Procreate Muse

So I’ve been learning Procreate since the summer.

I haven’t drawn in years. YEARS.

I realized how out of practice I was when I “tried” to teach an Outschool class on sunflower painting. My painting was so horrible. I can’t even. 

Where did my muse come from? Oddly from D&D. 

#leohusband and I got invited to a family D&D game, and to prepare I started watching Critical Role.

Not only did I fall in love with the game, the story, and the characters, I fell in love with the fan art. 

For the first time in years since my medical challenges started, I wanted to draw. 

I had bought Procreate and hadn’t learned to use it. I looked up tutorials and I started. This is the first drawing I’ve done on my own without a tutorial. 

This is my D&D character, Zera. There’s room for improvement but I’m oddly proud of it. I'm still learning so look for some posts to come soon.

I have been drawing while waiting to go under for my stem cell procedures. It's been nice to have time to practice my drawing while waiting in an uncomfortable situation.

Happy Read in the Bathtub Day!

I can't even begin to tell you how much a good bath can help. Whether it is mental sanity or pain relief, it sure makes a tough day better.

A few years ago, my neuroinflammation was so high I soaked in an Epsom salt ice bath every night for a year! It was severe, and my #longtimebff used to compare me to an Olympic athlete. 

Now I can soak in a warm Epsom salt bath, and it does help my muscles at least. It's a give and take. The cold helps my Adhesive Arachnoiditis, and the warmth helps my Ehlers-Danlos. Ugh, dammed if I do, dammed if I don't. LOL!

When I saw it was Read in the Bathtub Day, I got giddy. Covid has given me next to zero alone time, but I think I can scrape some alone time out tonight to finish a chapter in my current read, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.

It is a fascinating look into how money works in our lives. When I'm done, I'm definitely putting my favorite quote to the calligraphy pen, especially since I'm being very budget-conscious in 2021.

What is on your nightstand right now? I'm always looking for a new good read!

I finished the Amelia Peabody series in 2020 and need a good new series to get hooked into!

Using Art to Cope

I'm thrilled to announce that I am offering art classes for adults. In the last five years, I have missed teaching art and I am happy to have found my way back to my passion, 

I came to this amazing decision after so many requests from the children of the parents I was teaching online at Outschool. So here we are! In the next few weeks, this blog will be making a transformation. I will still be covering chronic pain advice but through the lens of art, craft, and hobbies.

This amazing, and oftentimes, frustrating journey I have been on has shown me that art in any form helped me cope with my chronic pain. 

I want others to have the chance to see what art can do for them, whether it is physical, spiritual, or mental healing.

I am putting packages together for live in-person adult lessons via zoom. Nothing beats in person!

The major companies, skillshare, craftsy, etc., have you learn from pre-recorded videos. This atmosphere limits your ability to get instant feedback or have the instructor switch to a different way to teach if you aren't getting it.

Live lessons ensure that you are getting the instruction you need, instant help, and small positive group feedback helps you connect and learn with others that share your passion.

The first classes I will be offering will be Modern Calligraphy and Brush Lettering!

Check back soon for updates for class times and sign up!

10 Supplements to Try for Chronic Pain

It's no secret that I take a lot of supplements. When you have two diseases that have zero cure and are life have to get creative. Lately, I've had a lot of people reach out to me asking advice for dealing with adheasive arachnoiditis. Several of you have asked what I take specifically. That list has changed over time for me and I will include it, but I want to focus on some basics to try. 10 Supplements to Try for Chronic Pain 1. Bovine Colostrum
Bovine Colostrum is a complex, nutrient dense fluid produced by cows after giving birth. It is loaded with immune, growth and tissue repair factors. Bovine Colostrum has remarkable muscular-skeletal repair and growth capabilities. Studies have shown that colostrum is the only natural source of two major growth factors. These growth factors have significant muscle and cartilage repair characteristics. While not a pain killer or an inflammation reducer, the two growth factors promote wound healing with practical implications for patients with chronic conditions. Colostral growth factors have multiple regenerative effects that extend to all structural body cells. Repair = Pain Relief 2. Taurine 3. Arginine 4. Glutemine and 5. Carnitine These amino acids play a pivotal role in pain management. Taking extra amino acids, on top of what you can get by eating protein, effects the three key pain modulating neurotransmitters, endorphin, serotonin, and GABA. Check out this article here from Practical Pain Management. 6. Curcumin with Black Pepper Turmeric's main active component, curcumin, is what gives the spice its yellow color. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential treatment for a number of health conditions, including reduced pain and inflammation. In order for curcumin to be absorbed by your body you need to take it with black pepper, so make sure your supplement has black pepper. 7. Michael's Naturopathic Recovery Zymes™ Proteolytic enzymes circulate throughout the body, supporting tissues and organs by digesting proteins left over from healing processes, such as immune system action. You have an increased need for enzymes due to aging and chronic pain. It also encourages recovery from muscular exertion, which is helpful because people with chronic pain often experience muscle atrophy and muscle death. 8. Ginseng 9. Ginger and 10. Ashwagandha These adaptogens are a select group of herbs that support the body's natural ability to deal with stress. They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. This may be physical, chemical or biological needs. Adaptogens, relieve pain by suppressing inflammation in the body. Stress relief also contributes to lower pain levels.

Plantain Enchilada Casserole

We are deep into self quarantining or social distancing...whatever you want to call it. I'm calling it Introverts Delight.

I'm definitely tired of cooking three meals a day. It seems that my attitude just doesn't want to eat healthy lately. It didn't help that I went straight from a cruise, that took first place in the Best Cuisine category, to cooking at home when getting fresh produce is not really a thing. I'm not risking the grocery store and the closest pickup date was three weeks out when we got back.

Besides, quarantine calories don't count right?! LOL!

This past weekend we had a virtual hangout with #tomboybff and her husband. I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownies and after eating just one, I had reached the end of my "Quarantine Fun Eating."

I'm ready for salads and when I feel safe getting to the grocery store again, I will start a Whole 30.

Until then, I'm eating what we have and making it as relatively healthy as possible. That said, I am eating beans which are neither Whole 30 or Paleo. However, if I'm being honest, I just don't give a damn. Beans have amazing nutrients and as long as I take some activated charcoal and drink some ginger and fennel tea with it I don't get the 'awesome' side effects caused by them.

Plantain Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6 ● Cooking Time: 1 hour

4 large semi-ripe plantains
1 T of avocado or coconut oil
2 cans or bags of red enchilada sauce (I like Hatch Organic or Tres Latin Foods Red Enchilada Sauce)
3 cans of black beans
1 cup divided of Mexican Cheese Blend or Vegan Shredded Cheese
1 1/2t of cumin
1t smoked paprika
1t chili powder
1/2t garlic powder
1/2t onion powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1t of chipotle chili powder or cayenne (optional)
Diced sweet onion, cilantro, and guacamole/avodaco for toppings

Sharp chef knife
Cutting board
Parchment paper
2 baking sheets
Large saucepot
Cooking spray
13x9 casserole dish
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Run a sharp knife to 'score' the plantains to make removing the skin easier. Do not cut through the plantain. Gently remove the skins. Slice the plantain longwise into 5 thin slices. Tip: Make sure your chef's knife is super sharp.

2. Spray or brush the slices with avocado or coconut oil, salt and pepper to taste, and spread them out on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cook in the oven for 24 - 27 minutes, switching the sheets halfway through cooking.

3. While the plantains are cooking, prepare the beans. Add the beans to the saucepot with the spices and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

4. When the plantains are done, reduce the heat in the oven to 375°.

5. Layer in order: enchilada sauce, plantains, beans, and cheese in a greased casserole dish. Alternating layers twice.

6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.

7. Top with desired toppings and eat!

We paired ours with a Cuba Libre (the fancy name for a rum and coke) and fresh mint from my new apocalypse garden which I started from grocery store scraps. More on that later if I get some free time to blog again.

My free time has beena bit divided between my 7 month old puppy and entertaining #leohusband. Ha!

40 Things I've Learned -- Advice from a Chronic Pain Warrior

One of life's milestones has knocked on the door and I have opened it willingly. I turned 40 last week and while some regard 40 with a sense of dread, I'm excited.

I don't toot my own horn often but I look damn good.

I don't look 40.

I would like to thank my mom for telling me how to use moisturizer (specifically Roc), and Botox. If you want to look like this then I say start moisturizing heavily in your 20s, morning and night, wear sunscreen religiously and start with small Botox sessions maybe once a year in your 30s.

I am grateful that I don't look 40.

I started this list when I turned 30 on Facebook. I like to add to it every few years or so...with the brilliant information I have been forced to learn, usually the hard way...LMAO.

The last time I updated this I was 36. That means I haven't updated this list since I learned I herniated my L4/L5 the summer of 2015.

I hadn't my life-altering medical procedures of lumbar myelogram or back surgeries, plural.

My life was, hindsight is 20/20, less complicated and less painful (physically, emotionally, spiritually) than it is now. Oh how much I've grown and realized my trivial issues in the past are child's play with what I have to deal with now, physically and emotionally. HA! Let's just say No. 16 is so beyond true.

40 Things I've Learned -- Advice from a Chronic Pain Warrior

1. Moisturize
2. Mom's always right
3. When you're in your 30s don't dress like you did in your 20s
4. Go to college, it's waaay better than high school.
5. Learn something new every day, every week, every month, every year
6. Laughing is better than crying, but sometimes you do need to cry
7. Make mistakes, but learn something from them
8. Don't be passive aggressive with your friends
9. See the red flags and actually heed them
10. Use your power for good, not for evil
11. 100%, 100% with your significant other and...
12. Never be too tired for your significant other
13. Protect your brain: don't do drugs
14. Go outside, get some nature
15. Failing lets you appreciate your success
16. Life is hard; kick you in the teeth hard.
17. Say you can do it, believe it in your body and soul, and you can
18. Sleep
19. Me time
20. Call your family or "family"
21. Get a hobby, your kids don't count.
22. Thank God, literally, that it didn't work out
23. When there's nothing left have faith
24. Everyone has problems, be understanding
25. Get to know your parents as an adult, as a peer
26. Don't put yourself in a situation (if you can avoid it).
27. Don't let it fester but don't beat a dead horse
28. Dry your wet head in the winter
29. Fight for the one, no regrets
30. Go to the doctor
31. Watch what you put online
32. Wash your face before bed
33. Say I love you to the people you do love as often as possible. You never know when could be your last.
34. Get back on the horse. Who cares if you fell?
35. Be okay with letting go of the negative people in your life. Frienemies aren't worth your time and frustration--no matter if you have known them forever or not.
36. It is good to be hopeful and expectant but ALWAYS have a backup plan.

My new pearls of wisdom...

37. God is not a superhero who is going to fix your problems but He will mourn with you.
38. Iyengar Yoga is one of the most powerful, beneficial, and transforming things you can do for your body.
39. Get a dog.
40. Don't throw in the towel on your life until you've exhausted every single possible option.

2020 Bullet Journal

The long, or not so long-awaited 2020 Bullet Journal Layout!


To tell the truth, I'm not nearly where I'd usually like to be in my bullet journal...having the entire front section done along with the first month. However, I've got January done and most of the important things laid out.

So boom!


I got a beautiful bright orange bujo this year as a nod to my awesome new job VIPKid. I'm going with a grayscale theme inside to complement the outside. I'm also getting back to my early roots using some Zentangles and Tangram sketches.
I'm loving it so far because I can just pick it up and Zentangle when the moment strikes or when I'm waiting at the DMV...which I might be doing right now. Good times!

I'm also not going to track every damn little thing this year. I need to focus on what's important and as it turns out not everything is as important as I think. Just the basics:

Where is my pain at?
How do I feel?
What am I grateful for?
What do I need to do today? this week?
and...when the hell is my period going to start?

There you have it. I'll migrate the rest over when I get the chance but its low priority. Now back to today's To-Do List!


Word of the Year 2020 - Renaissance

Hope. Love. Happiness. Peace.

These are the type of things I want to feel in 2020.

Dear Reader, you are probably wondering why I didn't pick these words to be my Word of the Year. Well, it's simple really.

To achieve the above buzz words of emotional goals, I first have to rebuild...recreate...rebirth myself, my habits, and my idea of daily life.

So it's a rebirth, or a renaissance because I'm bourgeoisie.

Word of the Year 2020 - Renaissance

My inspiration for my word of the year came from one of #leohusband and my favorite YouTube Channels, Extra Credits

They had this video out a couple of months ago called A Rebuilding Year. It gave me hope that I could turn my burnout around and take a year to basically FIFO (Figure It the F&#$ Out).

I had so many astonishing but life-altering things happen in such a short time. I got a new diagnosis, a new job, a puppy, and switched from the yoga studio to a gym membership.

My schedule now has an additional day of physical therapy, my mornings start unbelievably early for my job, my puppy is basically a baby that needs to learn everything, and if I'm spending the money, I better get my happy ass to the gym. LOL!

I need to figure out how all this applies to my life and what that looks like now. If you would like to hear more about Word of the Year, check out my awesome podcast with Rebekah Svensson, Chronic Warrior Women.

In fact, Dear Reader, if you are wondering how I am able to make a blog post with all of this and a puppy...I'm at Starbucks and the puppy is taking his post-breakfast nap in his house. Then I'm going to do my normal Friday grocery store run. My Starbucks is right next to two of my favorite grocery stores. Boom. Two birds. One Stone.

If I have extra time, I'm going to get a little reading time in for my peace of mind and my soul. I hate to admit it but I started Daring Greatly by Brene Brown in November and I still haven't finished it. I may even get a little bullet journaling in.

Speaking of bullet journaling, I'm doing something different this year but you will have to wait until next Friday to see.

Which brings me to this Dear Reader, I'd love to post every day, but let's be honest...that ain't gonna happen. LOL! So I'm shooting for Friday's.

Wish me luck this year in my Renaissance while I FIFO! WooHoo!!!


Puppies and Chronic Pain

Sometimes I am totally blown away by the love my husband has for me. My fiscally conservative husband (putting it mildly) bought me a puppy.

Now before you hit me with the flame comments from hell, for not adopting, we have tried to adopt 3 dogs since Tiger passed and all were failures for one reason or another. My health conditions, plural, led us to believe that we needed to train a puppy from the ground up to be what we need for my pain.

Now two weeks in, #leohusband and I are obviously insane because we got a puppy, but we are so in love.

Well, not insane actually because, after our last three disastrous attempts at dog adoption, tiny puppy energy is much more manageable than big dog energy or anxiety.

Plus, I put my foot down and said, no more big dogs. We loved Tiger and we were lucky that my in-laws raised him to be a wonderful, trained, and obedient dog. However, when Tiger's health started failing and I couldn't do anything physical to help him (pick him up). I was in a terrible bind and felt so helpless when I couldn't care for someone I loved so dearly.

I really wanted a small to medium dog, that didn't shed a lot...again I don't want to flare up my chronic pain with constantly cleaning the house.

#bubbletwinbff found the solution, a Mini Goldendoodle. One Insta search later and I was in love. Luckily, there was a breeder in my city. Sweet!

Yes, they are as cute as you can imagine.

Enter Freddie. Our new addition to the family. A cute fluffy baby shark that knows sit and down sometimes rings the bells on the back door to pee and poop, and our main goal is to get the puppy biting under control before he is 6 months old.

For those of you not familar with the very popular childrens song:

The only downside is my adhesive arachnoiditis has completely flared up with the bending over to pick him up. I've haven't been lower than a 6 on the pain scale for over two weeks now.

I'm learning the hard way of course that I just have to kneel down and let me tell you, kneeling down on the frosty cold and wet grass at 4:00 in the morning is not pleasant. So I usually end up bending over and scooping him up before I have to go upstairs to teach. Even that has flared up my SI Joint, which has also now, in turn, flared up a terrible case of Sciatica.

And crate training...

We hired a professional dog trainer with 15 years of experience and his crate training philosophy in conjunction with potty training makes sense. If #leohusband and I cannot actively watch him, he goes into his house or is on his leash in the house with me.

The trainer likens it to a baby and a crib or one of those toddlers you see at Disney World on a harness. However, it's hard to listen to Freddie beg to be let out of his house so he is usually on the leash by my side. He has learned to be calm and quiet over the last week in his crate, but it's obvious he would just prefer to be with momma. I cannot wait until he is potty trained so he can join me for my afternoon power nap. Oh yeah, puppy snuggles!

Other than that, Freddie joins me when I cook dinner. He can't seem to get enough of laying on my feet at the stove, the island, and the sink.
I started my emergency medicine in the hopes I can get this pain flare under control before actual Thanksgiving. I am hopefull that with all the awesome things I have learned in the last three years I can do it like the Badass Babe I am.

Just Too Damn Busy

I think the title says it all. I'm not bragging about being busy. I don't want to be busy.

In fact, I totally hate those people who act like it's a badge of honor to be totally swamped. Stop it you pretentious pricks. Insert eye roll here.

I can't seem to catch my breath since starting my new part-time job in the wee hours of the morning, and it's been much worse since the time change. Ugh!

In fact, I can't believe I have the time to update today but I brought my laptop to my doctor's appointment and I finished my feedback for this morning's classes...

So here I am.

No. I haven't died. I've just been busy and when I have a break the last thing I want to do is blog.

Between work, the gym, physical therapy, and trying to get a healthy dinner on the table, most days I nap or I want to binge-watch Netflix and relax.

I actually started writing this post last week, waiting for a doctor's appointment to start and after she came in, I closed my laptop and when I got home, I fell asleep on the couch, until #leohusband got home. Man, talk about being completely drained.

Me and My BFF (My Back Brace) on Vacay
I've also been out of the social loop, on vacation, so I tried to spend a week catching up, with friends, family, and doctor's appointments. Gosh, there's only so much energy to go around y'all.

To further complicate matters...? We've got our favorite festival coming up, the Texas Renaissance Festival. Once again, I'm going for gold to try to win the costume contest. I love that I have something to funnel my creativity into but I always end up waiting until the last minute to get my costume together, even though I started it in August.

Now, and here is the big news. We're getting a puppy, the day after Ren Fest, because I'm apparently a glutton for punishment. It's not good timing but it's never good timing to get a puppy so we might as well jump into the deep end.

Well, that about sums it up. I'm guessing you probably won't hear from me for a while since I'm going to be adding puppy training into my already charlie foxtrot schedule. I'm hoping to be back up and blogging in January 2020!

Wish me luck! Much love to my readers!

Jobs for People with Chronic Pain

I'm back at work! I really can't believe it. I feel like it is one of those pinch me I'm dreaming moments.

Years ago when I made the switch from graphic design to teaching, I knew I made a wonderful life decision. While a lot of parts of teaching are stressful, I found that there are just as many wonderful, heartwarming moments. I love the fact that some of my old students still contact me and keep in touch.

I'm one of those teachers that always viewed my students as my own kids.

So when I had to give up my teaching career because of my adhesive arachnoiditis, it was life-altering, and not in a good way.

I have spent the last 3 years rehabilitating my body and while I've had setbacks, I've also gotten stronger and learned to deal with my condition.

Jobs for People with Chronic Pain

If you haven't heard, I have a podcast now with my PIC #awkwardyethealthy Rebekah Svensson, Chronic Warrior Women. She has been such a positive influence in my life. In fact, she is the reason I have my current job!

Rebekah started teaching with VIPKid back in June. When we were chatting one day after recording our podcast she told me how much she earned with them in July and I was shocked.

I immediately asked, what was the name of that company? Can I teach there?

The answer is yes.

If you have a 4-year degree in any subject and 1 year of experience with kids (church, babysitting, teaching, etc.) you can teach with VIPKid!

I'm so happy I kept my teaching certificate current! I passed the initial assessment and got an interview scheduled, which was a 5 minute demonstration of a short lesson. After passing the demo, the next step is passing a mock class for one of the teaching levels.

With my experience in education, I had no problem passing the Level 2-5 mock classes, with practice, neither will most people!
I'm in my 4th week of teaching and loving it.

I've taught with high pain, with my tens unit on and ice packs with zero problems. If you meet these qualifications I recommend giving VIPKid a shot!

Just let me know and I will send you an invitation link to fill out an application!