BIG news

No, I'm not pregnant. Why do people keep asking me that?

I took the plunge. I'm not taking a second husband, though there are days when having someone who could repair things would be nice so Husband and I can play more Mario Kart. I bought a domain and a host. http://www.blueshelled.com is official. I want to thank my good friend, Neil, for all of his help on the new site. My friend, Caleb, will be helping with a new, upcoming design. I'm excited about these changes. Please change your bookmarks and readers and subscriptions and catch me there. It's my new permanent home. Oh, and please bring your friends. I haven't written in several days and there is bound to be some new stuff up soon!



In which my head blows up


Yesterday, I was reading a blog from one of my co-bloggers, Dad Gone Mad. He was talking about his first migraine and how he only thought he knew what they were about until he’d had one himself. I think this is true about many things, including mental illness—the idea that until you experience it first hand, you really have no idea what you are talking about when you write it off as something that someone should be able to pull himself or herself out of or “suck it up.”

I don’t remember my first migraine, but I remember when they started. I was about 6 months pregnant and, like many of my current maladies, all began with the amazing hormone change that was brought about by one of the loves of my life, AJ. AJ just happened to go with me to my last neurologist appointment, which was, incidentally, my first appointment with this particular neurologist. When he asked when they started, and I replied that they occurred when I had AJ, the neurologist showed a wicked sense of humor, turned to AJ and said, “Ah, so it’s all your fault, then?”

Well, yeah, maybe. Or, maybe I was predetermined to have them as I got older. I don’t know half of my medical history, so I’m missing an important link as far as these are concerned. My mom has only had them for the last few years, but I started mine in my early twenties.

It could be because I’m more tightly wound than most. My levels of stress and anxiety tend to be through the roof. I have to moderate myself carefully to keep them at a manageable level. It means that I have to be very self-aware to avoid a meltdown. I’m usually successful. For me, that is. But stress isn’t my only trigger. Rain, stress, not enough sleep, too much sleep, waiting to long to eat, too much sugar, not enough sugar, msg and caffeine are all triggers for me too. Count noise and light in as well. I’m a sensitive little bugger.

I’ve pretty well given up caffeine, except for chocolate. Don’t ask me to give up chocolate. I rarely eat it as it is, but I won’t give it up completely. Since I’ve been eating more healthfully, my migraines have decreased to about once a month when they were at 3-4 per week. I consider that a success.

There is no doubt they are debilitating. When I’ve got one, I’m not going anywhere. I’m sick to my stomach, with an ice pack on my head and in bed with my Duder dog, who is sensitive to my moods and will not leave my side when I have a migraine. I may lay there for 2 days completely awake, but in pain. I have to give up weekends with my family and even work during them, at times, if I can. It’s been termed chronic pain and just like any other chronic pain it doesn’t truly go away for good. It’s always there. Lurking. Like those bad pictures you took in the 8th grade that you know someone will find and put on Access Hollywood if you were to ever become famous.

I’m just learning to manage it. I’m sorry that Dad Gone Mad had to experience what he did. I’m grateful, though, for one more person that truly understands what the experience is like and has more empathy, however.


Never Forget

Sometimes I manage to get it right. I often think that I'm an ok mother. I'm not downing my abilities as a parent, but I see all of those "super moms" and I do tend to wonder how they have the energy for what they are doing. Short of uppers (please pull your panties out of the wad I'm certain they are in, I'm not implying they are drug addicts), I have no idea how those people do it simply because I can't. I tried the stay at home mom thing and failed miserably. I was sad and unproductive and Adrian sure wasn't happy. However, that's a topic for another time. Today, I managed to do something right and that alone is cause for celebration.

This is the part where, if little believing eyes are around, you ask them to go away for about 10 minutes. Why you are letting little believing eyes look at my blog, I have no idea because this is an adult blog.

Last night, AJ was away from home at a sleepover that he'd looked forward to all week. When I say looked forward to, I mean that when I told him he could go after dinner, he was trying to get us to eat dinner at 2:30 in the afternoon. At 7pm, he was allowed to leave and when I say he practically flew out the door and down the street, I don't think I'm exaggerating too much. As such, Husband and I had nothing to do.

Can I communicate what a rare occasion this is? The last time Husband and I have had time without AJ was for Husband's Christmas party, which was 2 hours. Prior to that it was my birthday dinner, which was 2 hours and prior that that, it's beyond my memory, but it was likely something similar. A whole night is unheard of for us and while we were thrilled we were also....well, bored. What do you do when you are used to only doing kid friendly things? Bar hopping? We aren't the type. Clubbing? I currently have a bum knee and Husband won't dance if I pay him (and I've tried paying him). Toilet papering the neighbor whose motorcycle keeps waking me as he drives to work at 4am? Well, you know we're in a recession and toilet paper is expensive. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to actually pick out his basket together as opposed to the whole "I'll run to the store and pick it up, you stay here and keep him busy, routine."

Those that know us personally know that we have been on a journey of "healthful eating" that leads to eating properly and restricted caloric intake 6 days a week and anything we want one day a week. AJ has done well with this and is actually quite a stickler for the rules. He's never believed in Santa or the Easter Bunny (again, another topic for another time), and since Saturday is our "eat what we want" day, we decided that we'd let him have his basket early. The dilemma here was what to get him being that I was not going to allow him to go into sugar shock after restricting his candy/soda intake for 4 months. This is what I came up with:

There are a lot of personal stories behind the items in this basket, but I was looking for a small mixture of decent candy that he can eat over a long term period and enough sugar that he doesn't feel like he's missing out. The items I included were items that AJ has expressed interest in over the course of about a year of shopping. Overall, I spent about the same amount as I would have on a candy basket and this is mainly stuff he can use again and again. I also don't feel guilty about giving him a little bit of candy and then telling him to eat healthy meals this way. Husband and I patted ourselves on the back for our ingenuity and waited to see how AJ would react.

He came home tired from his sleepover, but happy. I explained the situation about how Easter is tomorrow and everyone else would be getting things tomorrow, but that since his free day was on Saturday, it might make more sense for him to get it today. However, if he didn't want it today, that would be fine and it was his choice. AJ's a rational little guy and said "Gimme the basket." At first, he didn't understand that the bucket WAS his basket. When he did, his expression was hilarious. He kept going through the items saying "this is the best Easter basket ever" and "I will never forget this day." He's a little melodramatic. I don't know where he gets it.

The fun wasn't over, though, as Husband had decided that we were all going to see Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D after some necessary afternoon shopping and a leisurely dinner. I'd never seen a 3D movie and I was pretty excited about the whole thing. When we got to the mall, I found jeans (in a smaller size! YES!) and an adorable old-fashioned looking dress that I'm looking for excuses to wear. One place we always stop at is Brooks Brothers because Husband has become something of a BB addict. Look, if he won't take the first step and admit it, I'll do it for him. I'm assertive that way. They were having a sale and while he and I looked at things, AJ made friends with the salespeople. He really did. He talks to everyone. He made friends with the man fixing our central heat the other day, too. He loves people. I couldn't hear what he was talking about, but saw him talking to the man and looking at the women's jewelry and asking questions.

As we were about to leave, he asked me to try on a bracelet to see if it would fit because he wanted to buy a bracelet for "someone special" with the money he'd gotten from his grandmother for Easter. After having me try on about 20 bracelets, he chose one that was so tight on me I think it cut off circulation. AJ is a loving little guy and I wasn't sure if this was for me or for someone at school, but either way, it was far too expensive for anyone and he didn't need to buy it. I tried to be sneaky and said, "AJ, you know I don't wear pearls, right?" Total lie. I do wear pearls, regular pearls, not the ones with silver that he'd chosen. He winced and said, "But I want to buy these for you! I'm going to buy them for your Easter present. I want it to be special." Husband looked at him and mentioned that if I wanted the bracelet that we had the funds to purchase it and AJ didn't have to spend any money to buy me a bracelet. AJ looked at him like he was dumb (I'll admit, I do that a lot to people and it's not a good trait) and said "I have money and I want to buy it with my money so it will be special." Leon had him ask me if it's the bracelet I wanted and I pointed to one that wouldn't require an amputation of my hand. I thought that the extra $2 it cost might deter him because he tends to be thrifty with his money. Not today. He had his heart set on this.

My 8-year old bought me a silver bracelet from Brooks Brothers so I could have a special Easter present "just like his." With his own money. All the money he has. He insisted upon carrying it out of the store and said, "Mama, this is for you. Happy Easter." I hugged him tightly, got choked up and kissed the top of his head. He grinned at me and whispered, "You'll never forget this day, will you?" No, AJ. I will never forget this day.


April 6, 2009
There isn't much in life that is as cathartic as making a list of songs that you can listen to over and over again that have meaning to you and then just putting them on shuffle when you are having a bad day.

April 1, 2009
I can say with unequivocal authority that is is not good when your husband instant messages you when you are in the middle of the lecture and the following pops up on the powerpoint screen: "Illusions, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money. Or candy!"

March 31, 20009
If I could see myself the way AJ sees me, I'd never doubt myself or my capabilities ever again.