Monday, October 30, 2006


See this post for an explanation, if you don't read Beanie Baby already.

If I could, I'd invent an affordable robot chef, and damn it, the world needs
one because we'd eat better if we had tasty salads waiting for us each day.

I sometimes buy decorative candles and other tchotkes, because it they are more like the me I want to be than the me that I am.

If you came over to my house to play and touched my husband I'd be
a little bit mad at you forever.

The colour lime green makes me want to shave my eyeballs with a
cheese grater.

The colour lilac is so beautiful that when I see them, a
beam of light comes down and I hear a choir sing.

Mayonnaise makes me gag, feel it in my mouth for a minute, and
then swallow it back down rather than spit it out (or else I just don't like
it, but I'm too nice to say it.)

I might get sick or die if I touch or ingest spicy or peppery foods, or look at
mushrooms on a sandwich.

Ann Coulter gives me the willies and I might need to consider a
frontal lobotomy if I even think about it further.

I love the feel of freshly washed old sheets so much I want to hump it like a puppy on
a sofa pillow.

No one should have to watch me eat flan or creme brulee, because then I might
consider being polite enough to share, and I don't want to share it.

I'm a grown-up now, so I don't have to eat cauliflower any
more, and you can't make me.

If I could invent a way to permanently coat my nostril hairs with this
scent, I'd be my own biggest customer: Ginger Milk Bath by the Thymes, Ltd.

Three things I like that anyone might like: chocolate,
lilacs, kittens

Three things I like that almost nobody else in the world likes:
books on medical oddities, the smell of bleach

I have TOO MANY hand towels, and not enough
nice bath towels.

Okay, we know the best things in life aren't things, but these are the best
things in life if there are going to be best things: Fresh lilacs, peonies, and the smell of damp grass with my daughter playing in the yard.

When people have kind, sweet and nice things about me, they're usually
talking about my mothering. When they say I'm
bossy, they're usually right too.

It's true, I'm a lazy-ass. I'm learning to be
proud of it.

If I could have any talent in the world, I'd choose flying and use
it to save people from burning buildings.

You are given a day and a no-limit credit card to spend in one of these
places, childfree. Choose one, or write your own:

An auction, where you never know what you want until you see it, and then
you want it more than anyone. It's all about the adventure and the

A picturesque neon-lit bar, where a couple of swank cocktails and a friendly
bartender might lead to a Chandler-esque story. It's all about becoming a
character yourself.

A craft show, because you really need to find something attractive to cover
your spare rolls of toilet paper with, and then, you want to maybe glue some
paper to some more paper. It's all about making and doing.

A gourmet food store, because you are what you eat. It's all about feeding
yourself and your soul.

A hoity toity boutique, because you'd rather have the experience of shopping
gracefully than anything. It's all about quality time.

Are you kidding me? You didn't give spending the day in a huge bookstore with a cafe and comfy chairs as a choice?

And here's the last chance to make sure that you're not going to get a
"Jelly of the Month" club membership when you're expecting your bonus for a
swimming pool:

It is important to me that the items chosen for me
make you happy to give, though I wouldn't object to them being ethically made and sold.


If I could suggest that you read only one post from my archives, this would
be it:


If I were to name the Holiday of my choice for this exchange, it would be:
Celebrate Winter in a secular fashion!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Interesting Facts

In the last few days, Peanut has informed me that:

A. Cinderella went to the ball in a submarine, not a coach, and

B. Little Miss Muffet must have been a little baby, because only little babies are scared of spiders.

This makes up for her decision to go as a kitty for Halloween, instead of the triceratops she'd been contemplating.

Also, it turns out that while petroleum jelly is water-soluble, this means little when half of a large jar of it is in one's hair, ears, nose, and all over one's face and hands*. It will in fact require more than one shampoo to get it out, and the tub will require extra cleaning to remove the residue from that bath.

But her skin is just fabulously soft right now.

*I was able to get her to stop crying and start laughing simply by putting a mirror in front of her face. Even she had to admit it was pretty funny.

To Sleep, Perchance To Have a Free Hand Or Two

My friend Nikki, who gave birth to the current cutest-baby-in-the-world titleholder (after the world's easiest labor, you don't even want to know), Madeline, needs some advice. The little darling refuses to sleep unless she is on top of someone. Not next to, on top of. Unfortunately, I didn't solve this problem for months with Peanut, even with the assistance of prescribed narcotics. Anybody have any advice for her? No, Anna and Dana may not answer this question, because you'll just scare her with your stories of children not sleeping. I need happy stories, people. Please?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Something You Didn't Know, Part II

Okay, so it wasn't really a miracle. It just felt like it at the time.

When I first got my braces on, the orthodontist promised me we'd be all done by the time I went to college. Yet even though I had delayed college a year, I still had a retaining wire bonded to my teeth (I had to have it bonded because I took the removable one out every night in my sleep. I woke up with weird marks on my back a lot). So I went back to the orthodontist and told him to remove the wire, I was going to New York City and I was not going to have braces on my teeth at NYU. He wasn't happy about it, but he did it. I was soon not happy about it either, as my front teeth soon developed a gap you could drive a truck through. But more importantly, something else happened. My headaches started getting better.

At first, I attributed it to the medication I was on, whatever it was at the time. That, and perhaps the effects of some illicit substances I occasionally dabbled in (yes, Mom, just dabbled, all right?) Then I went to the NYU dentistry school to get my teeth cleaned at the student, cut-rate prices. Within five minutes of opening my mouth, I had five dentists standing around the chair, asking me "Do you seem to get a lot of headaches?" and "Have you ever had braces?" Yes, my friends, I had a classic case of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. Subsequent visits to the doctor helped determine that the TMJ trouble caused enough irritation to trigger migraines. This is why massage and muscle relaxants often worked and ergotomaine/caffeine medications and beta-blockers (the standard treatment at the time and what my treatments focused on) did not. Was I angry at the orthodontist who screwed up my bite and at all the headache specialists who didn't listen to me, causing me to lose years and years of my life and everything I'd worked for? Oh, just a bit.

My next challenge was finding a doctor that didn't think I was a drug addict when I went in and asked for some Soma. Eventually I did (I think it was my fourth try), and it was around that time that triptans were introduced. My headaches didn't go away, but they became manageable with medication. Well, sort of. These pills took away most of the pain, but still knocked me out cold when I took them, so I wasn't able to just take a couple at lunchtime and go back to work. Plus, the doses I take are huge compared to most people, and I am very susceptible to rebound headaches. Still, I was functional, which hadn't been the case in the previous eight years. It felt like I'd been let out of jail, and as I got older, the headaches got progressively better, and they went away almost entirely during my pregnancy with Peanut.

So why am I telling you this? Well, to explain why I stopped posting and commenting much. The headaches came back. They started creeping back last spring, and by the middle of the summer I was back to having one every day. Not a migraine every day, but a severe, intractable tension headache that hurt just as much. I was waking up with one every morning. It would get better after my morning shower, but come back with a vengeance by the end of my workday every day. They woke me up at night, but when I would try to catch up on my sleep on the weekends, they would get worse, and about once a week they would turn into a full-blown migraine. The cause this time is more complicated than just TMJ. Stress, musculoskeletal problems, autoimmune system problems all have been conspiring against me.

The difference now is that I am older and have more resources and support. After having Peanut, I have become far more proactive in my own health-care, and more disciplined in my approach towards healing myself. I have been taking it one step at a time, and making it clear to the health-care workers who are treating me that this is not a matter of finding one right fix that will solve my problems. It is going to take a long time to tease out the various triggers that have kept me in pain for so long, but I have faith that I will be able to do it. I'm pretty sure that's not just the Lexapro talking, either. Maybe I am being naive, and have convinced myself of this to make up for my lack of control over Peanut's health, but things feel different now. There was a time this summer when I was as depressed as I have ever been, but I'm working on that too. Chronic pain changes your brain, and it has certainly changed mine. I am not the person I would have been without it, for better or for worse.

So that's what's been going on. I'm not dying, it just feels like it some days. Things seems to be working, little by little, so hopefully I'll be able to get on here more and more. I'm thinking about the NaBloPoMo challenge, which I think I might just take up. So pretty soon you'll be sick of me. Be careful what you wish for!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Know, It's Coming

I'll finish my story soon, when I have more energy, I promise. You'll probably be disappointed anyway.

I just HAD to post this, though: For whoever found me through searching for "easy mama", Big Daddy is laughing and laughing and laughing.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Something You Probably Don't Know About Me

When I was fourteen, I got braces. I also got my first boyfriend, and saw my first horror movie.

I also started getting headaches.

They began as tension headaches, but no doses of ibuprofen or hot showers seemed to relieve them. All I could do was sleep them off. First once a week, then twice, then more. My doctor gave me some heavy painkillers, and said I needed to see a specialist, because Demoral wouldn't cure them, just help until I could be seen. I had a CAT scan and discovered that I was allergic to the dye they put in my veins to illuminate my blood vessels. My boyfriend made "it is not a tumor" jokes in an Ah-nold voice, but I didn't find them funny. I was missing a lot of school. I had always been a good student, so it wasn't too big a deal, but I felt like people thought I was faking it to get out of class. You could take someone's temperature to see if they had a fever, but all I could do was say I was in pain, and if it so happened it was right before algebra class, well, who really knew?

I was diagnosed with migraines after my mother called the neurologist's office for weeks to get the results back (why are all neurologists jackasses?). I was given a prescription for Midrin. I asked if I could take it with the Demoral, and he said yes. Unfortunately, that's not really true. I survived but the Midrin never really helped much. This was the beginning of a long series of drugs that either didn't work on the pain at all or worked only by putting me to sleep until the headache went away.

By the time I was a junior, the headache never went away. For a year and a half, my head hurt all the time. The pain level varied from almost-able-to-forget-it to someone-has-my-head-in-a-vice. I was seeing doctors at a special headache clinic in Chicago. I would tell them that my headaches started off with my neck feeling stiff, and sometimes if my mother massaged my shoulders right when the pain started, I was able to forestall the really bad pain. Unfortunately, all they heard was the part that came next, with the vomiting and the throbbing pain, and kept giving me new drugs. The only one that ever worked was a highly-addictive muscle relaxant, but that didn't seem to trigger anyone's radar.

I always had a list in my wallet of the drugs I was taking, in case I was in a car accident or something (no one who knows me now is at all suprised that this was entirely my idea). Inderal. Cafregot. Norgesic-Forte. Soma. Wellbutrin. Vivactil. This last I give credit to for getting me into college, becuase while I was on it I had really spectacular nightmares that I ended up turning into creepy short stories that I sent as my portfolio to NYU, which accepted me into its Dramatic Writing Program. I was on a restricted diet. No chocolate, no peanut-butter. No orange juice, pizza, sausage, onions or spicy food, no legumes or papayas. No caffeine. As they ticked down the list of forbidden items, they were essentially listing everything I actually ate. For two years of my teenage-hood, I didn't eat pizza or chocolate or have a peanut-butter sandwich, which I had eaten pretty much every day of my life since I had teeth.

At the beginning of senior year, I spent eight days in the hospital in Chicago, over Homecoming week, where they attempted to "break the headache cycle", and get me properly medicated. It was there that I met people like the soft-spoken pastor who, in the throes of a cluster headache, ripped a door off its hinges in front of his wife and children. Or the man who underwent an experimental surgery that cut nerves in his face, leaving one half paralyzed, in order to make his migraines go away. It didn't, but he said it would have been worth it if it had. Or the girl my age, who lived in a darkened room. Her headache was vice-like all the time, and nothing touched it. They sent me in to talk to her, thinking it would cheer us both up, but it really hurt her too much to talk, so I spent my less-pain time listening in on seminars given to patients taking MAO-Inhibitors, which cause strokes if you are taking them and eat aged cheese or MSG.

Nothing worked. By the end of senior year, I had attended school for a total of thirty days. I was a National Merit Scholar, but I was not going graduate. The district attempted to educate me at home, but every time I looked at my pile of homework my headache worsened. I did my best, but one teacher decided to make things difficult for me and when she said that I wouldn't pass her class (creative writing!--remember where I got accepted to college?), I gave up on all the rest of the classes, and watched my classmates walk across the stage for their diplomas from the bleachers on the side of the gym. Just as well, I suppose, because it was hot in there even without the stupid gowns.

But then, a miracle.

To be continued...

Friday, October 13, 2006

I Guess I Hide Things Well

Tonight, after a time-out for hitting Mama in frustration:

"Mama, you made me cry! Mama, you are naughty! No, I will NOT say I'm sorry!"


Peanut: I'm a little girl. Little girls cry.

Mama: Yes, they do, and so do little boys.

Peanut: Little girls cry and little boys cry and daddies cry.

Mama: That's right, and sometimes mamas cry too.

Peanut: NO! No they don't cry! Mamas DON'T cry!


The results of the CAT scan were as we expected, and her hip is not in position. The anterior portion of her pelvis did not grow properly around the ball of the femur, so it comes out of place. After we get the second opinion, we will decide on surgery, which will likely be just after her third birthday in February if we do it.

For those of you that offered up your homes, etc. if we come to your town, I am blown away by your kindness. If I didn't email you back, please forgive me. The reasons for my lack of updates and follow-up emails will appear in an upcoming post, but please know how much Big Daddy, Peanut, and I appreciate your kindness. Consider the offer returned in kind if you decide Madison might be a fun place to visit.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baby Soon

My oldest friend (as in known the longest), Nikki, is in the hospital tonight to have labor induced for her first baby. I don't think I've been this jumpy about a birth since Peanut was born. She's so far away, and it's driving me nuts that I can't be there. Not in the delivery room, of course, just reading a book in the waiting room. We've known each other for almost twenty years, and I couldn't be more excited. Here's wishing you easy labor vibes, Sweetie. I can't wait to meet her.