I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
To send me a private message, please e-mail me: flylittlewordsfly@gmail.com
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Monday, 30 May 2011

New Hobby - Wire-wrapping

I've started a new hobby, although really it's returning to an old one. Many years ago, I made coasters, and bracelets and all kinds of things from bead and wire. When my mom returned from her recent trip out West, she brought me three beautiful stones with healing qualities; hematite, quartz, and I'm not sure what the other one is, and she forgot. But she picked them our specially for me, because each has properties that support particular aspects of my personal healing process. If only she could remember what they actually were...

I'm restless. I feel like I need to be doing things with my hands, even when I'm lying on the couch. And I love the stones she brought me, and the reason she brought them, and I want to have them near me. But they're stones - they haven't been drilled. But I really want to make some jewellery out of them so I can wear them all the time. So I called on my dear friend Google, who led me to some really neat ideas.

I've spent some time the last couple of weeks learning and practicing how to wire-wrap. I started off with some spare wire that I had in the house from previous endeavours, and some simple needle-nose pliers. I crocheted a bracelet out of something I had lying around, and hooked my stones onto it. It was super cool, but not quite the effect I wanted, and the wire was too thin to really keep the stones safe. I was worried they would fall out.

So I spent some money. Invested. Right! Again with the help of my dear friend Google, I found a sweet online, relatively local purveyor of all things beads. I bought some lovely chains, a dragonfly charm (because dragonflies represent our ancestors), thicker wire, and a really sweet set of tools - with zebra patterned handles. They're adorable, and useful. The package came late last week, and now I have everything I need to get creative.

First, I made a lovely pendant that I'm going to gift to a special friend. Then I set down to work out what I wanted. It took quite a bit of experimenting with different styles of wrapping, lengths of chain, and placement, but I'm super happy with the results.

I'm rather pleased with myself. Ok, so I can't work, and I can't dance, and I can't read anything that really requires brain power. But I can still learn new tricks, and I can most definitely still bring more beauty into this world. That makes me feel really really good.

Now let's see if I can get some pics up here:

Saturday, 28 May 2011

My Son the Star

There's a drum teacher who teaches in our after school program. My son has been obsessed with percussion for as long as he can remember, which is about 2 years. Today, the drum teacher was shooting a pilot for a show he's pitching to all the children's networks. He invited his students to be a part of it, and my son, much to my surprise, asked to go.

So we woke up nice and early this morning and drove out to Richmond Hill (about 30 minutes for those without intimate geographic knowledge of Toronto) where they were shooting, in a music store that is really more like a really super cool music mall. The place was amazing. But I digress.

When we got the e-mail confirming the details, and wardrobe requirements, we promptly freaked out. Does any child in this day and age have any clothing that has no graphics, words or logos on it, is not striped or chequered, and not black, white or green? I could find nothing in his wardrobe that fit that description. I sent a panicked e-mail, thinking I would actually have to go shopping (and then crash for three days), and was relieved to hear back that they would take a look at his clothes and choose the most appropriate. So I scoured the house looking for the least obnoxiously patterned shirts, and pants with no green on them, packed up and off we went.

When we arrived, we split up so I could take an elevator up to the second floor, while he and my mom (who drove us out there so we could be sure to actually make it home again) went up the stairs. I arrived at the waiting room to find my mother and son in deep discussion with the production manager and a production assistant regarding his shoes. When they said no green, I never thought to check his shoes! Not that he has any other pairs he could have worn. It turns out that the green stripes on his shoes are exactly the colour of the green screen, in front of which they were shooting so as to later add animation. His shoes! So, once his shoes were taped up and he received instructions, he was whisked away with the other children, and we were left in the waiting room to wait. And wait. And wait.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Another Day, Another Doctor's Visit

So I went to see my family doctor today. She is so great. But she can't help me. She did however let my mom and I hijack the physical, and instead of doing all the general checkup stuff, we spent the whole appointment asking questions about this incurable and complicated and largely unknowable illness of mine.

The only real news is that while I do have some kind of orthostatic intolerance, it does not seem to be affecting my blood pressure - today. That's how she put it. "Your blood pressure is fine today." Ok. What does that mean? Basically, that I still get dizzy if I am upright for any decent amount of time, and that no medications are in order. That's good because I don't need to spend more money on more pills that I have to remember to take and which would undoubtedly have side-effects. That's not good, because it's not fixable. It also means that it is not a real exclusion of anything, because it could be different tomorrow. Or, that I wasn't standing long enough, or that I wasn't lying down long enough, or that the weather is affecting it, or I actually ate well, or, or, or, or...

It's the same story every time. I go in hoping that something will be fixable, and I leave knowing again that it's not. But she had a great way of putting it. She said that our bodies are basically a series of complex and nuanced interrelationships, and medical tests are crude and awkward ways of trying to measure them. I have so much respect for her as a medical professional who actually knows the limits of the medical profession's capacities. I also truly appreciate that she never medicates for the sake of medicating. I just wish there was a medication that would make this all go away.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Commiseration Feels so Good

So today I had my first skype-group-support session, and it was so cool.

I really like the other people in the group, which helps - we got off to a great start. But the really neat part was sharing my experience and hearing my words echoed back to me by someone who's been through the exact same thing.

I don't personally know anybody else with my particular illness, and I never realized how much I was lacking that real commiseration. It wasn't a pity party in any way. It was actually very positive. But it was amazing to hear the other experience and say - yeah, me too! - and to hear it live-ish. I didn't know how much I was missing that.

I've always had connections to people who could relate to every other major life change I've gone through - breakups, depression, anxiety, grandparents dying, changing my lifestyle, pregnancy, emergency C-Section, becoming a single mom, changing careers, parenting, job searches, dealing with difficulties at work... whatever, there was always somebody who had been through it to talk to, to learn from, to laugh with and sometimes cry with - someone who knew how it felt, who could sympathize. But not this time.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Storm Came

Slashing sheets of falling water
Spattered glass with skeletal remains
Of returning drops of used, re-used water
Sweep away what hasn't gone
With your raging whispers
And your tumbling pockets of restless air
Take it
The shuddering fear
The trembling anger
The rending un-stillness
Take it
Fly away with it
Sweep it away
Cradle it, or carry it, or toss it around
Just take it
I don't want it anymore.

I don't set out to write poems. They just randomly pop into my head, and demand to be let out again. They don't always reflect my conscious state of mind, and I don't even always know what they're about - it's literally just a collection of words that put themselves together and want to play. So there you go. That's why there aren't too many poems here. I wish I could will them into being, but that's not my gift. But I sure love it when they come to visit.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Smiling Through this Stupid Cold - ramblings of a very foggy mind

My grandmother said to me the other day that you have to smile every morning. You have to get up and smile. Since this comes from the only 90+ woman I know who still lives on her own and has perfect skin, I think it's worth listening. Now, she also never eats anything green, and believes everything she sees on the super-alarmist Spanish language news, but still. Worth listening. And it immediately made me think of Carole King's Beautiful, which has been a bit of an anthem for me for some time.

You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes, you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

Now, believe you me, I know that it's not easy to wake up with a smile, when your life is what it is. I know what it's like to wake up when there's nothing to wake up for. What it's like to wake up when your body refuses to cooperate. What it's like to wake up when you feel like sleep just never even happened. What it's like to wake up and want to go back to sleep, curl up under those covers and just stay there, and escape back into dreamland.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

New Supports

As you know, if you've been reading, I've had a couple of rough weeks, thanks to cumulative post-exertional responses, and the low-pressure system going through Toronto right now. Not one to take things lying down (although literally, I have been lying down a lot), I've taken this time to find new supports.

Yesterday I enrolled in a self-care course, which is done online, and is supposed to give me tools and perspectives that will help my recovery. This course seems to have a good success rate, and I've heard good things through the grapevine. Today, I registered for a skype support group. I met with the therapist (online - she's in Australia), and really took a liking to her. So as of Tuesday, I will be having ongoing conversations with a few people who share my experience, and as of June, I will be learning more about how to deal with this ongoing ailment.

When we were doing the intake, the therapist noted that I'm being very proactive, and really taking the driver's seat, what with participating in forums, seeing a Naturopath and a Gestaltist, and seeking out new support options. It got me thinking, as random comments are wont to do, and I realized that it was this relapse that got me motivated. It seems that every time things get worse, I get more motivated. When the going gets tough, right?

Monday, 16 May 2011

No Cincy for Me This Summer

There was no choice. I mean really, there was no option. I'm functioning at around a 4 - I dropped back down and haven't been able to re-stabilize since Passover. I'm still recovering from the weekend before last's activities, which were less than half of what a healthy person could have handled. So how could I possibly even begin to consider going to Cincinnati for two weeks of course work? I couldn't. But I also couldn't face not going. And now it's official. I'm not.

Last year I started a process that involved 6 intense weeks of study and self-examination, and it was pure synchrony. I wasn't supposed to be there, but the training course I'd signed up for had been cancelled. I was gifted with the presence of warm, genuine people, with a shared passion who helped me really open my heart for the first time in a long time. I'd never had much luck with groups before, but this group was a whole into which I fit perfectly. It was safe to trust, and that was something that had been missing for me for a while. I'm happy to say I was able to bring that feeling home, and keep it going.

The course work continues this summer, and, like so many other things in my life, I find I must put it on hold. I wrote a difficult e-mail to my classmates, after confirming with my wise and wonderful teacher that I would be continuing when my health allows. As I told them, deciding not to go wasn't the hard part. The hard part was admitting that there was no decision to be made. I hoped that if I was in denial for long enough, somehow I would still end up in Cincinnati this summer, laughing, crying, and hugging everything out with them.

Friday, 13 May 2011


My family is close. Crazy close. My sister and I live on the same block (she was here first). Our parents live only 5 minutes away. My extended family is flung far and wide, but we are still closely connected (yay Facebook!), and I feel their support regularly (Cuq and Sue who leaves those beautiful quotes in the comments is my mom's sister in Oregon) and it buoys me. But this post is all about my mother... (smile if you get the reference)... and my father and my sister.

The last couple of weeks have been hard. I'm coming out of a really rough patch. I'm overexerted and exhausted and moody. For a week and a half, my son and I moved back to my childhood home - childhood room, to be even more specific. My parents nurtured us, gave us shelter and entertained us. My mother fed us, drove us around, and cleaned up after us. My father read bedtime stories, ran interference when my patience was low, and generally kept us entertained (and shared some really super special wines). They both coddled me and gave my son the attention and play-time he deserves. It is so comforting to know that I have a soft place to land.

The time in their home and since coming home again, has been, as always, fraught with reflection.

I read stories every day - people like me, who are ill and need support, but aren't getting it for whatever reason. I read about families that are in denial. I read about families that are far away, or too busy dealing with their own issues, or just don't understand. The hardest ones for me to read about are those who honestly don't know how to deal with their loved one's illness. These stories make me sad, but they also make me thankful in a really humble kind of way.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


So Monday, as you know if you read that day's ramble of a post, was my birthday.

In Mexico, we sing a special birthday song, that says "el dia en que tu naciste, nacieron todas las flores" It translates as "the day that you were born, all the flowers were born."  Every year, right around my birthday, the flowers really do bloom here in Toronto. It's an amazing thing. I'm not egotistical enough to believe that all of nature is actually conspiring to make things beautiful just for me, but I sure do appreciate it.

I don't know what it's like where you are, how the seasons change, or if there is a reasonable similarity throughout. I don't remember the changes being very noticeable in Mexico but I was young. In Toronto, the changes are palpable, starting with a gradual change in the air that leads weeks later to a sudden burst of colour - be it pink and yellow, green, orange and red or white.

We've just hit that burst. It's lovely. It is seriously my favourite week of the year, and I swear it has nothing to do with my birthday. Ok maybe a little. But not really. I just love how you go to bed one day and you can barely see the tips of colour if you look for them, and you wake up the next morning to the tree in full bloom. It's amazing, inspiring, awe-inducing and just so very very lovely.

So today my patio doors are flung wide, the springy freshness is making its way inside, and I can lie on the couch and enjoy it all while being comfy and not exerting myself further in any way whatsoever.

It makes me happy.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Cumulative Overexertion

It seems that post-exertion malaise, as they call it, is actually cumulative. Why am I just finding this out?!?!?!

So this past weekend, I chose to overexert on three different occasions, thinking I'd have time to get past each. Seems I was a little bit wrong. Each was harder to get through and past than the one before. I guess I'm still learning how to deal with these new demands on my body.

Friday night I attended a really special Bar-Mitzvah. Special because it was one of my students. More special because I have been involved with their family since I started to work at this school - his sister was one of my first third year casa students, and he was the one Elementary boy who defied the rest by singing in the end of year show my first year teaching music - he made it ok for boys to sing at our school, and I will forever love him just for that. The parents have struggled with the idea of Montessori, and the small social groups at our little school, but they do it honestly - because they are so committed to providing the very best they can for their children. I have a relationship of great respect and affection with all the members of this family. So it was really special to be a part of the celebration.

I was surprised to be able to stay as long as I did, through the music and whatnot. It was truly painful not to be able to join in the dancing, but I managed to enjoy living vicariously through others, and I think the genuinely good vibes in the room helped me to stay upright for longer than expected. Likewise, Saturday morning I was feeling better than I thought I would. I needed down time for sure, but not as bad as other crashes I've had. We stayed at my parents' house, so I was well pampered, and expected to be absolutely fine by Sunday, ready to deal with Mother's Day and my birthday. I should've known - the harder I push the longer it takes for the crash to come...

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Letting Go

I had a really interesting session with my therapist today. I'm finding that the best sessions, the ones where we get really deep are the ones where I have nothing pressing to talk about. That's what happened today.

Today I realized that I am scared to "let go" of my classroom. It's irrational, as all fears are. I'm scared that if I stop being committed to the Middle School, I will find myself with a void so big and deep that I won't know how to fill it, and since nature abhors a vacuum, it will suck in negative stuff. The facts are these: I've created an amazing program where there was none before. I've spent three years on it. Educating myself, training, negotiating, meeting with people, sourcing, shopping, planning, even designing the classroom space. Everything. Yes, there were others involved - lots of others who made major contributions. No, I did not make all the decisions, or get my way on everything. But it really is my baby. I have to come clean - that's how I feel.

Could I have done it alone? No more than I could make a real baby alone - in fact, less so; I couldn't have come even close to creating something of this quality without the many people who were emotionally and physically committed and involved over the course of 3 years and in 3 countries, as opposed to the two people coming together physically for just a moment to spark the creation of a real baby. But it's still my baby.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Troubled Mom

Ok, so my son understands my illness at a very basic level. He knows that when I run out of marbles, I've really run out of marbles. He's seen my pacing logs, and he knows that it will be a long time before I am even a semblance of my former self. But that doesn't stop it from being frustrating for him, and that just kills me.

When I think about it, I know it, and it makes sense. If I'm frustrated, he has every right to be frustrated. If I hate that there are things I just can't do anymore, well, he has every right to hate them too!

Every time I think about it, my heart breaks a little. He misses the old me just as much as I do. He'd love to roll around on the floor, and play video games, and play card games and word games, and soccer and go on the swings together. So would I.