100 Movies: Update

Since writing my last blog post entitled, 100 Movies for my 30th Year, I have checked several of the “must-see” titles off my list. Thankfully my library has supplied several of the older titles while Netflix streaming actually has a fairly good variety of classic films. I thought it would be fun to review the films as I watch them, so keep reading for my reviews of North by Northwest, Jaws and Psycho!


North by Northwest


While not usually a fan of Cary Grant, I enjoyed this film! Alfred Hitchcock was a master in his craft, and this suspense/spy thriller has provided keynotes for filmmakers who followed.  Seeing the actors in iconic places such as the United Nations, Grand Central Station and Mount Rushmore provided plenty of enjoyment.

If you watch this movie, notice the following:

– Eva Marie Saint’s hair was cut short as directed by Hitchcock, and adds vulnerability to her otherwise strong character

– Although a thriller, most of the movie is filmed in bright sunlight

– The title is never fully referenced in the film and is left up to the audience to decipher why Hitchcock chose to call it North by Northwest




I confess, after seeing this film, I was puzzled why it was included on the 100 Best Films list according to the AFI. Then I realized: much of the movie was a nod to the classic book, Moby Dick, by Herman Melville.  The search for the creature lurking under the water, ready to strike at the most innocent…the veteran Quinn (played by Robert Shaw)  who, like Captain Ahab, is obsessed with hunting and killing this great creature…the three main characters searching for the shark on the Orca boat, named after the predatory killer whale.

Composer John Williams won an Oscar for his original score and it is completely understandable why. His use of two notes has, in my opinion, never been rivaled and makes this movie unforgettable.  The acting is strange at times however, and although Richard Dreyfuss fully embraced his role he takes it over the top on several occasions.  Many of the supporting characters are rather forgettable but perhaps that was intentional, so that the audience concentrates on the killer shark that strikes at young and old alike.

  If you watch the movie, notice the following:

  • Charlton Heston was considered for the role of Chief Brody, played by Roy Sheider

  • The film editing is incredible. Verna Fields was the editor; this was her last film before she passed away

  • Most of the shark footage was done with mechanical sharks, although the superb editing makes them look much more real




It’s true, I had never seen this classic thriller, although the shower scene was referenced in school studies on many occasions. The theme is complex and dark, holding your attention because of its psychological intensity. The acting was absolutely superb and even though Janet Leigh’s character is killed off, she is completely memorable.  The true acting genius of the film is Anthony Perkins, who plays child-like but complex Norman.  At first, you want to hug him, then you grow suspicious, but still want to give him the benefit of the doubt, then your eyes widen in shock when his “true” character is revealed. The musical score, especially the screeching violins that accompany the shower scene, sets the tone for the whole film. The screenplay itself is a work of art.

  If you watch this film, notice the following:

  • Hitchcock decided to film this in black and white instead of Technicolor, adding to the depth of the plot’s complexity

  • The film’s screenplay was adapted from a novel of the same name, based on a real-life character (a psychotic killer in Wisconsin)

  • Stuffed birds and reflecting mirrors are ever-present, showing layered symbolic imagery in its finest

  • The horizontal and vertical lines that streak across the screen during opening credits are a nod to the split and schizophrenic personality of the character of Norman


Check out the movie challenge I am completing during my 30th year in this blog post, 100 Movies for my 30th Year!


Other recent posts from me:

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Ah, My Life

My 30th Birthday

The Issue with MOLD

Mommy, What’s a Toxin?


Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers!happy-thanksgiving-pic-3


My list of gratitude this year is rather endless, but here are the major bullet points:


I’m thankful for

YOU, my dear and wonderful readers, for helping to make this blog what it is

my family, who love and support me despite this ridiculous illness

-my dog Bella, without whom I would not still be alive

-my Lyme wifey, who makes my life complete in so many ways

-my friends, who show time and again how loving and understanding friendship can be

-my LLMD, who has helped to give me my life back

-the Lyme community, who help me time and again with understanding and accepting my disease


I’ve included some Thanksgiving humor as well.  Have a wonderful Turkey Day everyone!





Ah, My Life



The other day, my boss scheduled a store meeting.  As I prepared to drive to work that morning, I wondered just how this meeting would go, considering the personality differences encountered in the few months I have worked there.


At the start, my boss “suggested” we take notes, to make sure we remembered everything.  Here are a few notes I took:

  • Store is too neat.
  • Store needs to be more clean.
  • When writing on a piece of paper, use every line.
  • When putting storage boxes back under tables, be sure to line them up exactly with the edges of the table.
  • When handling storage boxes, be gentle. They are showing signs of wear.
  • If using Windex and paper towels to clean the windows, don’t let the paper towel become too wet. It can leave streaks.
  • Don’t line up the coffee mugs. Place them randomly on the display.
  • Don’t tell her (boss) about things she already knows about (no one knew she already knew about those items) but communication needs to improve.
  • Go slowly when ringing up a customer.
  • Don’t go too slowly when ringing up a customer.
  • Count correctly.
  • Check that you counted correctly.
  • Do it right the first time and there won’t be any problems (even if no instructions are given on how to do it right the first time).
  • Ask more questions (at which point a co-worker asks a question; the response was a rather dismal attempt at enduring the fact that questions were asked)


  Having just turned 30, it made me feel like I was fulfilling my purpose in life, listening to an hour and a half of instructions such as these. 


  In the past 7 weeks, I have been ill.  Normally, I deal with numerous symptoms each day from Lyme disease, but in the past weeks symptoms such as runny nose, inability to breathe, inability to sleep, and headaches due to the massive amount of sinus issues have been added to the list.

Finally in desperation, I called my doctor.  To counter the cold/flu-like symptoms, I did things such as:

  • Make Elderberry syrup (great for fighting infections) multiple times
  • Make bone broth soup
  • Double up on Vitamin D
  • Triple up on probiotic
  • Quadruple up on Vitamin C
  • To name a few…

After hearing my list of attempts I have made on my own, my doctor decided to put me on antibiotics. Ugh.


Although some would tell me to “suck it up,” that “everyone gets the flu,” my story is a bit different. I’ve dealt with Lyme for nearly 17 years. In the past 6 months I have bottomed out my adrenals at least once, messed up my hormonal balance (which affects everything), endured multiple migraines that lasted up to a week each, and now, dealt with a “cold” for almost 2 months.


I’d really like a break.


For selfish reasons, mostly.  I’d like to find a new job.  Something that doesn’t make me feel like an idiot…something that allows me to make a difference in others lives.  I would like to go back to school.  Education is important when thinking about a career.  And yes, I’d like to pursue a career.


So in asking for a break in life, I’m really asking for a chance.  A chance to prove that my life means something, something other than defeating the daily challenges that come with Lyme disease.


  Ah, my life.

The life of a Lymie.

The Issue with MOLD

Years ago, while on the quest for answers to the extreme health issues I was experiencing, I saw a mold doctor.


Fortunately, I was able to see Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. Dr Shoemaker is a pioneer doctor regarding mold and the way it affects the human body; his knowledge on the subject extends far beyond any other health professional I have come across. He has written multiple books and trained doctors all over the world in his protocol for treating mold illness. Dr Shoemaker began to educate me on CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) as well as how easily and quickly any kind of mold exposure could effect the human body.

I completed several tests for mold toxicity and got my home tested professionally. Thankfully, mold was not a major issue in my residence, however my tests showed that my body was struggling with toxins. To help my body detox, I tried a variety of treatments, including infrared sauna, colonics, and cleanses for liver, intestines, and colon. Several years afterwards, I tested positive for Lyme disease and finally had a concrete answer for why I was so incredibly sick and toxic.

Thanks to Dr Shoemaker however, I became aware of the deadly effects of mold toxicity in the human body. It continues to amaze me how little heed people pay to this illness, even though practically every human being in the modern age has been exposed to toxic spores.


What is mold illness and what are the symptoms?

Mold illness is a biotoxic illness. The toxins you are exposed to cause chronic inflammation, and affect multiple systems in your body. The following are symptoms you may experience after being exposed to mold:

Fatigue ♦Weakness ♦Aches ♦Muscle Cramps ♦Unusual Pain ♦Ice Pick Pain ♦Headache ♦Light Sensitivity ♦Red Eyes ♦Blurred Vision ♦Tearing ♦Sinus Problems ♦Cough ♦Shortness of Breath ♦Abdominal Pain ♦Diarrhea ♦Joint Pain ♦Morning Stiffness ♦Memory Issues ♦Focus/Concentration Issues ♦Word Recollection Issues ♦Decreased Learning of New Knowledge ♦Confusion ♦Disorientation ♦Skin Sensitivity ♦Mood Swings ♦Appetite Swings ♦Sweats (especially night sweats) ♦Temperature Regulation or Dysregulation Problems ♦Excessive Thirst ♦Increased Urination ♦Static Shocks ♦Numbness ♦Tingling ♦Vertigo ♦Metallic Taste ♦Tremors

These symptoms can vary from day to day and are often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and allergies.


So how common is mold exposure?

Many believe that their home is safe, reasoning that if no hurricanes have hit down recently and flooded their basements, no mold can grow. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Any type of dampness can cause spores to grow.

rain-2Aside from obvious damp places such as your shower, plumbing problems or leaking roofs can lead to mold toxins growing behind drywall, under carpet or in wood. Even dry regions, such as the mid-west, report large amounts of mold. One study showed that Christmas trees can breed mold, releasing millions of spores into the atmosphere. In one cubic foot of indoor air, it is not uncommon to find THOUSANDS of mold spores floating around!


Another common theory is that only black mold causes health issues. Again, this is far from true. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ALL MOLDS have the potential to cause illness.



Mold is classified into three groups:

  • Allergenic molds
  • Pathogenic molds
  • Toxigenic molds

Common indoor mold varieties include:

  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus
  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium
  • Stachybotrys

If you can check off any of the following items in the checklist, chances are, you have mold issues.

Checklist was gathered from www.jillcarnahan.com.

  • Do musty odors bother you?
  • Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents or ceiling tiles were discolored?

  • Have you noticed water damage or discoloration elsewhere?

  • Has your home been flooded?

  • Have you had leaks in the roof?

  • Do you experience unusual shortness of breath?

  • Do you experience recurring sinus infections?

  • Do you experience recurring respiratory infections and coughing?

  • Do you have frequent flu-like symptoms?

  • Do your symptoms worsen on rainy days?

  • Do you have frequent headaches?

  • Are you fatigued and have a skin rashes?


Did any of those apply to you? Are you experiencing any of the symptoms associated with mold? Then my friend, mold illness may be an issue for you. Thankfully, there are easy ways to determine if mold is, indeed, affecting your body.

Check out these articles regarding the blood tests available for mold testing and what they will actually measure: http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/lab-tests and http://moldvictim.org/lab-tests-to-help-doctors-diagnose-mold-illness/

There is even an online screening test available, starting at $15, to help determine if neurological functions are less than normal (a common occurrence with mold illness). Click on http://www.survivingmold.com/store1/online-screening-test to try it, or check out https://www.vcstest.com/ for more information regarding this test.


If you are not ready to take a test but would like to read more on this subject, I recommend the following articles:










If you are interested in reading a book on this subject, Dr Shoemaker has written Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings. You can also check out his website, www.survivingmold.com. Remember, it is always best to do your own research; after all, you know your body best!

If you want to avoid mold in the future, I highly recommend getting an air purifier. This will help to cleanse your environment and provide a safe place for you to come home to, if you absolutely have to expose yourself to moldy areas (at work, school, or during travels).


Have you had any experience with mold illness? I would love to hear your stories, and find out what worked for you!


Check out my recent blog posts:

Mommy, What’s a Toxin?

My DIY Beauty Attempts

You Will Want to Read This Story!

Officially Past the 2-Month Mark!

working girl Aug 11 2016

Hello readers!

 As of the end of July, I officially passed the 2 month mark of being back in the workforce.  My new job is going well, all things considered.  Of course, adjustments have had to be made however this was expected since not too long ago I was considered bedridden from my illness.

 It was a wise decision to enter the workforce slowly with something part-time.   I work 25 hours every week and my body has needed the other hours to rest and rebuild.  In the near future it is my hope to continue progressing either to something full-time, or going back to school while continuing to work.  Time will tell.

 Retail is nothing new to me, but getting used to answering to a boss and working with different personalities has taken some time.  My co-workers are, honestly, exceptionally pleasant and make the hours pass quickly.  My boss is a bit of a different story.  She is extremely OCD and anal (the word “perfectionist” is often used as a nice way to describe her personality) and as expected with those traits, she focuses on the negative far more than the positive.  In fact, in the time I’ve been there, she has never complimented or praised me on the many things I’ve done right.  I have, however, gotten several notes about how the storage boxes are not being put accurately under the tables.  They make me laugh.

 Perhaps I am used to impossible standards with bosses but I highly doubt it; I’ve worked for sexual predators, lesbians who hit on their underlings and Vicodin-popping authority figures in the past. I’ve even been an authority figure myself and while I was certainly no perfect example, I learned that the attitude of the boss often directly relates to the success of the workers.  Thankfully, my age and maturity (haha) have helped me realize that my attitude is mine alone, and I am the only one responsible for it.  Therefore, no matter how many times I am corrected on the “proper” way to fold a t-shirt or the amount of tape that should be used when sealing an envelope, I am determined to smile and remain the person I am: in short, an energy-giver who, to the best of her ability, encourages and looks for the good in those around her.


 After all, this job is temporary and I’m certainly not making a career out of it.  But I am grateful for it.  I often wake up with a smile on my face because I realize just how far I have come with  my health struggles.  Yes, I am tired because of my new job and the added responsibilities, but it’s a GOOD tired.

muffins Aug 11 2016

 During my days off I am constantly reminded that life as an adult revolves around dishes, cleaning, laundry and paperwork.  It never ceases to amaze me how much time and energy these responsibilities entail and yet they HAVE to be done! No wonder rich people hire maids, accountants and personal secretaries; I certainly would if I had a few extra dollars laying around.  However, there is a silver lining: my cooking has drastically improved and I feel much more confident when attempting new recipes.  As I wrote about before, I am even at the point of creating a few of my own recipes.  These past two months I have made approximately 20 dozen cookies and muffins (many of which were passed around to friends and family).  My grilling techniques are also improving greatly (I used to be afraid of the grill but the intense heat of the summer made it even more miserable to turn on the oven).  A few weeks ago, I even grilled bacon. I highly recommend this method.

wedding pic Aug 11 2016

 Also, in less than a month, I will be a bridesmaid at the wedding of a dear friend.  I must admit dear readers, this wedding has caused me a lot of anxiety.  Mostly about my weight and the continued struggle to lose the last 30 pounds (I’ve shed 75 pounds in the past year and a half).  The intense desire to be “thin” has brought back some of the thought patterns of those eating-disorder years (I struggled with an eating disorder for nearly 5 years during my early 20’s).  It came as a surprise because I had been fully recovered for years when these thoughts suddenly began taking over my life again.  It didn’t help that one of my doctors began harping on my weight as well.  I understood her desire for me to be completely healthy, but “thin” often doesn’t equal “healthy” and many struggle to comprehend that. However, I’m eternally grateful to my family and close friends for continually reminding me that a number on a scale does not a person make.  This struggle has made me even more grateful for the victories I have made, including losing that large amount of weight and getting my body back to “working” condition.  One thing is sure, I’m willing to work exceptionally hard for my health.  That is far more important than being a certain size, just like financial responsibility is much more important than having a lot of money.

 Despite my struggle, I am excited for my friend and grateful to be a part of her day.  My dress, shoes and jewelry are ready to be shown off, and I’m looking forward to downing a few drinks that day.  It IS a wedding, after all!


 Dear readers, thank you for your faithfulness.  My struggle with Lyme disease is very real but it helps me tremendously to share my story with YOU and helps even more knowing that you are reading my little blog. Until next time, keep fighting my fellow warriors.

Oh Tooth Pain…how you suck!

These past few days have been…interesting.


First of all, I worked all weekend, which was great. I’m truly enjoying my new job and it is giving me confidence to pursue more from life. Every morning I wake up to go to work I am grateful, knowing all too well that any form of independence for a body riddled with Lyme disease is a sort of miracle.

I have a few complaints of course…I’m not perfect! My feet hurt tremendously by the end of the day (I don’t normally stand for hours upon hours…for my last job I had to force myself to get up and move around whenever possible). Also, my uniform is exceedingly plain. I’m dressing it up as much as possible (and getting many curious comments from co-workers for doing so) but I refuse to go over to the dark side by donning Dockers-like pants with tennis shoes. That’s just me, of course. But I’m still allowed to complain.

Other than those tragedies, work is good.

Then, a few days ago, a tooth starting hurting. Hurting like cra-cra…hurting like, as I so respectfully put it, “a son of a b****.”


This tooth has been sensitive for a while (at least a year) and I’ve been successful at treating it delicately enough not to cause tears. Yes, I needed to get it looked at a long time ago. Those who are also chronically ill will understand the need for SOME semblance of standing on your own two feet at times…I wanted to wait to treat my tooth until I could pay for it myself. All was going as planned until I got careless a few days ago.

And holy crap, have I been paying for it.


Tooth pain can be both fantastically painful and exceedingly annoying…like running your nails down a chalkboard while sticking a needle in your eye.

I’m seeing my dentist, but the soonest I could get in is four days from now. So, to help handle the pain, I’m taking over-the-counter pain pills while trying to numb the tooth area with Clove oil (it actually does help – Google it if you’re curious!)

The filling in my tooth may have cracked, or there may be an infection going on. Either way, it’s painful.

Thankfully, I had today to wallow in my sorrows so I drove to my local Redbox and rented several movies. I’m almost done with the latest Mission Impossible  (not a huge Tom Cruise fan but I was curious what they would do after four previous storylines). For my British fans, Tom Hollander is in it…I think he and Tom Cruise are about the same height.

The funny things you notice when in pain.

Time to go. Need to make sure Tom Cruise will save the world yet again…and need to take something more for the pain. Extra-strength Advil, anyone?


Still Working, Still Baking


I have officially completed my first full week at my new job!!

This is huge for me, considering it’s been two years since I’ve been able to work.

My new job is part-time and at most, I will work 25 hours a week. However, this kind of schedule was exactly what I wanted. If I am able to keep this job, I will confident that my health is good enough to sustain a more difficult schedule with, perhaps, a few school classes added.

Meanwhile, since I last posted, I have been baking.
My mom made a large batch of quinoa and I frequented Pinterest looking for recipes with quinoa. For dinner one night, I made a quinoa pizza crust that turned out to be quite delicious; the next morning, I baked Quinoa Blueberry Bars that were dairy-free, grain-free and sugar-free.


Also, I created my own recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin cookies. They passed the test after my 2-year-old nephew consumed several with a smile.


Yesterday, I worked on perfecting another recipe I created for Chia and Flax seed Bread. This bread is grain-free and sugar-free but quite incredible (in my humble opinion). It doesn’t hurt that it is guilt-free as well; the chia seeds and flax seeds are both considered to be super foods by many health critics.

Tomorrow I see my LLMD for a follow-up. I am excited to tell him that I am back in the workforce and enjoying life!

Stress, Anxiety and Life



Good and bad run on parallel tracks and they usually arrive about the same time.

That was a favorite quote of mine when I was younger. It rings true; you can’t have sunshine without rain, flowers without dirt, love without pain.

After 2 years of being too sick to get off the couch, I have begun working again, a fact that excites me and fills me with overwhelming gratitude.

And then this morning, I woke up with overwhelming anxiety.

I tend to worry about more than just the present  (something my counselor tells me is true with many people). Anxiety over past mistakes or situations, along with concern over the future are tendencies I battle on a daily basis.

Yes, taking care of my life TODAY is stressful, but add onto that worrying about the parts of my past and future I have no control over? It gets a bit insane.

Why do I do that? A wise man tells me every time I see him, “you have no control, so let it go.”

Well, screw that.

My mind says, if I worry enough, I will be prepared. If I think through it enough, I will know how to react. If I analyze everything, answers will become clear.

Question: when has that truly, ever worked?

  I hear your doubts, your arguments. I hear them because I still struggle with them.

Here is my personal experience.  Worry produces anxiety and stress. Stress causes me to become muddled. A muddled mind makes irrational decisions. Irrational decisions lead to second-guessing, which leads to self-doubt and lowered confidence. Low confidence leads to worry about what I’m doing wrong and stress over how to fix it. Stress becomes….well, you get the idea.

Of course, we still have to work through anxiety in SOME way. How do we handle it in a mature manner that does not lead to stress, muddled minds, irrational decisions and low confidence?

Again, here is my personal experience.

Using my journal helps tremendously. Writing my thoughts down, in a place no one can see them, helps to clear my mind.
–  Talking to someone I trust. This list consists of only a few people, friends that I know for sure will not judge me no matter what is going through my mind.
–  Deep breathing exercises. They help get me “out of my head.”
–  Walking – a short walk though, since I don’t have the energy for much. It’s really more about change of scenery.
–  Leaving it alone by turning on the tv or picking up a book.

I don’t have any magical cures and will be the first to admit that this issue is one I still struggle with on a daily basis.

Readers, do you think worrying helps you or hinders you? How do you deal with stress?

I’m looking forward to the day when I can pick up an alcoholic drink again (responsibly of course) and deal with anxiety that way.
That was a bit of humor to all you who over-think and over-analyze (like me).