Things I Learned in the Quiet

Today, I learned... 

1. That building a wooden mast for a ship is a special job that requires hours of planing and shaping to get it just right. The end must be shaped to fit snugly in place and the there is a tapering that is need to make it work the way it should.

2. I also learned that the Vikings using loose rocks as ballast in their ships (ballast is a stabilizer that is used in the bottom of a bottom to keep it steady) and that in rough seas it would often shift and cause them problems.

3. This place I work is like a candy store for a writer who loves to write about people from Maine.

My day job has many blessings, some of which I'm not always the most thankful for having. But today, today was a morning where I learned more in the quiet moments before work, than in a month of just living day to day.

The men who work for my company are all very hardworking and intelligent in a way that comes from doing the work, not reading about it. They remind me very much of my father and my Uncle Warren. When working on a project, they are rarely looking for a shortcut, but are always looking for an improvement. They know how to fix things without the help of YouTube... something I can't say for myself. And they look at people and their surroundings in a very different way than most. Their judge of man isn't what he owns, but how he handles himself. I think the country could use a lot more of this and a lot less of discarding people because of our own preconceived notions.

So, this is my list for today. What they told me will probably end up in a book somewhere and for that I'm grateful.



The term is a nautical one that dates back to 1800's, but the idea is one that is universal. It means to remain balanced, to stay steady. That's not so easy when you have Hashimoto's.

When I first found out that I had Hashimoto's Thyroiditis I was relieved. You wouldn't think that the news that you have an incurable condition would be cause for celebration, but I had already been through years of testing and tribulations to get to the diagnosis. This is not uncommon for many with the condition. On average, it takes 3 years be diagnosed for many. I was just over that, but not by much. Because the symptoms that accompany the disease are so varied and so many (there are over 300 known symptoms), doctor's tend to treat the symptoms before treating the disease. It's only when you take a step back and look at the big picture that you can see that there is a reason to look for a root cause.

In my case, I had a fantastic doctor. He was an Osteopathic doctor, dedicated to treating the whole person and not just the condition. But even he was stymied when I would come to him time and again with exhaustion, anxiety, random swelling of extremities and back. Add to it that I was never one to go to the doctor until I absolutely had to, and you've got a mystery that was proving impossible to solve. It wasn't until I read an article on thyroid health in a magazine that I began to put it all together. I took the article to my doctor to show him. He'd already had my thyroid checked, but it hadn't been checked for the antibodies that show up with Hashimoto's. One referral and one test, and I finally had a diagnosis.

But that was just the beginning... 

I have often told my husband that I feel like a GPS that is constantly recalculating. One little change can throw me off big time. Continued exposure to stress is a huge issue. Normally, your body uses your thyroid to regulate changes in your body as it reacts to stimulus. But when the thyroid isn't functioning properly, the body reacts by becoming weak and attacking itself.

I take Synthroid to help my thyroid, but I have also begun supplementing the medication with vitamins and supplements to help the body do what it can't do naturally. I would suggest getting a full blood screening to assess what you are missing and to consult your doctor for suggestions. I would also suggest that if your doctor is only treating symptoms and not the cause that it might be best to look for a new doctor. There are places online that can help you find a supportive doctor in your state. I'd suggest going to and check out her articles on the subject.

All in all, it really becomes a challenge to regulate all the needs of your body while dealing with Hashimoto's. One works for months, may change and not work at all. There is that whole GPS thing I talked about.

The best we can do is to educate ourselves and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle, treating both the body and mind. Maybe then, we'll find some peace.

(This article is part of a continuing series that I write for my blog where I talk about my condition and my experience. This in no way constitutes medical advice. Any information given here is from my own experience only, unless otherwise indicated.)

Why Communication is not all about Talking!

If you don't already know, my day job is working in the office for Purse Line Inc., a bait supplier for the fishing industry here in Maine. For us, the first full weekend in March is the weekend when suppliers from all over the country and Lobstermen from all over New England converge on The Samoset Resort in Rockland, Maine. It's a chance for everyone to relax and enjoy themselves while catching up on the latest gear and technology, update on safety and regulations, and generally, see the people that we're too busy to see the rest of the year. The Forum also helps out the fishing community by providing health screenings, hearing tests and holding an auction with the proceeds going to scholarships.

This year, a good time is had by most.

So, where does communication come into this? And what do I mean by talking isn't everything? 


I don't have the exact numbers, but I suspect that roughly 80% of the people that attend the show are there because they have a question that needs answering. Oh, there are a few that go because they just want to see the sights or gather up a bag of swag, but I think they're in the minority.

Most of my time was spent in the booth, but I did get a chance to walk around and visit the other booths. While walking by the Grunden USA booth I got a look at their new boots that they are about to go out to the market. For us, our guys spend long days on their feet in varying stages of heat and wetness. Their boots are often an expensive piece of pivotal equipment and it helps if they do the job required and do it well. Grunden's new boots are winning all kinds of awards for just these reasons. So, I took my questions to them and was lucky enough to talk to the President of Grunden USA, Mike Jackson, and his wife (I'm so sorry that I can't remember her name).

They were kind and gracious and more importantly, they listened to my questions. They even asked their own questions about how we would use a product like their boots. It was a ten-minute conversation, but during that time they made me feel like what I had to say was important. And when I walked away I was impressed. Why? Because they did more active listening than talking. They weren't there to just sell but to see what the market needed and respond to needs. Just recently they came out with a line of gear made to fit women in the industry. No more trying to fit into something that wasn't designed for them. Ultimately, they prove the point that a business can not be progressive or proactive without knowing what the needs of the consumers are that buy their products.
And you can't do that without listening. 

Goodbye 2016!!!

Though I am ever the optimist, I won't be sorry to see 2016 go away! We are ending the year on a high note with the son having his 4th and final surgery tomorrow for his collarbone. I can't wait! The pins come out and with time he will be feeling so much better. We started this struggle on Labor Day with the first break and it's been a rollercoaster ride ever since. Here's to no new broken bones in 2017!

How I'm Helping to Pay Off Medical Debt with Swagbucks!

After joining a FB group called Couponing to Disney (wonderful group!) I learned about using Swagbucks to earn giftcards. You can do it a multitude of ways. You can do surveys, watch videos, or the easiest way is to participate in the special offers that the put up on their site. I usually will only do it if it is something that I already am interested in, or if I can get a good deal. A couple of months ago they had a deal for getting mucho points by buying Hefty products at Target. I had a coupon for $5.00 off any purchase at Target and I coupled it with the deal. I ended spending less than $10 on products I use anyway (lunch bags, quart bags for freezing, crockpot liners) and got $22.50 in credit for a gift card. I learned how to do this through the Couponing to Disney group. Most of them are using it for paying for family vacations. I'm putting it toward paying off debt so we can afford a vacation.

There are a couple of different ways to cash out with Swagbucks. You can have it go into your PayPal account for a small fee, or you can get gift cards with it. They offer the usual Visa, MC gift cards, as well as plenty for all the shops and stores that you frequent. Don't even ask me about the Amazon cards!!!!!!

Anyway, if you are interested in trying it out you can follow my referral link HERE or go to Swagbucks and check it out. If you sign up with my referral you and I will both get a bonus.

P.S. A quick tip on how to make the most of Swagbucks... be sure to check out the Couponing to Disney group on Facebook. They share daily ways to earn points and help you out. Plus, they're a great group!
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