All posts by Kati Hammar

About Kati Hammar

I'm a Minnesotan 20something who has had quite the life journey! On my blog you'll find a little bit of everything from knitting to spirituality!

Love/Hate/Interesting Update 3.27.17

I know it’s been ages since the last time I blogged about anything.  My personal life is going to get a lot crazier before it gets calmer.  Eventually I might write about some of the stuff going on when I feel like it’s the right time, but right now I need to deal with everything in private.  Thanks for your understanding!

Some days I have roughly the thinking capacity of a Marshmallow Peep, so I thought doing a Love/Hate update would be a good way to tiptoe back into blogging.  I’m also going to start adding an “Interesting” category to these updates for random tidbits that don’t fit into the “Love” or “Hate” categories.


-My service dog Vegas!  I just realized I haven’t written about him at all, so here’s the official announcement: I GOT MY SERVICE DOG!!!!  His name is Vegas and he’s a two-year-old English chocolate lab (so basically an American lab that looks like it shrunk in the dryer).  I’ll do a longer post about him complete with photos once I have the proverbial ducks somewhat superglued into a row.

-Chocolate. I’m female, it’s delicious.  Need I say more?

-Parks and Recreation.  There is no such thing as seeing this show too many times.  Leslie Knope would make an awesome president!



-The horrifically large amount of bullshit that is out there, both on the internet and in general.  In the words of Scar from “Lion King”, I’m surrounded by idiots.  It’s getting old, to put it nicely.



So apparently eyes can get freckles!  I finally quit putting off going to the eye doc, where I learned that one of my eyes has a freckle.  I didn’t even know eyeball freckles were a thing, but apparently they are.  (Side note: Eyeballs look like Mars in photos. Just saying.)  The freckle doesn’t have any feeder vessels, so they know it’s not a tumor.  (I mention that because I totally heard “It doesn’t have any feet or vessels”! 😛 LOL)

Okay, that’s it for today!  If you have any questions about service dogs you’d like me to answer, leave them in the comments, and I’ll address them in a future blog post or vlog!

29 Random Things About Me

Hi everyone, sorry for the accidental blogging hiatus.  I am dealing with a ton of stuff in my personal life and really needed a break from Internetland.  But now I’m back and hoping to resume blogging on a semi-regular basis!

Since I just turned 29, I decided to share 29 random things about myself.  Here goes!

1.)  My favorite actors are Jim Parsons (Sheldon on Big Bang Theory), Robin Williams, and Mayim Bialik.  Mayim Bialik is also one of my all-time favorite humans in general 🙂

2.) I love pickles

3.)  My favorite TV shows are Parks and Recreation, Cristela, Frasier, and Big Bang Theory, to name a few

4.)  My favorite singer is, hands down, Josh Groban.  His music has gotten me through some really tough stuff!

5.)  My biggest pet peeve is those little cards that fall out of magazines.  They come in my subscription copies asking me to subscribe!  Seriously?!  What is up with that?!

6.)  I love old-timey things

7.)  I speak American Sign Language as my second language.  I’m also learning Spanish and religious Hebrew (for reading Jewish prayer books and understanding Hebrew liturgy in synagogue services).  I hope to learn conversational Hebrew eventually.

8.)  I love all things Jane Austen

9.)  I’ve gone sea kayaking off the coast of Alaska

10.)  I’ve been to Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Florida, Washington DC, Washington State, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Alaska.

11.)  I’ve petted dolphins

12.)  I’ve been to Disney World twice

13.)  I reread “Little Women” at least once a year, usually in January when I’m trying to get back in the swing of normal life after the holidays.  It’s comforting for some reason.

14.)  When I was a kid, some of my favorite shows were Arthur, Mister Rogers, Magic School Bus, and Lamb Chop’s Play Along.  When I got older, like late elementary school, I got hooked on Home Improvement.

15.)  I started making YouTube videos a couple of years ago and I really want to film more often!

16.)  I loved making jewelry as a kid, and I’m trying to get back into it.

17.)  I love music.  I play piano, and I’m trying to get back into cello and guitar.  I played flute for years, but unfortunately I have to take a break from woodwinds because my O2 level is too low to play safely and comfortably.  Hopefully that’ll change now that I use supplemental O2 part-time!

18.)  I’m in the process of converting to Reform Judaism.  I’ll write another post on this soonish!

19.)  If I ever get to the point of being able to have a “normal” job, I’d want to work at a nonprofit I’m passionate about.

20.)  I live with mild autism, asthma, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.)  The EDS is likely the root cause of most of my other conditions.

21.)  I also live with PTSD, depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  (The checking door locks and stove dial type, not the handwashing type.)  The mental illness stigma pisses me off to no end.

22.)  Some of my favorite foods are tacos, pizza, pasta, and ice cream.

23.)  When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a police officer when I grew up, because I wanted to gointo schools and talk to kids like they did.

24.)  I love love LOVE dried mango

25.)  I watch “You’ve Got Mail” when I can’t sleep

26.)  Sometimes I really want to do more traveling

27.)  I love the ocean and sometimes I wish I lived on the coast

28.)  I was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten intolerance 2 years ago

29.)  I started reading in preschool

Thanks for reading!  Hope you all have a great weekend! 🙂



Reading Wrap-Up: A Madness So Discreet

Mindy McGinnis’ “A Madness So Discreet” is about a young pregnant woman named Grace who is put in an asylum by her family in the 1800s. (I can’t say any more about that or I’ll give away important plot details.)  A doctor studying criminology is amazed by Grace’s intelligence and attention to detail.  They hatch a plan to get Grace out of the horrible asylum and into a different one that is much more humane and progressive than many asylums at that time.   Grace is allowed to work as the doctor’s assistant and she accompanies him to crime scenes.  Eventually the details of how she became pregnant and wound up at the horrible asylum come out of the woodwork.

My library classified this book as teen fiction, which kind of irritated me.  There’s this stereotype that teen fiction is code for “shallow and lame.”  I assure you the book is neither of those things!  (Side note:  I wouldn’t recommend the book for younger teens.  If this was a movie, it would definitely be rated R.)

I love this book so much.  It’s an emotionally difficult read, but it’s super well-written, and I felt like it handled the subject of asylums respectfully, unlike the “lunatic asylums as entertainment” mindset that is so prevalent in our culture.


How to Shower Safely With POTS

Showering is one of harder everyday tasks when you live with POTS.  Not only is it exhausting but it’s extremely dangerous because of the risk of falling and hitting your head.

Here’s my checklist for shower safety:

1.) shower stool

2.) Non-slip plastic mat that goes under the stool

3.) full water bottle in the shower to ease dizziness and other symptoms while showering

4.)  Baby monitors (the “baby” one stays in the bathroom and my husband uses the “parent” monitor.  This may sound, well, babyish, but I need to be able to get help if I feel like I might pass out.  Once I have the service dog, I hope to train him to bark on command, which the monitor will pick up.)

5.)  Manual chair or walker positioned right by the tub (a sturdy chair will work fine if you don’t use a wheelchair or walker.)

6.)  Safety handles in tub

All of these items are available on Amazon in various styles.

If you have a spouse or roommate, I recommend showering when they are home as much as possible, especially if you are newly diagnosed and struggling to get your symptoms under control.  You just don’t want to take any chances with shower safety since it can be such a hazardous situation.

I also recommend reducing your showering frequency as much as possible.  Most people do not need to shower every day, especially in colder weather.  Reducing showering frequency will reduce the risk of falls and it will also save you a ton of energy.  Speaking from experience on the latter!



BEDS Challenge Wrap-Up and a Big Announcement!

I decided to wrap up the BEDS challenge early.  Life has been super hectic, and the weather has been craptastic and wiping me out.  Plus, I got some Big News, and once I share it, you’ll understand why I need to save my energy.

Okay, here is the Big Announcement:  I am starting service dog training on the 5th!!!  I’m getting my dog from Can Do Canines.  If you need a service dog and are in this neck of the words, I highly highly recommend them.  They are beyond fantastic.  Unlike some organizations, they will customize the training for individuals’ needs.  If your needs change during the course of your dog’s life, they will work with you to add new tasks as much as they can.  When I first applied, my primary disability was chronic pain and fibromyalgia, so I wrote on the application that I needed a mobility dog.  When I was diagnosed with POTS, CDC changed the category from mobility to seizure alert. (I do not have epilepsy, but this is the skill category they use for people with POTS.)  This way I can still get help with some mobility things, but we will also be able to work with the dog on helping with POTS episodes.

I don’t know anything about my dog other than it’s a he.  I’ve been jokingly referring to him as Eddie, because that’s the dog on “Frasier” which is one of the best shows ever.  Yep, I’m weird!

I still want to blog as much as I can about the training process and life in general, but removing the pressure of blogging every day is helping me breathe a lot easier.  Thanks for your understanding, and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Day 16: Awakening Game Series

Over the past week or so I’ve gotten hooked on the Awakening game series, which is available for Mac and iOS devices.  The first two games are available for Mac only, and the rest are compatible with iPads.  You play the role of Princess Sophia, who has woken up after being asleep for a century only to discover that she is the only human left in the world.

I love everything about these games.  The scenery is gorgeous, and the music is soothing and weirdly effective at reducing my pain level sometimes.  There are a bunch of puzzles and mini games you have to solve, which are more challenging than you might think.

If anyone has recommendations for other fantasy games I’d love to try them out!

BEDS Day 15:My Favorite Shows

I want to write a post, but thanks to the brain fog I have the thinking capacity of a Tupperware, so I decided a list might be a good idea.  Here are my current favorite TV shows.

1.) Parks and Recreation (2009-2015)

If you like Amy Poehler, you need need NEED to watch Parks and Rec!  Leslie Knope is the deputy director of the parks and rec department in Pawnee, Indiana.  I have contemplated making Lego and knitted creations based on this show.  If there was ever a show that deserved to be immortalized by yarn and plastic bricks, it’s this one.  The first two episodes move a bit slowly, but then it picks up and gets hilarious.

2.)  Frasier (1993-2004)

Frasier Crane is a radio psychiatrist who dispenses decent advice over the air, but fails hilariously at basic things like fixing a toilet.  His brother, Niles is an absolute hoot!

3.)  The Golden Girls (1985-1992)

Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Dorothy’s mother Sophia live together in Miami.  They may be getting older, but they’re not dead yet, and they have plenty of hilarious misadventures!

4.)  The Big Bang Theory (2007–)

This show is an absolute gem, to say the least!  Leonard and Sheldon are geeky scientists who excel in their fields.  Their relationships, however, are quite a different story.  The thing I love about this show is the writers don’t seem to be running out of material.  They just started filming the 10th season, and it’s stayed hilarious all this time.  The other thing I love is how the actors genuinely like each other in real life.  You really see that chemistry in the show.  I won’t be surprised if this winds up being the last season.  But it’s been a great run!

Okay, I’m officially out of brain power for tonight.  I’ll be back for Day 15 ASAP!  Peace out!

BEDS Day 14: Unpredictability

My efforts to get caught up on BEDS posts hit a bit of a snag the past couple of days.  The weather went from sunny to blarg.  The change in barometric pressure can cause excruciating joint pain and mind-numbing fatigue.

My current flare-up is a good reminder of why I don’t have a conventional job or go to school or do anything that requires a solid commitment right now.  I am reliable, but my body isn’t.  That may change once I have my service dog and I get on supplemental oxygen, but I’m not there yet.  This is the body I have, and I am learning to love it and use it to the best of its abilities, but some days this is easier said than done.

I’ll be back with day 15 as soon as I can.  Take care!

BEDS Day 13: Head Covering in Medical Settings

I have worn head scarves full-time for almost four years.  By now it feels as normal to me as putting on socks and underwear in the morning.  One question I get asked a lot is whether or not I wear my scarves for medical appointments and procedures.

The short answer is yes.  I always cover for routine appointments and dental exams.  I know I’m going to be lying down, I will put my hair in in a pony bun with a soft scrunchie and wear a pre-tied tichel so I can lie flat without killing my neck.  For diagnostic procedures and acute situations, I’ll wear a scarf if removal is not medically necessary.  When I had surgery a few years ago, I just wore the surgical cap as my covering.  I have never been asked to move it if it wasn’t medically necessary.  I think that’s probably at least in part because I’ve always lived in areas where head scarves (Jewish and Muslim) are a fairly common sight.

A related question I get asked is what kind of head covering I wear if I was giving birth.  I don’t have kids, but I have heard every answer in the book from women who do.  Some women like wearing their usual style of head covering, some opt for something comfier, and some don’t cover at all.

If you have any more questions feel free to leave a comment!  I’ll be back soon for day 14!

BEDS Day 12: Guess What’s In the App Store?!

The best thing that could possibly happen today has happened:  I discovered Cluefinder games in the Mac app store!  My sister and I were obsessed with these games when we were kids.  I downloaded 4th Grade Adventures and I was slightly disturbed to realize I still have most parts of the game memorized.  My sister’s impression of the villain was absolutely hilarious.  While I’m glad I found a way to play the games on my Macbook Air, I’m slightly disappointed that I don’t have an excuse to get a vintage iBook, since those things are so adorable!

Okay, arthritis pain in my hands is skyrocketing so I’m going to end this here. Woohoo I’m actually making headway on the BEDS posts!