work with, who are constantly judging others by physical appearances and ridiculing their clothing and hair choices. It’s like high school all over again. I try to remain above it but it’s hard when it hits that nerve and reminds me of being 15 and awkward and not fitting in.

Lastly, I get down on myself because I think about all the things I’d really rather be doing with my life, and I start feeling really anxious. Like if I don’t quit my job and start DOING a bunch of things, I’m never going to get anywhere in life. First of all, I can’t just quit my job because I’m getting paid better than I ever have before, plus the insurance is great (except for their stubbornness about paying for my dental work), and oh, I am still working off these $#&#*)&( student loans.

http://instagram.com/p/zEI9NHB8AO/?modal=true

I know I need to make a solid plan. I have to believe in myself first, and sometimes – especially when I am feeling low like this – I find that really hard to do. I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my life so far, but somehow I forget all that and I see myself as inexperienced and useless. It’s like my mind gets clouded and I forget that I’m intelligent, I have artistic ability, I have a bachelor of science and a bunch of certificates. I escaped what is most simply described as a religious cult (this is where I lost a lot of friends!). I’ve had a variety of jobs and I was never fired from any of them – I left them all on my own accord. I’ve survived numerous surgeries and medical torture procedures. I’ve seen close family through major surgery and depression. I’m a survivor!! Why is this so hard for me to take strength from?

http://instagram.com/p/ywjFrQB8Ax/?modal=true

Ok. I feel a bit better for all this ranting, even if it makes no sense to anyone else. I hope you at least enjoy the pictures. These are some of the Zentangle drawings I’ve been doing for the past month. If you want to see more, just click on one of the images and it should take you to my Instagram page. Follow me and like my pictures to give me a fleeting sense of worth!

Happy 2015 from EEC Chick!


Bitmoji Me
*Note, cartoon version portrays more fingers than the real life version actually posesses.

Happy New Year!

I’ve been away from WordPress for a couple of weeks now due to all the holiday fun that was going on, but now it’s a quiet, work-free afternoon and so I cannot delay posting any longer.

My holidays were quite lovely and I hope yours were too. I always enjoy spending time with my family, and now that everyone is grown up and off doing their own thing it is even more significant when we can get together for a few days. We had a fun couple of days filled with food, games and winter walks. You can’t get much better than that!

Dave got me a laptop for Christmas, so that I can write more (and so I’ll stop using his). I’m pretty excited, as I haven’t had a personal laptop in ages. This afternoon, using my new laptop is proving difficult because the cats are taking turns climbing all over me while Dave is napping on the couch. Honestly. I don’t know how people can work from home when they have cats. Whenever I try to do anything at the table, someone’s got to be climbing all over it. It’s like having kids who will never grow up.

Ahem. Anyway, since it is January 1, 2015, I suppose I should do the typical reflection on the past year and predictions or goals for the year to come.

2014 started off on a low note, as one of the first moments involved going down to New Jersey for Gram’s funeral. The up side of that was getting to see a lot of family who we really don’t see much of otherwise. Gram’s passing was tough and I think it cast a melancholy hue over me for much of the early part of the year. It also got me thinking about death in a spiritual sense, which was one of those things I had been ignoring prior to that because it was too hard to think about. That’ll be something for another post (or another blog entirely). At work, I was able to move laterally within the company, and so started an intense journey of learning the ropes of a whole new department in the midst of one of the busiest years yet. The plus side of that is that I earned about 25% more this year than I did the year before. Woo hoo! I probably also worked 25% more hours than I did the year before too, so boo that. But I do appreciate the extra dough, at least until tax time rolls around and then I may have other feelings. Overall it was a year of major growth for me. I’m talking spiritual, emotional and skill-set growth, not waistline, though that may have expanded just a bit too. I’ve accomplished my goals of writing more, spending more time ‘offline’, and finally, of joining Toastmasters again. Missions accomplished.

2015 is off to a good start so far. Today we had a leisurely morning with a late breakfast, and then we took a nice walk on the rail trail. It was cold but there’s not one particle of snow on the ground so it doesn’t feel like we’re in the midst of winter. I’m sitting here with my new laptop, drinking a bottle glass of wine, I have a cozy house with a handsome man and two fuzzy kids, what more could I ask for?

As far as the blog goes, I think I did a pretty good job of keeping up with posting throughout the year, despite hectic schedules and bouts of writer’s block/procrastination/self loathing. I’d really like to post more often, but let’s be honest, how much can I really write about EEC? I am mulling over some ideas for this coming year, such as expanding the blog (or making a new blog) to cover more topics that I’m interested in, like environmental issues, mindfulness/meditation, religion/spirituality, vegetarian/veganism and things along those lines. I do still have EEC-related things I can write about, especially as I am about to embark on a new dental adventure, if my insurance company is willing to cooperate.

I’ve also been contemplating being more open with owning my blog. I know most of you who read it know my real name, and I’ve probably let it slip here and there, but I’m going to change my pseudonym to my actual name. If I ever want to get anywhere as a writer, I need to own up to the things I’ve written, right? It’s a little scary for me, because despite all I’ve written about overcoming my fears of rejection and shame about my physical issues, I am still hesitant to open up fully. I still have moments of worry that people are going to take the things I’ve written and use it against me. Even if it’s just superficial, i.e., calling me a freak or a weirdo because I was born this way. In my life I have come across some rather superficial people who cannot get past my physical anomalies. I tell myself that it is their problem, not mine, but I still can’t help but feel a bit hurt about it. I think that’s a good reason to keep pushing myself to share though. As I’ve written before, outside the comfort zone is where the magic happens!

Happy New Year to you all, and thanks for keeping up with my blog all this time. May 2015 be a happy and prosperous year for you.

Namaste

EEC Chick is One!


One year ago today, I put on my big girl panties and I started this blog. You can see the first post here.

http://instagram.com/p/bNDxJtB8Dj/

It hasn’t been as easy keeping up the blog as I’d expected, but it has been rewarding. Writing has long been a therapeutic pastime for me. I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback from people. People with EEC have told me that they really relate to my stories and they have felt many of the same things that I’ve felt. People without EEC have said that my writing has helped them understand how it feels to be affected by a syndrome like this. Hopefully I’ve made a lot of people laugh too. 🙂

This summer, while I was at the NFED Family Conference, I began telling someone new about my blog. A mother of a boy affected by EEC was nearby. She opened up her bag, pulled out a stack of papers and gave them to the woman I was talking to. It was print-outs of my blog! She said that she always printed them out to show her son. I was pretty excited to see how something I had made had such an impact on someone else. Something I’d made while sitting around in my pajamas and drinking tea, no less!

So, a heartfelt thank you goes out to all of you who have supported me and given me feedback this past year. I appreciate it more than you know.

Namaste

PS. Did you know that I also contribute to the NFED blog? My latest post can be found here.

Oh, hello!


Happy New Year, and all that jazz.

Here is something I have been pondering lately:

I tend to be (over)sensitive to the way people smell. I really dislike smelling bad breath and gross body odor. I’m not averse to all body odor, I mean, I spent part of my youth in Vermont, among pot-smoking, dreadlocked, and wool-sweater-wearing people.
But I’m getting off track.

What I’ve been contemplating is how I haven’t ever noticed any of my doctors smelling bad. Or smelling much at all, for that matter. I wonder if they have to take some kind of personal hygiene class in med school? Or if it’s just that the type of people who become doctors are also the type of people who take pride in regular bathing and grooming habits.

Just some food for thought…