Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fun giveaway on The Plaid Barn

Check out this giveaway.  Seriously.  I do admit that I am posting this because it gives me 25 points toward winning, but seriously, it's a cool giveaway, check it out.


Decorated Envelopes!

This summer I participated in an envelope exchange project called The Elevated Envelope.  We were assigned a group of people to whom we were to send decorated envelopes!  This season's exchange theme was "sweet."  

I think my relationship with Peter is pretty sweet.  Also, he's a very sweet, kind, nice person!  So I chose to decorate my envelopes with maps of North and South America to represent our long-distance relationship.  (BTW he's in Cali now, yay!, and looking for a job, so if you hear of anything...)

I used watercolor and marker.

I'd love to be real, old-fashioned pen-pals with any of you, but ONLY if you promise to send decorated envelopes!  :)  Email me your address and let's get started!  alonewithmytea(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, July 30, 2012

Art Journal Challenge - NATURE

For the week of July 30 - August 4


Who will join me?


What is the Art Journal Challenge?

See last week's entry.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Art Journal - "The World"

This week's art journal theme was "The World."  This was an extremely busy week so I was only able to do one entry...

 This is watercolor only... I like how the water looks textured and the continent border lines are fluid. 

Check back soon to see the world-themed envelopes I did for The Elevated Envelope!

Have you started your art journal yet?  I'd love to see what you create! :)  Email photos and I'll put them on my blog!  Alonewithmytea(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Continuing frustrations with the medical profession


Had an appointment with an ENT today.  When I made the appointment, they asked me which insurance provider I have.  I told them.  They said, "ok" and scheduled the appointment.  When I arrived at the appointment, I handed them my insurance card and they said "We don't accept that insurance. You'll have to pay in cash and then submit a claim and your insurance may or may not reimburse you."  

(It would be $140 for the visit plus whatever other charges they deem necessary for any extra procedures they might have to do.)

I was sooo MAD.  I told the lady, quite frustratedly, "Are you kidding me?  I can't afford this out of pocket right now.  That is something you should have told me when I made the appointment.  Cancel my appointment, I'm leaving.  This is really dumb."

Then I left.  She should be glad I didn't chew her out, which is what I was doing in my mind.

I'm just glad the appointment was in El Centro and not San Diego.


My voice does not work.  Simple as that.  I am so frustrated at people telling me I just need to practice more, or I just need to exercise my voice, or I'm just rusty, or I just have breathing problems.  Unless you are in my body, experiencing what I'm experiencing, you do not know.

Practicing. Doesn't. Help.  Exercising (my voice) doesn't help.  In fact, it often makes it worse.  The more I sing, the worse it gets.

My vocal problems began my junior year of college.  I have been in a steady decline since then.  I always wondered if it was because of a teacher that encouraged bad habits, but I don't think so.  Around 4 - 5 years ago, I saw an ENT in Beverly Hills.  I was getting hoarse during choir practice.  This doctor was great!  He put a camera down my throat and told me that I did not have any nodes, but my acid reflux was very bad.  I took medicine for that, and things seemed fine for awhile.  But these past two years have been miserable.

I KNOW I have post-nasal drip because it is often very hard to swallow, I feel like I'm choking.  I always feel like my throat is swollen, my lymph nodes are mildly swollen (according to a recent doctor who I saw for acid reflux).  OBVIOUSLY something is not right, yet the ENT in San Jose told me I didn't have sinusitis, nor was there anything wrong with my sinuses.

Still my voice continued to deteriorate.  My voice teacher at SJSU thought it was just technique problems and would be an easy fix.  But, obviously, it wasn't.   It's now to the point that I just can't sing.  I can't even do sirens.  It's as if there is a brick in my throat that stops the sound at a certain point.  I can push through that "brick," but that is not healthy and anyone listening can tell that it is dangerous to my voice to do that.

So here I am.  Sick and tired of doctors, sick and tired of being sick and tired...

Not sure where I found this...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Medical Frustrations

(This is not a comprehensive list, but it gives you a snapshot into what I've been going through for the past 2 years.)

July 2010 - Heart palpitations, Dr. #1 says nothing is wrong

October 2010 - Faint, Dr. #2 says nothing is wrong

March 2011 - Faint again, Dr. #3 says nothing is wrong

March 2011 again - Still feeling really icky - Dr. #3 (again) says I have tachycardia but there's nothing she can do about it

August 2011 - Faint, heart palpitations, hot flashes, etc., Dr. #4 (endocrinologist) accuses me of "self-diagnosing" and tells me nothing is wrong with me

September 2011 - Faint, heart palpitations, hot flashes, nausea, etc., decide to postpone school and move home, Dr. #5 (naturalist) says it's probably adrenal stress and prescribes natural supplements which don't help

October 2011 - Faint, heart palpitations, hot flashes, nausea, extreme fatigue, etc., Dr. #6 refers me to endocrinologist

December 2011 - Still having all the same symptoms as before, finally see Dr. #7 (endocrinologist), she says I have anxiety and nothing else and recommends I "treat that." (Obviously she is dumb)

January - February 2012 - same symptoms

March 2012 - Dr. #8  finally agrees with me that something is definitely not right, orders a lot of blood tests.

April 2012- blood test results from Dr. #8 indicate some estrogen issues and low blood platelets, Dr. treats estrogen issues, orders more lab work to retest blood platelets

May - 2012 - blood platelets are lower than before, Dr. #8 refers me to a hematologist

June 2012 - Dr. #9 (hematologist) orders more blood work

July 2012 - Dr. #9 gets blood work back and says it's not a blood issue but actually an autoimmune issue and I need to see a Rheumatologist (which will be Dr. #10)

So there you have it - 10 doctors in 2 years, and still no answer.  Though I feel as though I'm getting closer.


What makes me MAD is that Dr. #9 had my lab results for a MONTH but made me wait to come see him. Then when I finally had an appointment and see him, he told me he can't do anything more and I need to see a Rheumatologist.  Why couldn't he have called and told me this A MONTH AGO?!!?!?!  That is a whole month wasted.

Now I'm supposed to leave for Florida in two days and then as soon as I get back I'm supposed to move back to San Jose and start school.  If the doctor would have called me as soon as he got the blood results back I could have had the whole month of July to see a Rheumatologist.  Now I might have to wait another month or more.  This makes me SO MAD!


My main issue right now is extreme fatigue.  It's really hard to explain to other people how it affects me.  My parents and boyfriend see it first hand so they know that it's real.  This is not that I get a little tired.  Some days I completely can't function.  I am fine in the mornings for a few hours, but usually after lunch I just crash.  Some days are better than others and I have no way of predicting it.  Some days I can go until 4pm without getting tired.  Sometimes I wake up and can just tell that it's going to be an exhausting day.  Sometimes the fatigue just washes over me and I can't think, can't talk, can't move, just have to lie down and shut my eyes.

I don't know what to do.  I don't know how I can be in grad school when I'm feeling like this.  Granted, I am feeling a lot better than I was a few months ago.  I credit Dr. #8 for fixing some estrogen issues, which seem to have calmed down the nausea and hot flashes.  The heart palpitations are mostly gone but come back every once in awhile.  That could be because of whatever autoimmune issue is going on...  However, the fatigue is what worries me the most.  I don't know how I will be able to be in school all day, how I will be able to think and concentrate through the exhaustion...


I have lost my voice.  I have lost my ability to sing.  I have about a 1 octave range.  Needless to say, this makes me very very sad.  My vocal issues began about 6 years ago.  Maybe I should write a separate blog post just about this.  Yes, that is what I will do.  But tomorrow I am seeing an ENT and demanding he look down my throat with a camera!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Art Journal Challenge Begins Now!

Art Journal Challenge begins now!  Will you join me?

Theme for the week of July 23-28:



Many of you know I have an art journal.  I was using it almost every day, then I sort of slacked off.    

So I decided that I will start an art journal challenge!  

Keep reading...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Giveaway at How Does She

I just wanted to tell you about a giveaway going on at How Does She? http://www.howdoesshe.com/the-final-reveal-and-another-1200-giveaway

This blog is pretty cool, I have been following it for awhile and it just so happens that they're giving away a $1,000 visa card and a $200 Sherwin Williams gift card.  I have a few of you in mind who would probably love to win this, so go over there and enter.  All you have to do is leave a comment, it's super easy!  :)

I have a few fun blog posts coming up so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Tab - Submissions

want to showcase YOU!  

Do you (or your kids, nieces or nephews, grandchildren, etc.) have any interesting artwork? 

[Paintings, drawings, doodles, sketches, collages, photographs, etc?*]

Please send me:

1.  A picture (or two or three) of the piece of art
2.  A paragraph (or two or three) about it...  

[The story behind the piece is the best part!  Why did you create it?  What was your inspiration?  Where did you make it?  What did you use to make it? Do you have a website?  How can people see more of your work, etc?]

I am working on creating a submissions template, but for the time being, please send me an email!** 

Send me your art!  Tell your friends!  Let's get this blog overflowing with your creativity!   

*Depending on the success of this venture, I may consider other types of art - including music, dance, etc.  Send me a video and I may decide to include it! 

**By sending me an email  you are giving me permission to publish the contents on my blog and in any other blog-promotional venues (pinterest, twitter, etc).  I promise not to sell it or distribute it in any other manner without your written permission.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Calling all artists or wanna-be artists!

Hi friends!

want to showcase YOU!  Do you (or your kids, nieces or nephews, grandchildren, etc.) have any interesting paintings, drawings, doodles, sketches,collages, photographs, sculptures, etc???*  I would love to see YOUR (and their) artwork!  I want this blog to be a place where everyone can be included - experts and amateurs, old and young, experienced and inexperienced, traditional and non-traditional, you get the idea...

Please send me a picture (or two or three) of your artwork and a paragraph (or two or three) about it.  The story behind the piece is the best part!  Why did you create it?  What was your inspiration?  Where did you make it?  What did you use to make it? Do you have a website?  How can people see more of your work?  Etc...

I am working on creating a submissions template, but for the time being, please send me an email!** 

Send me your art!  Tell your friends!  Let's get this blog overflowing with your creativity!  This is going to be exciting!  

As always, thanks for reading!


Snail mail ideas
Art journal challenge
Contest and prizes!
Be sure to check back!

*Depending on the success of this venture, I may consider other types of art - including music, dance, etc.  Send me a video and I may decide to include it! 
**By sending me an email  you are giving me permission to publish the contents on my blog and in any other blog-promotional venues (pinterest, twitter, etc).  I promise not to sell it or distribute it in any other manner without your written permission.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What do you think?

What is asked of us is that we break open our blocked caves and find each other. Nothing less will heal the anguished spirit or release the heart to act in love.

- Raymond John Baughan

Found in A Light in the Window by Jan Karon

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I'm here in Auburn visiting my family and contemplating about life in general.  I took day trip to SJ to look at a potential place to live and catch up with some friends.  Peter got to meet a few of my friends and, luckily,  he likes them.  We had a fun time.  I am happy at the thought of seeing those friends more often.  

I am having better feelings about moving than before.  But my health still isn't 100%, and I still don't know what's wrong with me.  Mornings are great, I feel perfectly fine for a few hours.  Then after lunch I just crash.  I get so overwhelmingly tired that I almost can't function.  I have to sit down or lie down and close my eyes, maybe sleep a little.  It's very strange.  It doesn't happen every day, but when it does there's nothing I can do to control it.  Eating doesn't help, drinking juice doesn't help, caffeine doesn't help.  Tylenol or Advil helps a little but not enough.  It's very frustrating.  I'm not sure how I will be able to be in school full-time, but I will think about that when the time comes.  I will need to remind myself to try to take it easy and not over work myself.  

ANYWAY, on a better note, here are some pics of my vacation in NorCal...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Ode" (to the ever present daydream) - Poem

For some reason my family often refers to them as "poh-eh-yems."  ???


From my journal:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A day at the beach

Peter and I went to the beach a couple of weeks ago.  Finally getting around to posting some pics.

Friday, July 6, 2012

"Anything Pasta" - Gluten-Free Recipe

I call this recipe "Anything Pasta" because you can put in anything you want!  It's great for those days when you are running out of food but have a bunch of random stuff hanging around in your pantry.  Here's how it goes:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Thanks for reading my blog!  It would make me SO happy if you would take 2 minutes (or less) to fill out this survey for me.  I'm trying to figure out which direction to take my blog and your input would greatly help!  Thanks so much!

xoxo, Julie