Category Archives: Uncategorized

Miss Jean Louis – Pets vs. Companion

jeanA little known fact about Miss Jean Louis is that she grew up without pets. Her parents disapproved of pretty much anything with fur as it would cause pestilence in the home. At that time, plagues and other now-eradicated diseases were prevalent.

Once on her own (and this did not take as many years as one would think), she initiated a grand search for the perfect companion, because she saw her hunt as one for a companion in crime and time, not a pet. But she did not want a companion of the ordinary animal type, she wanted something unique.

Would she find one in a box?
Would she find one with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
eek, not a mouse.
She would not own one here or there.
She would not own one anywhere.
She would not own an average pet.
She does not like them, Get it, yet?

She would not, could not have a pet.
Not in a zoo! She let them be.
She would not like them in a box.
She would not like them with a fox
She would not like them in a house
She would not like them with a mouse
She would not own them here or there.
She would not own them anywhere.
She would not own an average pet.
She does not like them, Get it, yet?

So her search continued over years, then decades. From one continent to another. Always on the search for the perfect companion. One unique and quirky. One that fulfilled her need for love and independence. And lo, she found them! Not one or two, but several – the Wooster, Fograt, Elopus, Dinomite, and Slangaroo. She has, however, through her experience with scavenging the world for a companion, learned a thing or two about scavenging. Thus, she is now somewhat content to harness her amazing power and funnel it through the interwebs to help all mankind, for one week, each year. GISHWHES!

Spoon Theory

I came across this theory a few years ago, after taking many different approaches to having Lupus and haging to explain what it’s like, this theory is the simplest way to do it. I don’t have the energy to do things that most people do, and that is okay, but most of my friends don’t understand. So for those of you living with an autoimmune or chronic pain. Disorder and are trying to explain, or those of you who have a friend or loved one going through this, take a moment to read and think about this theory. It puts chronic illnesses in perspective in a beautiful and elegant way.

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Thursday is my favorite day!

Mrs. Scottsdale K RoyalSeriously, Thursday is the best day ever. It’s the day before the week-end (cause Friday IS the week-end); both my daughters were born on Thursdays; and it rhymes with “her way” – with some creative license.

Today, however, really stands out. My friend, Crystal, lands tonight to support me and my daughter returns from Hawaii. And…it is my last day really to prepare. Preparation has to be done among my other responsibilities, like my job. Contrary to popular belief, pageant girls are not like superstars – we don’t get paid to be glamorous.

Oh my good googli moo – did I just call myself a pageant girl?! and so it begins.

For those who wonder what a pageant competitor does to prepare, I’m here to blog it all for you!  Perhaps more meaningfully, how does someone who works full-time, consults on the side, volunteers more than 500 hours a year, teaches graduate courses, working on her dissertation, who is recovering from a concussion, and managing multiple major systemic conditions manage?

By losing her mind. If you find it, just lock it up, I don’t seem to need it right now.

Seriously though, my job is fascinating. I am a privacy attorney for an emerging technology company. Although my family and health come first, my job is a high priority with me. I actually enjoy the work I do and most especially, working for my general counsel, Rebecca.

All the other stuff is fit in around those. I maintain a comprehensive calendar. I text important reminders to myself and my husband of things I need to remember. I have a strong advisory board (mainly women who are important to me and who I value their advice and the fact that they don’t gloss over anything – they shoot straight from the hip) and good friends.  I make checklists and prepare for as much as I can ahead of time.

Oh pooie. I really cannot say that last one with a straight face. I try to do it, but I am more – SQUIRREL – oops sorry. Where was I?

I am master-level procrastinator. On the other hand, I do my best work under a crunch.

It bites me in the butt when we are in a rush to leave the house for something. For some reason, I then get in clean mode. I think it’s ADD. In the midst of triple checking in a rush that we have everything, I start then putting everything left in it right place. And Lord help us if I ever put anything in a safe place.

So today is work. conserve energy. get dress altered (which I just got last night… yeah yeah procrastination). spray tan. clean. butt glue. I forgot butt glue. Crud. Amazon prime just failed me. make sure I have plenty of gluten free healthy snacks. water water water.

Tomorrow is a lot more. I took the day off and booked the hotel for tomorrow night so I can be up and at ’em Saturday morning. Husband’s dinner is tomorrow. That should be cool.

And last but certainly not least – the pageant pictures for the program book went live. Check it out! http://mrsarizonaamerica.com/2016-contestants/ 

I am truly honored to be Mrs. Scottsdale and humbled by those who cheer me on. I’ve lost 28 pounds in the past 7 months and am much more fit than ever! Let’s bring it!!

 

Tassels, Tiaras, and Two Weeks

13221646_10209166550832011_3516464117704372866_n This week (now two weeks away from P-day)  has been a week of incredible ups and downs.  The biggest UP was my first-born, Dazlin, graduating with her Master’s degree in education! So Proud!

Her program was one through Arizona State University, where they cover the tuition for her to be certified to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and she was awarded a year-long living stipend.  In exchange, she commits to teaching two years at a local Title 1 school. She was offered a contract just over half-way through the program, so she is set.

Also, she took her teacher certification tests and aced them! She only missed like one question out of three sets for each test. This is the kind of teacher we need.

The DOWNs were mainly me and the pageant. I bought a dress at the start of this in a size up from the size I hoped to be (these dresses are generally made small). I have lost quite a bit in pounds and inches – going from 29% body fat (actually within limits for my height) to a 24%. lost an inch and a half in the arms and three in the waist. All my weight is pretty much belly. [I could seriously pass for pregnant and that might not be horrible in a Mrs. pageant, they value moms! bwuhaha] But apparently, I was a little too ambitious and will not reach the size I need for my amazingly awesome dress. And I don’t want to buy a size up. So….I will be out shopping for a new dress (that’s an UP coming from a DOWN).

The swimsuit represents the lifestyle and fitness portion. I am incredibly fit!! I am no longer using a walker, rarely have to use a wheelchair, have been off serious meds for years, hold a full-time busy job, plus consulting, teaching two law school courses, volunteering over 500 hours a year. And trying to finish my PhD dissertation. “Fit” to me is being able to participate in life. Expert level achieved! And I have set a goal – doing a triathlon. My training may take longer than most, c’est ma vie.

My DOWN? I was mostly okay with the swimsuit part until I tried it on. Can I opt out and do a talent instead? I was mortified (through no fault of the swimsuit… this is ALL ME). First, in my real size, the torso is too short and the top barely covered the important part of my breasts. On my lower abdomen, my c-section and hysterectomy scars hang out the sides and everything  is cinched (yea! Carol Wior) in for the middle (nice) and puffs out the edges (not so nice). I will wear one 2-3 sizes up to cover me from boob to butt. However, going up sizes means the boobs are huge (I’m a all-natural 32DD, so it’s not like I got nothing). sigh. First world problems, right?  The swimsuits ain’t that bad….it’s my body in it. I got some dangerous curves, baby. They just can’t be contained!

And the women competing are simply fabulous! They are so beautiful and sexy and smart! They look great in the swimsuit, too. And they seem to know what they are doing – some have done pageants before and here’s little, ol’ non-pageant me doing my own thang.  Huge UPs, I have hired the amazing Kelly Wisniewki to do make-up and will be getting spray tanned by the phenomenal Spray Tan Queen, Wendy Carlson. Elegant Rebel Skin Care, Laura Becker, has been taking care of all the facial and waxing (yep, went there) needs. Plus, physical training by the Pastor 0f Pump, Dave Ashley… truly whipping this body into better shape. I have researched and studied everything possible (including coaching by Red Haute Mama Kirin Christianson) and have practiced walking and posing, with the help of lots of friends, notably Laura Lawless Robertson, who was Miss Arizona 2002 and placed in the top 15 nationally. Now THAT is one sexy, intelligent woman right there. One of the best UPs?  My mentor, Tracy Elliott, Mrs. Arizona 2008. She talked me off the ledge after I tried on the swimsuit.

And sponsors! Mark Monson with V.I.P. Mortgage, Blue Orthodontics, Reveal Body Contouring (after the pageant, they will take care of the last 3 stubborn pounds), and Fitness by Design (Dave Ashley). These are some major UPs in my corner.

And I cannot thank my supporters often enough, loud enough, or long enough. My family and friends are definitely in my corner, cheering me the whole way. I won’t go into a Oscar speech here, but they all know who they are – and they are from all over the world. It’s humbling to be loved by so many people and I will strive to make them proud of me in this effort.

14 days and counting!!

 

 

My experience at an Arizona Polling Place

An open letter to the lady in the polling line,

Okay I get it. Polling lines are ridiculously long and I respect the fact that you have “been waiting in line for over an hour in the sun” but that does not, under any circumstances give you the right to be all high and mighty when the polling place workers ask you if I may go in front of you because of my disabilities. I’m not able to stand in line any longer after being here for an hour, and asked if I could be moved up just a bit or have a chair. And just because I am “so young” does not mean I am not disabled. To all those that don’t understand invisible illnesses, I may look young, I may look healthy, but getting up in the morning is a obstacle I have to face every day. My life isn’t easy, and I make the best of it. But people like you, with your narrow minded opinions and views are some of the things I must fight every day, and yes I can still hear your mean comments behind my back.

I almost gave up because of you. I almost said,  “You know what it’s not worth it to be looked at or to be talked about like this to vote. I don’t need to go through this. Then I stopped my self, and in the span of a few breaths realized that this is just one more obstacle in my life battling my disabilities. After taking that moment, I lifted my head and decided that I will not let people like you bring me down. I will not let my disabilities get the best of me, and I promise even people like you, to not use my disability as a crutch. To everyone else- vote. Go to the polls and make those polling lines ridiculously long. Do your civic duty and work towards making our country move in a positive direction. And please remember to be kind.

Sincerely,

The 23 year old with Lupus, Fibromyalgia and faces discrimination everyday, I forgive you.

My experience at this polling place was not the first time I have encountered discrimination for looking like I’m not disabled and I know it definitely won’t be the last. Every time I park in a handicap parking spot, or sit in a handicap spot at a show, I endure the disdain and hate of the people around me. The whispered insults and people who assume that just because I “look normal” means I am just being a jerk and using this space because I’m lazy. I have fought this my whole life, trying to explain to friends why I don’t want a hug, that I am in pain and cannot stand to be touched. Trying to explain to teachers, coworkers or employers why I have to use a cane on some days or am not able to hand write my notes. I have dealt with these doubts, taunts and bullying for over a decade, and yet I still get up in the morning and face a new challenge everyday. So for those reading this:

To those with disabilities- own your life, your body and your illnesses. They do not define you, they make you stronger, make you fight for the things your believe in, and never make excuses. Do not allow your disability to run your life or to bring you down. You are not your disability. You are a strong capable person who must overcome some incredibly difficult life circumstances.

To those without disabilities- if you see someone doing something that you have a negative reaction to, I implore you to take a moment, switch gears and wonder about that person’s life circumstances. Be kind, be open-mind and most of all, be giving.

To everyone reading this- Do not sit idly by and let hate and discrimination take over our world. Stand up for what is right, what is good, and what will unite all of us in this country. Stand up for yourselves, your friends, and the stranger on the street. You never know what someone is going through, and sometimes, the smallest thing such as a smile or s helping hand can make a world of difference to someone like me.

Finally, to the Poll Workers at The American Legion Matthew B. Juan Post 35 specifically Mr Russell- the kind man who stood up for me against a handful of people, thank you. Thank you for believing in me, and for doing something not many people would do. You are the kind of person I hope to become. May you have a great life and I hope to one day pay back the kindness you offered to me.

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