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.

Magical Purple-Blue Ceanothus

I have NEVER seen a color like the blue of this ceanothus. It’s a deep intense pure purpleblue, an amazing gigantic specimen.

Ceanothus has many ethnobotanical uses. Native Americans would mix the flowers with water to create a soapy detergent. It really works! Roots and leaves have reputed medicinal properties, and the long, flexible stems of some species are used in basket-making. The common name for Ceanothus americanus, a species from the eastern United States, is New Jersey Tea, which refers to its use during the Revolutionary War as a substitute for traditional British tea.

The camera definitely doesn’t capture the saturation of color. It’s full of the sound of buzzing BEES.

#WordlessWednesday

Happy Mother’s Day

While I wish all moms (and grandmas) a very happy day, I realize this is a bittersweet time for some–toxic and dysfunctional maternal relationships don’t conjure up flowers and breakfast in bed, and I understand.

It makes me sad to think that there are so many children (and adults) who are in pain especially on Mother’s Day because they didn’t get the mom they wanted and needed –that’s our most primal bond–we literally were joined to each other by our umbilical cord–we are forever connected. No matter what.

I learned so much about how to be a mom from my mom–she was truly amazing.

Happy Mother’s Day to the original Charlotte. I still miss her every day.

“Is your wine making you sick?”

That was in the subject line of an email I received, and boy oh boy, when I read that, I sure clicked on it FAST.

It was from a company called Scout & Cellar and they kindly offered to send me a sampling of their wines to try.

“Yes, PLEASE!”

I invited a friend to join me in a tasting and we had a happy time drinking and discussing the merits of each wine.

It all boils down to individual taste, but I can say that we both enjoyed ourselves immensely.

When I first received the email, I hadn’t noticed that these wines are not sold in retail outlets but they’re an online company so they’ll arrive straight to your home, which is pretty cool.

What a great idea if you’re still thinking about gifts for Mother’s Day, especially if you’re still leery of in-store shopping!

Here’s a quote from their website:

We’re on a mission to disrupt the wine industry so we can do better for you and better for our planet. Going beyond organic, our Clean-Crafted™ wine is always free from synthetic pesticides and chemical additives and sweeteners. We partner with growers and family-owned farms to create delicious wine that’s better on the vine, in the bottle, and in your glass.

I appreciate the opportunity to sample these lovely fermented grapes!

To learn more about the company, please visit https://scoutandcellar.com/

As a postscript, I have to be real and share that I REALLYREALLY don’t like the name of the wine called Dove Hunt Dog (for obvious reasons).

(I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own.)

Will You Bee My Friend?

I used to be terrified of bees mainly because I’m allergic — which is certainly a plausible rationale for fear, but I have so many bees here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells–they love rosemary and lavender and other herbs, that I’ve decided to quell my anxiety and bee friendly.

Bees are incredibly valuable to sustaining life on Earth; they deserve our love and protection, along with a healthy respect for their ability to cause pain. Angel Boy 2.0 and I spend quite a bit of time researching bees.

This little guy took a rest on the deck from his hard work saving Planet Earth and was perfectly amenable to pose for a series of photos and then he buzzed away. More flowers, more pollen, more honey!

Art/Creativity/Imagination

I cropped out five-year-old Angel Boy 2.0 because his parents don’t really like his photo on social media but I was so impressed with his creativity that I thought it would be perfect for a #WordlessWednesday submission,

I’m enchanted by the way his brain organized these colorful squares, but it was completely his own design and placement although his dad helped him with the glue gun.

Dandy Lion

I used to think that was how it was actually spelled and that the humble and sturdy dandelion certainly was a very “Dandy” Lion.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thoughts of my Angel Boy sneak up on me around Mother’s Day. I especially cherished the bouquets of dandelions and other wildflowers (or weeds) he’d gather for me. Could there be anything more lovely than knowing my angel wanted to gift his mom with what his mind and heart considered to be treasures? I don’t think so.

The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves, so I wasn’t totally wrong!

The hardy little dandelion is the only flower that represents the three celestial bodies: sun, moon, and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon, and the seeds resemble stars.The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening. Every part of the dandelion has value: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine, and dye for coloring. Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant. Seeds can be carried as far as five miles from their origin.

I’m nodding my head. It’s fitting that the dandelion represents celestial bodies as my Angel Boy is still and always has been my sun and moon and stars.

Close your eyes, blow the seeds from the puffball, and make a wish. BELIEVE.
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Simply stated by Walt Whitman/Leaves of Grass:

The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close
emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics,
had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass—
innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful
face.

Who Am I?

Although I could probably ruminate for a few hours to ponder that existential question; light a candle and meditate with a mantra, I’m not. Instead, I’m wondering is what and who is THIS?

Does anyone know? I’m not sure it’s albino but I have never seen an alligator lizard this color. I can’t find any information at all. He comes out every day from a spot near the veggie garden and hangs out for a bit.

Most of my other alligator lizards look more like this:

Totally different, right? Even the scales look different. Maybe I discovered a new species or maybe it’s an odd, aberrant mutation. I sent this photo to the local herpetological society to see if they can identify my new friend.

If you have an idea, let me know!

UPDATE: Mystery solved! San Diego Herp Society got back to me right away with this great website and information that pretty much explains the odd coloration. Apparently it’s a variation of a Great Basin Fence Lizard. If you scroll down the page, they talk about Rusty-Orange Variations.

http://www.californiaherps.com/lizards/pages/s.o.longipes.html?fbclid=IwAR35ItZm3k6mLudiGD0b8ZOZ9b_16js0U-fGIvNFu2vinK4cggMxBchtfQ8

Happy World Wide Naked Gardening Day!

That’s today, May1, and that’s also a definite hard NO from me, whether it’s “world wide” or “worldwide”!

I’m out in the garden, fully dressed, thank you very much. However, if YOU choose to celebrate sans clothing, please wear sunscreen and DO NOT send pics.

Say Hello to My New Garden Visitor

Welcome, friend!

I hope to see your babies one day, too!

Are you thinking about Pepé Le Pew? I’m thinking this is another beneficial creature that enjoys a stroll around the garden along with the coyotes and bunnies and possums and raccoons. I don’t include rats or ground squirrels in that group ‘cos I really really don’t like them!

Another Day, Another Sunset

Walked the beach last night and the sunset was spectacular. No Green Flash though, and no whales or dolphins either, but it was the first warm evening with a hint of the summer to come.

The beach was crowded with happy people emanating positive thoughts and cheery greetings because it appears that we are collectively anticipating the rise out of darkness.

I had a fun chat with an adorable high school boy who had come out of the water after the sun went down. I told him how I used to pick up my son at the beach and he would be the only one still out in the water after dark. If you listen closely, I bet you could hear faint echoes of my voice yelling at him, “GET OUT OF THE WATER NOWWWW!” I sent the young man on his way with the admonishment to stay safe ‘cos moms worry.

Another day, another sunset. Mother Nature is magnificent.