Heart/wrecked

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Like a ship that runs aground because of low tide or unseen rocks or fog or navigational errors, our beautiful heart can be damaged when blood flow is restricted or when it flows unregulated.

Heart/wrecked.

I grew up hearing the term, “Stress kills.”

I was never quite sure what that meant, but then I did when it happened to me.

After a seemingly nonstop barrage of a personal stressful situation–like a ship hitting the rocks over and over again–it all finally took an undeniable toll on my physical health.

One of my favorite places to live is in the state of Denial, but I’ve been forced to temporarily move to a new town called Reality. Hopefully, I’ll just visit there for a bit until I can come home again.

After experiencing some intermittent and strangely terrifying heart pains, I went to the doc who took my blood pressure and was concerned about the results. It was super high. I had always had enviably LOW blood pressure since I exercise regularly, am vegan and never smoked, so this raised concerns.

Over the course of a couple weeks, my BP was checked daily and it stayed consistently high; dangerously high, which only made me more anxious and more stressed, and at one of the office visits, I started hyperventilating and had a panic attack. (Super embarrassing for the doc and absolutely mortifying for me.)

This led to an order for an Echocardiogram along with all the other heart-focused tests. The echo was done at a local hospital–a definite trigger. No one wants to go to a hospital at any time, but especially during Covid. It seemed like I was being admitted, with a wrist band and lots of little stickers, and I was devastated.

I almost bolted out of the front door at that point, but I persevered. I can share with you that it’s a scary time when you have to figure out why you don’t feel great. I’ve been a medical advocate for several loved ones, but it’s radically more difficult when you have to care for yourself. Poor me.

The technician was amazing, especially considering I tormented her with a million questions. I know enough about medical stuff to see that she was concentrating on a certain area of my heart. I really appreciated her patience with me and her detailed explanations during the hour-long ordeal.

The results showed a dilated aortic root valve and regurgitation of the mitral valve.

Risk Adjustment Coding Academy- Coding Focus

What this means is that the accumulation of stress and panic attacks and PTSD that I’ve endured during the last four years manifested medically and physically and caused structural damage to my heart.

Mitral valve regurgitation - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

“Severe physical or emotional stress increases blood pressure to the point where the tensile limit of the aortic tissue is overwhelmed, causing the rupture.”

“Over time, certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause your heart to work harder, gradually enlarging your heart’s left ventricle.”

“Mitral valve regurgitation can cause complications such as atrial fibrillation, in which the atria of the heart don’t contract well. This leads to increased risk of stroke. Also, elevated blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary artery hypertension).”

Hypertension makes the blood push harder against the valve and causes it to dilate, enlarge, and that’s pretty much the same scenario for the mitral valve, which seems to be the cause of the intermittent chest pain.

I’ll need to be monitored regularly because if I can’t control the stress/blood pressure and the valves stretch to a dangerous size, the only solution is surgical intervention–or death.

Reducing stress and hypertension can possibly keep the valves from enlarging any further, but the damage is done–nothing will make them reduce in size back to normal, except surgery.

Let me tell you that it’s true. Stress kills.

Now I’m off to change course, take some magnesium, eat more beets, meditate, calm down and regulate my breathing so that I don’t have a stroke or an aneurysm.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Heart/wrecked.

Shipwrecked.

Memories of Joshua Tree

#ThrowbackThursday

One of my favorite places to camp and hike.

Love the rocks #JoshuaTree

Well, this was an adventure…

I think by now I can safely assume that y’all figured out that I’m a tiny person with very curly hair who lives in a Southern California beach town.

You know that I love seashells and rocks and being outdoors. I have an amazing son and brilliant DIL who combined their DNA to create two of the most adorable humans to ever exist.

Moreover, I’m a passionate animal protector and defender.

My dad was an attorney and my mom was a SAHM — an RN who went back to nursing when I was in junior high. With certainty, I admit to living a less than edgy life. More like ballet or the symphony and learning to bake my mom’s best ever apple pie than drunken brawls and broken windows on Saturday nights. My memories are of a slightly quieter and more genteel childhood. You get the picture, right?

Maybe that’s the reason why, every so often, I crave a bit of excitement or an adventure or maybe the truth is that I’m too naive (or stupid) to know what it really means when I put myself in potentially dangerous situations.

So this happened.

Would you be at all surprised if I told you that I watched a burglary in progress and then I offered to chase after the guy with the store manager (yes I really did and FYI he declined my offer.)

Definition: Burglary (entering a building with the intent to commit a crime inside) and larceny (theft) are two different crimes, although burglaries are often committed for the purpose of theft. Shoplifting is typically defined as the unauthorized removal of merchandise from a store without paying for it. In certain cases, the intent to steal, along with an act in furtherance of that intent, can also result in criminal charges for shoplifting (or retail fraud). 

Here’s the whole story:

Monday is my pandemic grocery shopping day; I try to do it all early while there are fewer people out and about to reduce the amount of viral aerosol drops. Traders and Sprouts are my go-to stores for my vegan food; stuff like tofu and hummus and veggies and lentils and beans, along with pea protein powder, coffee and tea. Not very exciting food, I guess, but I stock up for a couple of weeks, because you never know when stores will close again, either for the pandemic or because we’re in an insane civil war.

After that, I went to ATT because I was having a potential issue with the charging port on my phone which decided NOT to exhibit the malfunction while I was there so it was a wasted trip.

After that waste of time, I drove to one of my favorite retail stores because I need a new black zippered hoodie. I love to bleach pretty much everything, but made the mistake of wearing my black hoodie to bleach the kitchen tile and I ruined it.

Since the recent alarming surge in Coronavirus cases, retail stores again limit the number of people that can shop at the same time, so there was a very short socially distanced line. We were all masked. The masked employee was counting people in and out. From my vantage point, I could see a man walking very fast on the sidewalk toward us. For some reason, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. He was dressed all in black with a black hoodie pulled down low over his forehead, black sunglasses, and a black backpack. He had a black mask that wasn’t on correctly. He flew past the employee at the front door. Uh oh, I thought. What a jerk.

“Sir, there’s a line. Sir, Sir, Sir, there’s a line.” He completely ignored her. We looked at each other and said, “What the hell was THAT?”

Hmmm. That’s when I got the gut feeling that I normally ignore and this time was no different. I had a totally random thought that he gave off REALLY dangerous vibes and I bet he had a gun in his backpack. I thought to myself that SOMETHING might happen and it would probably be a really good and prudent idea to simply avoid it all by walking back to my car. I mean, I could fulfill my desire for a new hoodie on another day; it’s not important. Not at all.

But I didn’t do that.

It was my turn to go in the store and I thought I’d be like Nancy Drew, Junior Detective, and keep my eyes and ears open and be aware of my surroundings. I searched for the guy and saw him walking up and down the aisles really fast, pullings items off the racks and piling them in his arms. He never looked up. When he walked toward the handbags, I went up to an employee who was stocking the area and said,

“Do you see that guy over there? (I pointed.) He’s going to run out of here with a lot of things.”

She said, “Yes, I’m watching him, he’s taking the expensive purses with the security tags.”

At that exact moment, he flew by us and bolted out the door, just like I predicted. The stolen handbags with the security tags set off the store alarms. The employee who was outside tried to stop him, but he kept running.

The manager came to where I was standing with the employee and I said to him, “Let’s go after him, I’m a witness. COME ON! We can catch him.”

“Thank you, but I can’t do that. He could have a weapon.”

The manager told me the video cameras at the front captured a picture of him as soon as the alarm was tripped.

I then told him I would wait there while he called the police.

Now here’s the crazy thing. He said he wasn’t going to call the police because that wasn’t “corporate policy”.

Have you ever experienced anything like that?

I was shocked by what he said, and when I went out to my car, I called the nonemergency police number who told me they couldn’t do anything unless the store called and it’s apparently their choice whether to do that or not. She agreed with me that it was not a great decision but law enforcement’s hands are tied. Unless the store calls, they can’t do their job.

I told dispatch I wanted to run after him but the store manager didn’t and she started laughing at the thought but warned me to NEVER do that. Even thought my intentions were noble, there’s always the chance that I’d be harmed. I’m no hero, but sheesh! Right is right, right?

I still can’t believe this thief got away with armfuls of stolen items with zero consequences.

WTF.

It was a sort of adventure, slightly thrilling with a touch of danger, but nothing really happened except that I watched a guy run into a store, brazenly steal a bunch of stuff, and get away. It was like a movie and I was an extra or a bit player. Like most of my acting career, my scene will probably be cut from the final edit.

What would you do?

Surf City

We’re in the middle of a high surf advisory with sets up to ten feet. Although the bigger waves are south of me, I didn’t feel like driving to La Jolla or Sunset Cliffs; instead I took some pics at my local beach. The air temperature is in the low 70s and it’s simply sparkly and beautiful.

I was hoping to see whales or dolphins, but I wasn’t lucky today. The only animal life out in the water were of the surfer species.

Insurrection/Treason/Sedition

Everyone is asking, “What can we do?”

In my opinion, impeaching again and successfully this time would be a start, that’s for sure, along with #25th Amendment.

I’ve been saying this for four years. tRump never should have been elected, no matter how it happened. He brought out from the sewer every single horrible thing about this country.

Soon, but not soon enough, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be President and Vice President.

Image may contain: 2 people, text that says 'THE MOTHER CKER! IMPEACH'
Best President and First Lady-Barack and Michelle Obama.

Witch Ball, Y’all

Following the horrific acts of violence –sedition, insurrection, treason–in the Capitol with the knowledge that it was incited by that orange POS, discovering that many people from my little town are among his supporters, I decided it might be time to secure my house with something more than an alarm system, just in case civil war breaks out.

I had never heard of witch balls until I was looking for clear, empty Christmas decorations to send to the Angel Boy 2.0 as a craft. Have you ever heard of them?

My thought was that he could go on a nature walk with mom and dad and pick up special things like we do when I’m there; rocks, seashells, leaves, feathers–but I didn’t know that it also had a historical spiritual connection.

Image may contain: text that says 'Witch Ball A Witch Ball is a hollow glass sphere filled with herbs, crystals, sticks and stones (etc) According to Appalachian Mountain folklore, a witch ball was tool used protect the home. "hanging a witch ball near window, or in a corner of a room provides protection from negative spirits and thoughts, but they can also produce luck, much like the purpose of an upturned hanging horseshoe.", ilmypsychicjane'

I sent four clear plastic spheres thinking it might engender a family crafting experience, but I discovered that AB 2.0 appropriated them all for himself–he’s a hoarder like me–and I guess they’ll remain stashed away in his bedside drawer until I can finally get there and do it with him.

I also got a couple for myself and had a great time filling them and now one is hanging near the front door and one is near the back door so I feel completely protected and all demons have been vanquished.

Mine contain cinnamon sticks, red toyon berries, lavender, rosemary, bay leaves, sparkles, sea salt, sand, seashells, rocks, feathers, rosehips, white sage, faux pearls and diamonds, and crystals.

It was fascinating to see how many things I could fit inside the sphere. I felt like I should be mumbling an incantation under my breath as I was meandering around my garden, but I only laughed out loud and thought happy thoughts.

Just another very witchy day at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Hiking Mount San Jacinto

There are amazing all-season hikes to the top of Mount San Jacinto near Palm Springs high above Coachella Valley.

San Jacinto Peak is 10,834 ft. and was known to Cahuilla Indians as I a kitch (or Aya Kaich), meaning “smooth cliffs”.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway hike is the less strenuous option. My son and his friend climbed all the way up and it’s not easy, but taking the tram (which is SUPER SUPER scary) is a perfect way to enjoy what John Muir referred to as “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”

Spectacular view.

We see beauty all around.

Palm Springs

I especially love the contrast of these stark white branches against the blue sky.

Yummy Vegan Veggie Lentil Soup

My doctor totally depressed me cos she told me her husband’s best friend just died from Covid-19 and because she’s on the frontlines treating patients, she cautioned me to be extra careful and stay home and away from people.

I decided it was a great day to make another version of my favorite hearty and healthy soup.

Lentil Tofu Veggie Soup

Ingredients:
*Carrots, 3 large
*Celery, 2-3 stalks including leaves
*Tofu, whole package
*Lentils,1.5 cups
*Kale, 2 cups
*Broccoli, half head
*Canned organic tomatoes, 28 ounce can
*Bay leaves and other garden herbs

–Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large pot.
–Add roughly chopped carrots and celery. I don’t like onions so I didn’t add them, but go ahead and chop up half an onion if you like them.
–When they’re nicely browned and have released a lot of flavor, add dried lentils and six cups of water along with a couple bay leaves.

–Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer.
–Add bite-sized pieces of broccoli and tofu along with chopped kale.
–Simmer for about an hour, stir every once in a while. Add more water as needed.
–Add a large can of diced tomatoes in juice and any herbs to taste.
–I picked sage and oregano and thyme from the garden.
–Add 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes, and salt (optional).

–Serve in a large bowl with freshly chopped cilantro and basil. I’ve been lucky enough to have beautiful lettuce this season, so I picked a few fresh leaves for a salad to accompany this delicious soup.

Sometimes I make a crusty French bread but I didn’t feel like it because I’m sad about almost losing our precious democracy but I might make vegan biscuits tomorrow cos I’ll eat this soup for a few days.

It gets better every day.

From Sea to Shining Sea

January 6, 2021

Today is a day that will live in infamy.

I thought I was going to watch Judge Judy; instead there’s coverage of a coup in DC, our seat of democracy–on the day we were to join both Houses and formally count the results of our election, another step in the process to January 20 where we inaugurate Joe Biden as President.

On the steps of the Capitol, on the Senate floor; shots fired, vandalism, violence. Nothing less than domestic terrorism.

Unbelievable.

It seems as if Capitol Police were apparently complicit in allowing these activities, taking selfies with the criminals, allowing them access to the Capitol.

This piece of shit president and his attempted coup will go down in history as the darkest hour in America’s 250 years of democracy. He called for a rally of his idiotic followers on this day, he stoked the fires of hatred and violence, he told the crowd to use force to change election results.

Today’s attempted coup began with Trump saying to the crowd: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” and then telling them to head to the Capitol to give Republican lawmakers the message.

Like President Biden said, “This is sedition. This is insurrection. Enough is enough is enough.”

Senator Duckworth said they are planning to resume the symbolic vote count as soon as Capitol is secured. Democracy will not be bullied!

Trump needs to be immediately removed from office and arrested for sedition and insurrection.

This is the day after Georgia saved our country by electing Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Thank goodness for Stacey Abrams. She is truly a national treasure.

Are you watching?

Birds of SoCal

Here in SoCal it’s pretty warm during the day, bugs are out and about and these noisy little birds snapped them out of the air right in front of me. It was daylong entertainment, at least half a dozen birds catching flies and (I think) termites in mid-flight.

Black Phoebe

Scratching on the ground, a few California Towhees make my garden their home. They love their reflection and tap at the window or anywhere they can see themselves.

This was a peaceful first weekend of 2021.

Best Mantra for 2021

Let’s all take a deep breath and say goodbye to 2020. Hindsight truly IS 2020, isn’t it? At least now it is, haha.

I like to post a mantra to welcome each new year, and saw this one from the Dalai Lama to maintain peace of mind and remain free from worries.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

This mantra is often chanted to overcome physical, mental or emotional blockages, although it can also be used for blockages in relationships. It can help release hope for a particular outcome and bring the energy back to yourself, generating inner peace and clarity.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

To reap the most benefits, mantras should be chanted 108 times (mala beads can help.)

“Om tare tuttare ture soha”

Happy New Year!