Category Archives: Life

My Body is Confused


Hey, what’s this? A blog post? From little old me? Yup!

My body is continuing to torture me as I enter the end-stages of perimenopause and I just really felt the need to write about it. If discussions of female bodily functions squick you out, you may not want to read this. I just really felt the need to get this all down in writing.

I’ve been having perimenopause symptoms for at least 10-12 years now, all starting with hot flashes in my early 30s. My symptoms began early because of the fact I have always had issues with my reproductive system. I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome), I had a fast growing dermoid cyst on my right ovary that forced me to get a unilateral oophorectomy (in plain English, they removed one of my ovaries) at the age of 28 (which is when I decided to have a tubal ligation done at the same time).

I’ve known since my surgery that I would most likely go into early menopause because they essentially reduced the number of eggs I had by half. It took some time for my body to adjust to having only one ovary but the transition wasn’t too bad.

However in the last few years my entire menstrual cycle has been getting worse, especially once I was forced off the pill because of hormonal changes in my body. My OB/GYN tried to do an endometrial ablation on me to help reduce the symptoms since all the hormone therapies failed. Unfortunately the ablation failed as well and I was back to just suffering every month.

Around five months ago (May 2015) I was out to brunch with friends when my remaining ovary felt like it was starting to turn back flips. There was a strong fluttering happening, in waves, and it triggered a full-on panic attack. After a few trips the doctor, it was explained that my ovary was trying to release an egg and there may not have been one, or there was a drop in progesterone, or both. I am convinced that my ovary was basically in it’s death throes that day (you’ll realize why I think that in a moment).

Ever since then, my cycles have been different. (OK here comes the bodily function bit-you have been warned!).

My menstrual symptoms remained largely the same, but the blood itself was different.  It was just regular blood, not menstrual blood. I think most women know the difference, but menstrual blood has a particular odor and it’s thicker and clumpier than just blood by itself (because of all the nutrients for a potential baby that’s stored in it). Well after my panic inducing, ovary freak-out, my blood was just…blood. No odor, no clumps. Just plain blood. Every cycle since then has been the same…just plain blood. No menstrual blood.

Then my cycles themselves started being more odd as well. I started bleeding/spotting heavily about a week before my cycle was supposed to start and the period of bleeding went from 4-5 days to as many as 13 (yikes!). Now this current month everything just went sideways again. For about a week before my cycle was predicted to begin (hah!) I didn’t have bleeding or spotting, but I had severe muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and an increase in my hair falling out (just great, as if it’s not thin enough already).

My cycle was predicted to begin on Monday, October 12 and my menstrual app on my phone has been relatively accurate (within +/- 1 day or so), even with all the irregularity I’ve experienced. However it’s now October 16th with no sign of bleeding. However as of today I am having menstrual symptoms: cramps, bloating, acne, fatigue. Everything but the bleeding itself.

To me it’s clear that I’m on the cusp, the very verge of entering into full-on menopause. That doesn’t mean I won’t have any bleeding at all anymore (but I sure as heck hope I won’t! I am so *done* with having cycles.).

So for right now my body seems completely confused, trying to put me through a cycle when there is most likely nothing there to cycle anymore. I really hope this is the end and that my body stabilizes soon.

I’m sharing this because there is so much I feel they don’t tell you about menopause. None of my doctors has been willing to come to that diagnoses yet, and I know you have to miss an entire twelve months of cycles before anyone will declare a woman in menopause because the process is apparently so unpredictable.

However, I wish more people would share their experiences, so here I am sharing mine so far.

Looking Back at 2014

As the year comes to a close, I am one again reflecting upon this past year, and thinking ahead to the next.

For me, 2014 started out with a lot of promise. I landed a couple of new clients and was working on some promising new projects at the beginning of the year.  I was also back at the gym and watching what I was eating. I was determined to get healthier again, and hopefully lose some weight.

Unfortunately things fell apart by Spring and work became more sporadic. Ultimately I had a total of 10 weeks of no billable work this year. That really ate deep into my pocketbook. With that I lost my motivation to go to the gym and between the lack of work and my perimenopause I have been somewhat depressed this year.  I could go on hormone replacement therapy, but I don’t like the cancer risk that comes with that, so I plan to just weather this out (apologies now to my husband, who will have to weather it with me!).

While I didn’t have work, it’s not that I was entirely idle. I spent more time online networking and making connections, building up my Twitter and LinkedIn followings and posting more in social media. I also kept following up on potential leads for new clients. I also prepped for a critical certification exam that I took near the end of summer.

I passed the certification exam and started making it known that I was now an Adobe Certified Expert in Reports & Analytics. Within a week I actually started getting calls from potential clients, including one that I had been pursuing at the last Adobe Summit conference I attended in March. Soon my workload began to increase to the point that I was putting in a good 20-40 hours of work myself, and also having projects coming in for my subcontractors as well.

I am hoping I can continue this momentum into 2015 and then be able to continue to expand operations. I know at the very least my team and I will be busy into February of next year, which is sort of where I was a year ago. I just need to focus on making sure I keep bringing in more work beyond that so I don’t have the same slump. Hopefully having that certification will continue to make the difference.

My husband also has gone through a major transition in 2014. He quit his engineering job at Intel in April, and began focusing on this business. He’s developed a portfolio optimization software and has been working with one paying client this year so far. Over the Summer he also took, and passed, his Series 65 certification, which is required for the kind of work he’s doing within the financial industry.

Then in August he also started back at school and he’ll be earning his MSBA in Financial Risk Management, graduating in May 2015. It’s a compressed 1 year graduate program, which is pretty intense and has kept him working really hard.

2014 was definitely very much a transitional year for both of us and we’re hoping that things will stabilize and we’ll be in a good place both career-wise and financially by this time next year.

I hope you had a good 2014 and wish you a happy and wonderful 2015.

Happy New Year!

6 Years Later …

cake2This marks my 125th blog entry on this website. Technically I’ve owned this domain and website for over 10 years, but I officially transformed it into a blog in 2008.

This site has seen it’s share of design and layout changes over the years since I decided to give this WordPress thing a try. Heck WordPress itself has transformed into much more than “just a blog software” that it started out as.

I’ve written about my life. I’ve ranted about things that bother me. I’ve shared things that amuse me. So here we are – 6 years and 125 posts later. I know I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to – and this could easily have been post 250 or 500 if I’d been keeping up with my blogging as I once had.

However I will never shut this site down.  Even though I don’t post new blogs all the time, I do like to update my recipe list on a regular basis. Have you ever tried one of my recipes? Care to comment and let me know how you liked it?

Part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging as much is just because I switched to vlogging (video blogging) on YouTube. If you check out my videos those should be my most recent vlogs. brew-coffee-substituteAdmittedly I haven’t been vlogging nearly as much lately either, but I have been a lot busier with my work lately (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!).

If you hadn’t noticed, I also have a live chat – stop by sometime and say hi. I’m often online (but not all the time, so be patient and check back in if I’m not around … I’ll be going by the moniker of Kleineganz). I also plan to revamp my photos section – it’s in serious need of an overhaul, so bear with me during that process.

Thanks for being a reader of my blogs. I appreciate everyone that stops by, even if it’s just once or twice!!

So … I said when I launched this place … grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy your stay!!


Why Father’s Day is Painful to me …

One of the only photos my grandmother kept of my dad
One of the only photos my grandmother kept of my dad

So recently I blogged about why I hate mother’s day. For me Father’s day is also painful, but for very different reasons. I was never really allowed to know my father. It should be common knowledge now that I was the product of a “one-night-stand.” Months later my mother discovered she was pregnant and she blamed my father for it (despite acknowledging that she had been a willing participant in the act that brought me into this world). She wanted nothing to do with him after that – despite his making a generous offer of buying her a small house and taking care of us. Instead she moved back in with her parents, and let my grandparents raise me on their very meager $500/month social security income.

Now my grandmother didn’t agree with my mom’s decision to keep me away from my father, so she did sneak out with me to visit him at his Oak Park apartment complex when I was very small. For the first 3 years of my life, my father was able to watch me grow and develop.

Then, one fateful Summer day (I say Summer because I recall it being warm outside), when I was about 3.5 years old (so this would have been around the Summer of 1975), my father came to pick my grandmother and I up for lunch. He parked down the street as to not raise the suspicions of the neighbors. I recall him joyously picking me up and putting me on his shoulders while walking the rest of the way to his car.

We then went to a restaurant that I recall fascinated me. Inside the ceilings went up very high, and there were balconies with lots of plants and ivy everywhere. The waiters also were carrying these huge platters around with relative ease. The entire experience felt magical. There was also another little girl having lunch with us too. I recalled her name being Kim and that she was a “big girl” (as in older … my recollection of that day had me thinking she was around 12, but I later discovered she would have only been around 6 at the time).

Later, after we got home, we discovered that my mother had come home from work early, and she found out about our excursions with my father. She immediately grabbed me, and shook me as hard as she could – screaming that if I ever saw my father again, that I would never be welcome back and I’d never see my grandparents again. I remember being so conflicted, feeling like it was up to me to actually make a choice between my father and grandparents. I was inconsolable for days afterwards.

My grandmother tried to console me, says she’d try to find a way, but my mom actually went and had a court order put out against my father to keep him away from me. I’m sure she made up some allegations against him that were false and they believed her.

I held out hope that once I turned 18 (which is when the court order expired), that he would come back and visit me again. My 18th birthday came and went. My high school graduation came and went, even college graduation. I kept hoping he’d appear and surprise me.

It wasn’t until I had relocated to Colorado and began a search for him online that I discovered why he never came, as he had promised my grandmother that he would.

In early 1983, he was on a business trip, driving down a highway, when a drunk 18-wheel semi-truck driver hit his car. He passed away hours later. I would have been only 11. He never had the chance to fulfill his promise of coming back for me.

Thankfully he left me with 3 wonderful sisters, two lovely step-sisters and an amazing step-mom. They have helped me get to know who he was.

My step-mom told me that when he died, he still carried a photo of a little girl his wallet. She always wondered who that little girl was, but when I appeared she knew it must have been a photo of me.

There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled … and that’s why this day, of all days, is the most painful for me.


Happiness is a Front Porch

2014-05-19 16.34.09Now that the warm weather is upon us again, I’ve found that working on the front porch of our new house makes for a very pleasant way to get through my work day, especially for the more tedious parts of my work.

We’ve been in this house for a year now, but we didn’t make much use of the front porch last Summer because there was still a lot of construction going on around us. This is a new neighborhood and there were still 5 lots around our house that were undeveloped when we moved in.

In the course of the past  year, all 5 now have homes on them, and the final one is nearing completion. With that all winding down the noise and dust of construction is settling. We finally bought ourselves a little “bistro” patio set for the porch, so we can enjoy having a drink after dinner in the evenings. It also makes a great spot to set up my laptop and work during the day, especially in nice weather.

2014-05-05 17.08.01

All in all, I think this is going to be a nice Summer …

Why I Hate Mother’s Day

heartbreakLet me preface this blog by saying that I am lucky to know a lot of amazing women who are wonderful mothers – my step-mom, my sisters, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, and several of my friends. This blog isn’t about the women in the world who are amazing mothers.

This blog is about women like my biological mother. Women who either never intended or wanted to have children, but through some life circumstance had at least one anyway. Women who force their resentment of having these children onto those same children. Women who emotionally and physically abuse the children they were forced to have because they blame those children for even having been born.

The weeks leading up to mother’s day are always painful for me. I’m bombarded by messages telling me that all mothers are wonderful, all mothers are amazing and all mothers should be loved, worshiped and cared for as the amazing angels they all are.

Except that they aren’t. Not all of them, anyway. Just by giving birth to another human being does not make a woman an amazing, wonderful mother. There are lots of horrible, mean, abusive moms out there. For those of us who were the children to those types of mothers, all these mother’s day messages are painful reminders of what we didn’t have in our childhood, that so others many did.

I see what a fantastic mom my step-mom is to her daughters. I’m grateful that she has accepted me into her fold and sees me as one of her own, but it doesn’t erase the many years of abuse I had to endure at the hands of my own mother. Most of the abuse from my mother was emotional, although it did get physical once.

When I was about 10, my mother was once again reminding me how I would never amount to anything in my life, that I’d never be as good or as smart as her, and she decided I should learn how to smoke cigarettes. She physically pinned me down to the couch and tried to force a lit cigarette into my mouth. I refused and struggled to get away and her response to that was to burn me with the cigarette, repeatedly.

Thankfully my grandmother came home and intervened, and kicked my mom out of our apartment. I still remember my mother screaming back up at the apartment for the next several hours, until her voice was hoarse. Only once she’d calmed down did my grandmother let her back in, while I hid in my room.

These are the kinds of memories that well up in me around Mother’s Day. So I’m sorry that I struggle to wish the women in my life, that are good mothers, a “Happy Mother’s Day,” but you can see why it’s such a painful thing for me.

This is why I hate Mother’s Day.

New Blog

I am not shutting down this blog, but as you can tell I haven’t been updating it with any regularity. That’s because I’ve been primarily focused on my YouTube videos and a new blog branded for my YouTube channel, called

I may still blog here on occasion, but I’ll be primarily blogging on the other site now. I will also maintain my list of videos and my recipes on this site as well, and I think I need to make some updates to my photo gallery at some point.

Hopefully you’ll come over and check out the new blog if you get a chance! :)

Blasts from the Past

I was meandering around the Web Archive “Wayback Machine” trying to find some of my old content and I came across my first blog. It wasn’t anything fancy but it’s memories from 10 years ago that I want to preserve by re-posting them here. If you knew me 10 years ago, enjoy this blast from the past!

Well I’ve finished nearly another month on the Fat Flush Plan. To date I’ve lost 18.5lbs and a total of 18.5″ (combined from bust, waist, hips and thighs). I am now only 23.5lbs away from my goal weight! My body fat % is also down from 38% to 25%, with a healthy range being 15-22% for women, so I know I still have a ways to go, but I’m getting there! :o)

YES! I bought a pair of size 10 jeans today and THEY FIT GREAT! Size 12 jeans bye bye! :o) I feel so slim and sexy now! (and just wait til I get down to size 8!).

Well its been a month – long past due to update this thing! Since my last entry I’d just started on the Fat Flush diet. Before I started I had done a pre-flush from May 24th til June 15th. So since I started my pre-flush I’ve lost 15.5lbs, and 14.5″ off my frame! Yes! Now I just have 26.5lbs more til my goal weight of 125lbs (you do the math). And I’m betting I’ll fit into size 4s by the time I get to that weight! :o)

Today I’m starting day 4 on the 14 day “phase one” of the “fat flush plan”. The primary goal of phase one is to detox the liver, with the side benefit of weight loss. So far I’ve lost 6lbs! The diet has been wonderful – and its so healthy. I feel great, I’m not hungry and this is the first time in over a year I’ve been down in the low 150’s on weight! My goal is to get down to 125 by the end of phase 2 of this plan (phase 2 transitions you back into a more normal eating pattern, while still maintaining a healthy way to look at food). I’m so psyched about this! :o)

Starting a new diet/exercise plan today. Its called the “Fat Flush” plan. If it works as advertised, I hope to lose about 30lbs and finally be a healthy weight. I am also hoping it will help me get my thighs to a more normal size (so they are no longer wider than my hips!). If you want to see how I’m doing, I’m keeping a seperate journal of my weight, measurements, exercise, sleep and food intake.

I’m very excited about this program – it seems very well balanced and with only some experimentation with this plan in the past 2-3 weeks I’ve already lost 7lbs. So it looks *very* promising!

Last weekend I had a lot of fun – went out with 7 friends to a comedy club, and then partied in downtown Denver afterwards. Sunday was “chores” day – grocery shopping, laundry and of course more work on stripping and sanding my chest of drawers to get it ready to repaint.

This week the weather is kinda crappy – 50s and 60s with rain. We need the rain but I’d prefer it to be a little warmer. Today I’m also facilitating a pretty big meeting because my manager got called into another meetings. I hope I’m prepared!!

A long weekend comes to a close. The weather was warm, which was great. I went to see “Down with Love” with Shannon on Saturday, and did some grocery shopping. Sunday I started my “big project” … striping the paint from the old chest of drawers I found so that I can repaint it. I haven’t decided what color(s) I will paint it yet, but it needs to compliment the sage green theme I have in my room – but I don’t think it will become sage green or there will be too much of that color. So far I’ve gotten all the paint off the drawers and one layer off of the chest … it will take a couple more days of effort to get the several layers of paint off of it entirely. Then next weekend I’ll need to do some sanding as well before it can be painted.

Well here I am alone again … (hmm isn’t that a song?). Phil had to break the romance off last night. Its partly because he’s still on the rebound from his ex-girlfriend, which didn’t surprise me … they had only broken up about 6 months before. I remember when I got out of my relationship with Barthold I wasn’t really ready to be in a relatinship again either. I think the only reason Justin and I lasted a year was that he was so far away and we didn’t see each other much.

Well life goes on I suppose. I do hope Phil and I can stay friends. I don’t meet too many people who like things like museums and symphonies and operas and can talk about Dr. Who, Tripods, and Star Trek too.

I’ve had another wonderful weekend. Yesterday I participated in the MS Walk (for the Multiple Sclorosis foundation). I was able to raise $90 for the 3 mile walk. Afterwards my feet were so sore I treated myself to a pedicure and a long nap.

Yesterday evening I attended a performance of the Boulder Chorale in Boulder, CO. Phil is in the Bass section and it was a beautiful performance. The entire Choral was outstanding, but the solo performer was absolutely magnificient.

After the performance a group of us headed to Phil’s favorite Irish pub in Boulder and I had a chance to meet his mom and sister. They are both really great people. All in all I had a wonderful Saturday.

Today all I’ve done is nap and relax. Tomorrow I travel to California again and I need to get up super early .. so I need my rest. Oh and my black mollies had babies that survived (normally the mollies eat their young). I’ve counted up to 7 so far! I don’t think I’ll be needing any new fish in the near future!

Well I just finished a fantastic weekend. I saw Phil again and we went with Peter and Nicky to see the Cubs vs. Rockies baseball, then we all hung out in downtown Denver and browsed a bookstore and had dinner. Then Phil and I went to my favorite club, “SingSing” and stayed til about midnight. We had a blast, although poor Phil might have overworked his singing voice (sorry!). Next Saturday I plan on attending the performance of the Boulder Chorale, after a morning of attempting to complete the MS Walk for the 3rd year in a row.

In the mean time I’m home this week, with another trip to California slated on May 5. The trips are valuable, but tiring.

Well yet again a lot has happened since my last entry. I’ve been dating a wonderful man named Phillip. We’ve been on three dates so far and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. (Well ok the last date was really sort of a party we both attended but to me it counts!). It just amazes me how much we have in common in terms of interests. This is such a refreshing change from past dating experiences so far.

Also my entire social life is kicking into high gear. My friend Shannon, from grad school, has moved back to town and holds regular “girls nights” at her place. Peter and Nicky are going with us to a comedy club this week and in a week and a half we’re all going to a Cubs vs. Rockies baseball game at Coors Field.

Shannon also wants to go to the opera or see a symphony, and we thought we’d get our respective dating partners to join us. Phillip is into classical music, which is so cool. No kicking and screaming to get him to go! :o)

Well its April Fool’s Day. Its been awhile since I’ve wanted to write down something, but a lot has been going on. I’ve got a nice 10 gallon aquarium going with 8 creatures living in it now – 1 goldfish, 2 black mollies, 4 neon tetras and 1 snail. I have room for perhaps 2-4 more fish but I’ll wait about a month to see how these do first.

I am also getting a programmable thermostat put into my apartment, which will help me better regulate tempurature. I’m also getting a new dishwasher put in .. all at no cost!

I’ve recently joined the Denver chapter of No Kidding! Its an organization for singles and couples that have consciously chosen not to have children. They have regular events, like book clubs and bowling nights and such. It sound like a fun thing to be able to go do.

Just finished a whole week at work without my supervisor Cathy being there. Thankfully it was a quiet week.

After work I went shopping and bought a new, larger aquarium. 10 Gallons this time, up from the 3 gallon one I had my goldfish in. It was a lot of fun to set up and once the water was properly treated, little fishy seemed quite happy with his new home. I will give it a week before I buy some friends for fishy though.

Its been a few days since I felt like writing. I was feeling depressed and had no idea why until I realized yesterday, this month is the 20th anniversary of my father’s death, and next month is the 20th anniversary of my grandfather’s death.

Last night I was able to get my mind off by going to a girls night party at my friend Shannon’s house. Lots of wine, food and good conversation helped.

I’ve been in California since Sunday. Its been a very busy week, as it always is when I travel. The personal training class I had yesterday went very well. Finally I have a deeper understanding of our Web link checking tool, Watchfire.

We were supposed to launch a redesigned section of the site, but thatgot halted when the new download center page wouldn’t work in Netscape 4.x. Finally getting that resolved today so we might still be able to launch.

I’ve been enjoying staying at the Sheraton again, and eating at the hotel restaurant. I think this is one of the best hotel restaurants I’ve yet eaten at.

How Much do YouTubers Actually Earn?

YoutubeMoneyI see a lot of wild speculation about how much money the big YouTubers earn, how rich they are (and apparently greedy).

Well I’ve done some research and here is what I’ve come up with. So let’s take the current top YouTubers, Smosh, as an example.

It has been estimated that they earned around $1 million in 2012. They are part of a network called Alloy. Most networks take a 40% cut. YouTubers like Smosh also pay a production crew of around 10 people, and of course they also pay taxes.

Let’s do some math:

$1,000,000 in gross revenue x 0.60(after their network's cut) = $600,000.
Let's say their crew only works part time and earns about $15,000 per 
person (give or take) x 10 = $150,000
So then, $600,000 - $150,000 = $450,000.
$450,000 * 0.60 (after state, federal and self-employment taxes) 
= $270,000
$270,000  ÷ 2 (Ian and Anthony are 2 separate people) = $135,000 each.

So at the end of the day, while their YouTube channel may actually bring in $1 million, the individual members of Smosh only keep $135,000. That’s still quite a decent income, but hardly makes the rich and/or “greedy” in my opinion.

Who is really getting rich off of these big YouTubers? Google/YouTube and their affiliated networks are. In fact I would like to posit that Google/YouTube and the various YouTube networks are exploiting these big YouTubers for profit.

All my calculations are, of course, complete speculation and rough educated guesses. I, myself, am also self-employed so I know how much tax they would be paying, but I don’t know if big YouTubers like that are able to negotiate a better profit split with YouTube and/or their network, so they could be bringing in more money. However the bigger a YouTuber gets, the larger their production staff seem to be in order to produce bigger and better videos (Phil DeFranco and SourceFed come to mind – that organization keeps growing).

Bottom line, my point is, don’t be so quick to judge someone who is successful, and label them as “greedy.” There are a lot of factors to consider between someone’s gross income and their actual net income at the end of the day.

Sick Computer Blues

Sick-computerSo you may have noticed I don’t blog as much as I used to (sorry about that). It’s probably because I found that I really enjoy vlogging (video blogging) on YouTube more, so instead of writing down my thoughts, I say them out loud to a camera instead.

Well that brings me to my blog today … the PC I use to edit my videos is having some major issues. It won’t even properly reboot anymore, among a myriad of other problems that I won’t bore you with.

So I’ve decided on Monday to bring her into a local computer repair shop to get looked at. I suspect it may be either the hard drive or the graphics card (or both). The system is only 2 years old so I’m not ready to replace it just yet. It’s a decent system that probably just needs some TLC.

So here I am, on my little laptop, back where I started… blogging. (Did you miss me?) :)