Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pencil Me In

"Is it rude to sign a greeting card in pencil?" my friend Jill wondered out loud at her going-away party at my house last September.

I'm sure there are many different answers to that question.  (Emily Post may agree or disagree, however...)

In my humble opinion, the simple fact that someone took the time to write heartfelt words, package them up in a lovely card and present them to a loved one is the complete opposite of "rude."  

The deep thinker in me chooses to take it a step further, and view the "pencil" symbolically.  As a metaphor for dealing with life's events.  An elaboration:

-The fact that my best friend Jill lived in Denver for six years and recently moved to Des Moines reminds me that many things in life are not permanent.  We penciled Jill in as a "Denverite," and that doesn't quite apply now.

-The idea of "erasing" said pencil marks can look different to a variety of people.  To some, the erased marks can fade so much that over time, they can be completely forgotten.  One can choose to view the eraser as a tool for starting fresh.

-To me, pencil marks are permanent, whether you see them or not.  The words written in Jill's card to me may fade over time, but the message will stay with me always.

Crayon, Sharpie marker, blood, whathaveyou -- the gesture is what matters most.

On a lighter (or choose) note, since it's December 31st today, it's only fitting that I reflect on some of the things I've "penciled in" over the past year.  I'd make a detailed list below, but I think you get the jist. (I'll sit down with my pencil on my own time and crank it out...) Deep down I'd love to permanently erase some of my pencil marks from this past year, but I realize that they will permanently remain in my heart and contribute to my life's complete sketch.  Faded, worn or smudged to oblivion, they're my own personal marks, and I'm happy to have them.

Here's to creating sharp, strong and lasting (or lightly-pressed and smudged) pencil marks in 2012!  


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Introducing...Pretty with Pelvic Pain!

I realize my last few posts have consistently been about my interstitial cystitis.  IC has taken over my life a bit lately, which hasn't left much time to blog about much else.  I do have more exciting life stuff to share, such as the kitchen remodel my husband and I are in the midst of, our new car, my brand new job, etc.  Lots to write about...I promise to elaborate soon!

In the meantime, I want to introduce a fellow blogger. Meet Pretty with Pelvic Pain, also an IC-er, who seems to struggle with pain and pain management way more than I do.  If you are so inclined, check out her blog.  
My inclination is that the random support will mean more to her than any of us realize.

More to come!
Thanks for reading,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One more day...

September will be over in one more day, which means Interstitial Cystitis Awareness Month will be over as well.

Unfortunately, the pain and discomfort that IC-ers (like me) face every day will continue indefinitely.  By helping to raise awareness, however, hopefully we can help others with bladder / pelvic pain to minimize symptoms and discover coping strategies to make life more normal and enjoyable.

I thought I'd share a wonderful video that I recently stumbled upon that features a plethora of really useful resources for people living with IC.  I've done my fair share of research in the past, but Jill Osbourne, President of ICN (Interstital Cystitis Network) and fellow IC-er, introduced me to a few new books that I'm very excited about checking out.  Click here for the video (don't forget to grab a pen and some paper to jot down the book titles that interest you!)
Finally, the ICN web site has a wealth of information and support.  If you know of anyone who is struggling with bladder / pelvic issues, feel free to encourage them to bookmark it.

Thanks so much, once again, for helping me to spread the word about interstitial cystitis, and for your interest in sharing resources that can be helpful for so many people.

Cheers to a pain-free October!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Oh say can I see (I.C.), by the dawn's early light

During an I.C. flare, by the dawn's early light, I can usually be found in the fetal position, silently whimpering in pain.  Each morning of this past weekend, unfortunately, was no exception.  Thanks to Interstitial Cystitis (I.C.) ,a bladder disease I was diagnosed with a couple of years ago,  I dread the process of waking up most mornings.   

My husband and I returned this evening from a 4-day trip to New York City -- my first time ever visiting The Big Apple.  I was so excited to explore, see the sights, sample the delicious food, and revel in all things classically "New York."

We squeezed a LOT into our mini vacay.  We walked and walked and walked and walked... stopping periodically for a delicious pizza slice, a scrumptiously sweet canoli (yum!), a steamy bowl of matzo ball soup, glass(es) of wine, and of course, Dunkin Donuts coffee!  (How on earth does Denver NOT have a Dunkie?)
Well most mornings, typically everywhere from my lower abdomen and lower back to my upper legs will feel like they are being stabbed with knives and razors.  Sounds awesome, right? Ugh...

What's more, during a full-blown "I.C. flare," I dread doing most fun things, such as: drinking coffee or consuming anything else that contains caffeine (chocolate! soda!); eating citrus and nearly almost every other fruit; nibbling on many types of vegetables, especially tomatoes (pasta with RED sauce!); enjoying a glass of wine with dinner or having a beer or two on a weekend; having a tub of yogurt for breakfast or cooking with any sort of spice that is actually tasty; or munching on any type of cheese that is aged, such as parmesan, asiago, cheddar, etc.  (Did I mention that I'm ITALIAN and that I love to cook and eat?)  Oh, and how can I forget!  I'm 32-years old and I'm married, so I'm no longer afraid to admit this: making love to my husband.  There, I said it.  It HURTS.  I.C. makes it HURT.  It's excruciating.  And my husband is a saint.  Moving on...

I opted not to blog about my I.C. in the past because I was embarrassed to admit that I have a bladder disease, in addition to ADHD, General Anxiety Disorder, and Clinical Depression.  I figured, "Who on earth is going to want to read about any more of my issues?" The stigma attached to the ones I have mentioned in the past has been enough for me to handle.

However, the more I read about I.C., (and the more painful flares I go through), I realize that my "shortcomings," per se, are basically all connected and related.  Especially anxiety and I.C.  For example... New York was GREAT!  Exciting, stimulating, emotional (ahem...ground zero!  Ellis Island!), etc.  Anxiety-producing?  You bet.  Hot, crowded, stinky, loud, difficult to manage, too.  For someone who finds it tough to focus to begin with, it ended up being one exhausting trip.  A trip that offered plenty of delicious meals that, coupled with the anxiety-provoking nuances of our daily excursions, really did a number on my poor bladder.
So.  Now I'm finally back home in my cozy office with my lazy dog and spunky new kitten, feeling reflective and a bit confused.  Should I feel bad about all of the delicious "bladder disease trigger foods" I enjoyed in New York?  Should I be angry with myself because deep down I knew that trying to pack in so many exciting activities during our New York days and nights would make me anxious, exhausted, and in need of an alcoholic beverage?  Should my tail be between my legs because I enjoyed our trip to the fullest, while deep down I knew I'd be spending the next month in sometimes debilitating pain because of my choices?

I never thought that "spreading awareness" about I.C. would do much good until now, but pondering these questions has motivated me to write this post.  The truth is that I was on medication (Elmiron, taken 3 times a day) for an entire year for my I.C.  It didn't work.  There are a few other alternatives, but they are not exactly the best options for me at this point.  I realize I don't have cancer or any other life-threatening condition.  I am able to go to work each day and for the most part, do what I need to do.  Some I.C. patients don't have that luxury though.  Some can't work because they need to urinate 60 or more times a day.  And that just sounds like pure hell.

Finally, it is very well-known that the medical community does not know enough (they don't know much at ALL) about I.C.  I've realized that if I can help spread awareness about this disease, then maybe it can make its way to someone in the medical community who can advocate for more research so I.C.-ers like me can have more options available to them in regard to treatment, advocacy and support.

Would you be so kind as to help me to spread the word?  Forward this blog post to friends and loved ones, and/or visit  Your support is so greatly appreciated!

(ADHD-er, IC-er)

Monday, July 18, 2011


Concert t-shirts and ticket stubs.  Kitchen towels embroidered by family members. Trinkets and souvenirs collected from vacations and trips taken together as a married couple.

My scanner came in handy for the gift I made for Mark for our third wedding anniversary.  Although the pictures below are blurry and it's tough to decipher the detail in the piece, I hope you get a general idea of what it represents.

It's very special to me, and one-of-a-kind for my amazing husband.

Happy Third Anniversary, honey!

Your wife,

Saturday, July 16, 2011


If you would have asked me five years ago if I'd done any "fourteeners," I'd say, "Fourteen what?  Shots at the bar?"

My Colorado friends might roll their eyes at this post, because most of them have at least one fourteener under their belt, and others have a goal of completing as many of the 53 fourteeners in Colorado as they can. (Those not familiar with Colorado, hiking or mountain elevation can learn exactly what I'm talking about here.)

Me?  I'm just happy to say that I completed ONE.  I hiked Grays Peak last July with my husband.  I didn't make it to Torreys Peak which was less than a mile from the summit of Grays, however.  Instead, I opted to take a 30-minute nap on a boulder, 14,000 feet above sea level,  the spectacular view of the Rockies spread out before me, as Mark ventured up to Torreys and back.  Eh, you win some, you lose some.

Well, I hiked my second fourteener with Mark yesterday (his 4th!) -- Mt. Bierstadt.  Here's a handy map, courtesy of
Needless to say, I'm a little sore today.  Not "I just ran a marathon" sore, but definitely close.  It's a good kind of hurt though...knowing that I accomplished something that was, frankly, really really tough!  On the way down as I gasped for the little oxygen that the altitude offers, and tried not to slip and fall into the river we had to cross over on a log (dirty-dancing style!), I resorted to repeating a simple mantra to myself.  "Sleep, beer, Beau Jo's pizza.  Sleep, beer, Beau Jo's pizza.  Sleep, beer, Beau Jo's pizza..."   

Mark and I stopped at Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs for an amazing meal on the way home to Denver.  I took a much needed rest when we got home.  Annnnd...we knocked back a few beers last night with friends in celebration.  Mission accomplished.

Here we are at the summit (14,060 ft.):
(Check out the rest of the pics from our 6-hour climb and descent on Mark's Picasa site here )
Sure, by Colorado standards, it's really not that big of an accomplishment.  People out here run a marathon UP Pikes peak.  They ride their bikes from Denver to Boulder and back.  Some choose to rock climb in the summer and ice climb in the winter every weekend.  Etc., etc. Well "Chrissy standards" are considerably lower.  I'm pretty damn proud of making it to the top of two fourteeners.

And was the best beer I've tasted in quite some time!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some Staple It Together...

...and call it bad weather.

I call it... ART!

Meet my new passion, MMA.  No, not mixed martial arts.  Mixed Media Art.  I've been toying around with canvas, paint, glue, paper, oil pastels, ephemera, etc.  I thought I'd share my very first pieces, even though they're very amateur and I have no idea what I'm doing (hint hint...go easy on me!).

Here goes:



"Orange Crush"

Orange Crush is a bit blurry, but yep, those are red pepper flakes and rosemary leaves.  Mixed Media at its finest!

Hope you enjoyed my three new babies,

Monday, July 11, 2011

Picture This...

Well, I'm no longer on Facebook.

I am, however, still addicted to photography!

Would love for you to check out my Picasa site here.

If you like what you see, become one of my "followers" on Picasa so you'll know when I add new photos. 
Here's a sneak preview of some of my photos that you'll find there:

 One of my favorite girls!

 and my favorite boys!

 Strollin' in Denver, CO

 Puppies in Lakewood, CO

 Denver's City Park

 Mumford and Sons concert, The Fillmore, Denver, CO

 Mumford and Sons Concert, The Fillmore, Denver, CO

 Lake Powell

 My husband Mark, camping in Mesa Verde National Park

 Four Corners 

 Hiking Arches, Moab, UT

 Our dinner table at a restaurant in Moab, UT

 Tour de Fat, City Park, Denver, CO

Pearl Street Mall, Boulder, CO 
Thanks for your support!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Runnin' on Empty, But Runnin' Nonetheless

Sure, I'm not in high school cross country shape.  Or college track shape.  Or even post-college marathon shape.  I'm 32, I've slowed down quite a bit, and unfortunately have more gray hair than I know what to do with (thank GOD for my hair colorist...)  

There was a point when I thought my running days were behind me.  For a few years I simply just did not enjoy it.  Perhaps I was sad because I knew I'd never be as fast or as in shape as I once was.  Or the fact that I ran sans i-pod because I didn't have one and I became bored to tears.  And then a few injuries came into play.  Etc., etc., etc.

Despite said excuses, I'm back.  Not sure for how long, but at least until this October.  My husband and I are signed up to run the Denver half marathon on October 9th this year, and although I'm a bit nervous about staying healthy enough until then, I'm definitely pumped for the training.  Mark has been my training partner over the past few months (along with Tucker), and so far, things have been great.

For as long as I can remember, running has been a constant in my life.  Well, not exactly "constant," per se, but I know I can always turn to running after a long hiatus, jump right back in, and pick up where I left off.
(Boy, am I going to be sad down the road when I can't say that anymore!) This time around, I'll be doing it in Denver, with my husband by my side, for 13.1 miles.

Wish us luck!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Dearest Thingportants and Friday Fumblings

Dear Thingportants and Friday Fumblings,

I had high hopes for you a while back.  As usual, I created you with the highest of expectations.  Ah well.  Twisty, turny, tumbly, fumbly...

Although it's been quite a while since the dawn of Friday Fumblings, I'm in the mood to move forward.  So here's some of my new thingportants, in the "dearest" way possible.


Dear Star Jones,

Get over yourself.

Dear Adobo Seasoning,
You give my cooking a little something extra every time.

Dear i-pod,

Where are you?

Dear Hair,
I think you're a little too light.  Time for some lower lights.

Dear Tucker,

It's just wind, buddy.  No need to tear up our NEW bedding.

Dear Mark,
Thanks for discovering adobo seasoning!

Dear Brayden,
Happy 1st Birthday, buddy!

Dear All My Children,

You make noon so, so, so worth it!

Dear Chamomile Tea,

Thanks for your natural calming properties.

Dear Skin,
Please, please, please stop breaking out.

Dear Real Simple Magazine,

You DO make life real simple!

Dear Camera,
Where are you?

Dear Backyard,

Don't worry!  We'll spruce you up with flowers and plants very soon.

Dear Heart,
Please stop racing.

Dear Body,
Heads up.  Many runs and hikes, including 14-ers, headed your way!

Dear Jess and Jill,

You are my sisters from other mothers. (Sounds better with "brother...")

Dear ADHD,
Never mind.  I can't remember.

Dear Sense of Humor,

Dear Android Evo,
You're welcome for the new, bigger battery.

Dear Mark,
Thank you...  You know why.

Dear Holland,

Lucas and I miss you today!  Hope you're having a blast in the mountains with your family.

Dear Lucas,

I hope your 7-month-old shots aren't too traumatizing...

Dear Denver,

Thank you for the sunshine!

Dear Chicago,

My heart aches for you...

Dear Timing and Circumstances,
You are certainly peas in a most realistic pod.

Dear Family,

I wish you were closer.

Dear F,


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Video Confessions of an Anxiety-Prone, Scattered "Hot Mess"

It's been a rough couple of days for me.

Nothing specific happened to cause said "roughness."  It was just ME. I happened to myself.  I explain these rough patches to my family and friends as "bad brain days."  We're all prone to them.  I get that.  But if you really know me, you're aware of the inner workings of my "bad brain days," and how often they tend to occur.  (If you don't really know me, you can get caught up here.)

Well.  I've felt like the little boy in this clip, Luke, lately:

And I child, I did this very same thing because I didn't have my glasses on.  I also walked directly into a plate glass wall.  What evs...

As a result of my "bad brain days" as a child, my immediate family lovingly (Uh...I think...) used to call me "Mallory."  As in Mallory from Family Ties.  This clip explains it all:  (excuse the foreign subtitles)

Man...looking back as an adult, I'm a little offended!  Good thing Mallory was pretty  :-)

Well, over these past few days, my house has looked like a tornado hit it.  Or a bomb went off. Or -- you get the point.  My car, my purse(s), my work bag(s), etc. -- all a disaster.  My appearance, too.  My outfits, hair, makeup (or lack of) can pretty much be summed up in one word:


The more messy each fragment of my life has gotten, the more anxious I have become.  Which, as my cycle of ADHD, anxiety and depression has conveyed in the past -- it's' a recipe for disaster.   My heart has been racing since Monday.  My sleep patterns have been less than desirable.  My dog, who tends to be destructive as a result of my anxiety, has torn apart our new sheets and mattress, and chewed my favorite sneakers to an unwearable state.  I was super late for my best friend's birthday party, and as a result of racing to get there, I arrived with smashed cupcakes.  The list goes on.

During these "rough patches," however, I try to keep a positive attitude and an open mind.  It's tough sometimes, but we all go through stressful periods, and I know that part of being a responsible human being means working hard to get myself back on track.  I know I'll be able to turn things around -- heck, I'm Denver's Tumbling Leaf.  I created this blog for that very reason.

However, when I stumble upon videos like this one, I can't help but get a little ticked off.  I don't care if he's a "Christian" comic.  He needs to do a little research on what life will be like for his three "ADHD kids" ( WITH ADHD) when they grow up.  Listen dude -- my kindergarten teacher called my parents too.  I'm still impulsive and hyperactive.  During my "bad brain days," I have to battle the guilt that comes with being late all the time...a destructive dog...smashed cupcakes...etc.  It's NOT fun, and to me, it's not funny.

Well.  I'll get off my high horse now.  I know I shouldn't let this get the best of me.  I have a wonderful life, and could have it much, much worse. I just needed to vent today.  So I did it here.

Now that I've blown off some steam, I'll remind myself (and you too!) to just...BREATHE.  It's typically what gets me through these tough spots, and ultimately helps me turn my little leaf.  I need to.  I "needtobreathe."

Enjoy this song...I absolutely adore it.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Byrne Urban Scholars is recruiting new mentors!

Interested in learning more about becoming a mentor for Byrne Urban Scholars?  See below for information on an upcoming Open House at Breckenridge Brewery in Downtown Denver.  Hope to see you there!  

What a Difference Six Months Can Make
Getting to Know My New Mentee

It's been a little under a year since I wrote this post about becoming a mentor for an amazing Denver organization called Byrne Urban Scholars.  I had just completed the interview process and was anxiously waiting for the mentor / mentee matches to be made.  Around this time last year, my future "mentee," a.k.a., the young woman who I would mentor throughout the her high school years, remained a mystery.

I had little-to-no idea what was in store for me and my future mentee.  I was nervous, excited, and eager to take on the "mentor" role in any appropriate capacity.  Would she need help with her homework?  How could I set a good example for her?  How do I cultivate a trusting relationship with her?  I had so many questions... First and foremost, however, I was just eager to learn her name!  To shake her hand.  And of course, if the situation called for it, to give her a big, annoying "Chrissy-style" hug.

I met Juanita in August of 2010.  I clearly remember driving anxiously to her house to meet with her, her family and our case manager.  I was especially apprehensive because I was told that her parents' first language was Spanish, and I only knew enough Spanish to say "hello," "thank you," and to ask, "Where's the bathroom?"  In the back of my head though, I knew it was perfectly normal to have butterflies. I promised myself I'd keep a level head and try to just be "present" for the initial meeting. So when I pulled up to her house, I took a deep breath, slowly got out of the car, and gladly left the butterflies in the back seat.

I quickly realized that I had nothing at all to be nervous about.  Her family welcomed me with open arms, and our case manager did an excellent job translating for us so we all felt at ease.  I felt a comforting sense of closeness between the beautiful fifteen-year-old sitting across from me, and her parents and siblings.  Although it was a quick meeting and Juanita was fairly shy, I could tell that the next three years, though challenging, would be filled with fun, excitement and meaning.

Since August, I've learned that although Juanita can be quiet sometimes, she isn't really all that shy.  She's not afraid to take risks, and she is very successful in school.  She just started her first after-school job, and she has amazing friends and family.  At first, I struggled with knowing exactly how to be a good mentor to her, because, well, she's just a downright wonderful young woman.  She is kind, respectful, and has a strong work ethic.  Her grades are great, and she is very motivated to go on to college.

Eventually, I figured out that I could help her by simply letting her know I'll be here for her if she ever needs me.  Whether it's now, next year, throughout college or beyond -- I'll be available.  I can support, advocate or inspire.  Most importantly though, I can just "be."

Open House

Please join us at our Annual Open House!    

Thursday, March 24th  
5:30pm ~ 8:00pm
Breckenridge Brewery
2220 Blake Street ~ Denver 80205

This fun evening event is a great way to mix and mingle with other Byrne Urban Scholars supporters as well as learn more about our programs. Don't miss our brief presentation by a couple of our outstanding graduates who will share how being an Urban Scholar impacted their lives.   

RSVP to Susan Duncombe at 

Bring a friend! Join us for a drink and some appetizers.  
We look forward to seeing you there!   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"I don't need incentive."

I'm absolutely beaming with pride.

As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I'm a mentor for a sophomore high school girl.  Tonight we celebrated her hard work in school and impressive first semester GPA with a pizza dinner. 

As we were sitting at the table with our case manager and a few other mentors and mentees, we casually chatted about how the job interview went that she today had after school.  She described being a bit nervous, but it helped that she was interviewed by a peer.  She also mentioned that the organization offers a higher wage for students with good grades. 

My initial response was, "Wow!  What great incentive to work hard in school and get good grades."
Her blunt and realistic reciprocation:  "I don't need incentive."

I can't really describe how "wise-beyond-her-years" that sounded to me.  This fifteen-year-old is confident and driven, and knows what she wants for her future.  To her, getting good grades and working hard is simply not an option.  It's just what needs to be done.

To say that I'm impressed would truly be an understatement.


To Juanita:
(Keep it up, girl...and the higher wage will be yours, throughout your remaining years of high school and beyond!)

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