And now for another really poorly drawn cartoon.

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Hope springs a leak.

I keep getting hopeful.  I will find a temporary cure for an ailment, a client will call for a good solid case, my children will say something sweet, or I will bake one hell of an amazing overly chocolately M&M filled GF cookie.  Smiling will happen, happiness will bubble up, the world will seem normal and I will begin to believe I can do it all again!

Then hope springs a leak.

The headache returns. I get tired from working. I get so tired from working that I no longer have the energy to do anything that makes the children want to say anything sweet.  The would be awesome cookie does that GF thing where it wicks all the moisture out of your mouth and turns your once luminescent skin into a drying human husk.

Do you think someone out there could create a hope leak sealant? I know you can’t create a whole new hope I can just attach to myself and move on with, but if you could just make a spray of some kind I could use that could tide me over until the cookies come out right or the headache goes away, I would really appreciate it.

In fact, I bet there is a huge untapped market out there for hope leak sealant. Think of the millions of dollars you, the intrepid entrepreneur, could make by shoring up people’s hope just long enough for them to get things really going.  It’s a hugely underutilized market just waiting for the right inventor to come along.

So get on it already! I need myself some spray on hope!

The revolving ring of self imposed isolation.

Chronic pain makes me whiny.  Whining is unpleasant to be around.  Trust me, I am unhappy being around my own whining, but I have yet to determine a way to remove my own thoughts from my head without drastic ninja sword action.

So when I hurt really badly and I want to call someone to distract me or hang out with me or maybe bring me a silly movie you would think I would make that call.

I don’t because the following conversation happens in my head:

“I really hurt and feel like no one loves me anymore.  Why doesn’t anyone check on me?”

“Well, they have lives silly, you should call them and see if they are available. Also, last time I checked none of your friends can actually read your mind.”

“But all I will do is whine, and all I have to talk about is this stupid headache, and who wants to be around someone who doesn’t have anything positive to say?”

“Your friends do, that is why they call them friends. Besides, they have positive things to tell you. It might help.”

“But they aren’t calling me.  What if this is their subtle way of signaling that they are really tired of listening to me whine about chronic pain?”

“You are being ridiculous, I doubt any of your friends would be that subtle.  Most likely they would simply ask you if you could see a therapist and talk about something else.”

“So now I’m ridiculous and whiny? No one wants to hang out with a stupid ridiculous whiny person.  I’m just going to hide here on the couch, watch someone on t.v. fight fake monsters, and feel sorry for myself because no one loves me anymore.”

So I do.

My mother’s tiny glass heart.

It’s hard to be a child. School is challenging, scary, and often filled with awkward and unpleasant social encounters that eat away at the enjoyment of your day.  If you think about how tiny the wee people we send to school are, how thin the shielding around their easily wounded hearts can be, and the plethora of peer induced traumatic events awaiting them each day it’s no wonder they often fake illness to stay home.

When I was a little girl my mother, who has always considered herself a bear, would tell me there was a little bear on my shoulder, sitting next to me and giving me love and strength.  It worked wonders knowing that no matter what the more popular kid said to me or the angry kid did to me or who “accidentally” pushed me at recess my mother bear was there with me to help me stand up, brush myself off, and move on with the day.

Now my wee offspring are navigating the tumultuous waters of school, and while I tell them they have a little cat on their shoulder, which is the animal I identify with, it doesn’t work the same way it did with me.  (Perhaps because cats are capricious and don’t always want to do what you need them to do.)

So my mother gave them each a little glass heart:

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They carry her little heart along with them in their pocket during the day.  Oliver told me proudly that Nama was with him all day at school because her heart was in his pocket.  Marlena found herself comforted by gripping the tiny expression of unquestioning love when she was having a sad day.  Each day before they go to school, they make sure they have their little glass heart with them, just in case.  Each day they feel, tangibly, that someone who loves them with the unconditional fierceness of a grandmother is walking by their side as they deal with the myriad of problems that arise in their day.

I am not sure mom realizes what a huge difference her tiny glass hearts have made in the hearts of her grandchildren, but I know the benefit these small people get from her thoughtful gesture will be remembered forever.

Faded memories.

They peek out from behind the anger and the hurt, the sorrow and the pain.

A day when he brought home water guns and initiated a water gun fight in the house with me and the children.

A night when the power went out in Jersey in the wintery chill and we camped in the attic under sleeping bags with candles burning to keep warm.

The cards he used to randomly leave me, expressing love, support, longing.

The night he climbed up on the bed to relocate a spider that insisted on trying to sleep directly above my head.

Each good memory shimmers hazily in the back of my mind.  As if a gossamer layer of the harder times is laid over the reasons we were married to begin with.  It’s hard work to pull back that shade, to let back in the sunny memories of jokes, laughter, silly games, and days spent desiring no one’s company but each other’s.  Pulling back those curtains is heartbreaking. It brings with it sorrow, pain, longing, regret, and tears. Brimming over when least expected. Rivers of salt streaming down my cheeks.

It would be so much easier to hold onto the hurts, the old and new betrayals, the volumes of harsh words.  It would be so much less deeply cutting to wrap myself in the comfortable protection of  indignation and fuel my decisions with the certain and unquestioning fire of anger.

But the light keeps peeking through.  The carpet picnics before the fire, the romantic talks on the roof, the day he realized he should never leave me alone with a fight going on in my head because he would always lose it unless he was there to speak his point of view.  The day I caught a photo of his hand, his giant strong hand, holding the smallest of butterflies.  The perfect juxtaposition between his strength and his gentleness.

The time has passed enough that the light keeps seeping in from the shadows.  I come across positive moments like an amnesiac hits upon a memory.  Suddenly, with no warning and in the middle of the mundane, there is the memory of a happier time, just waiting to be accepted back in.  I can feel it pulling at the back of my memory, asking gently for permission to come to the forefront and let the healing truly begin.

I kicked chronic pain’s ass this morning.

I awoke as I normally do, pounding headache and aching right shoulder from the accident.  I took some vitamin V and the I conquered the world!

I made candied bacon.  I made bacon, mushroom, egg cups.  I fed the whole family and I did it all in my batgirl jammies.  (Mostly because Oliver made me put them on, as he was wearing his TMNT jammies and he wanted some solidarity).

So, candied bacon (Which I had for the first time at my cousins’ house, making them the best cousins in the world):

1 package turkey bacon (I hate turkey bacon, I never use the stuff, however it works so well for candied bacon that it is my one exception)

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/8 – 1/4 cup hot water

Set the oven to 350. Stir the water and brown sugar.  Lay the freakishly uniform strips of turkey bacon on a pan.  Gently drizzle ‘bacon’ with sugarwater mixture until each piece is fully covered.  Bake until crisp.  Pull from oven and cut into small bite sized pieces of deliciousness.

Breakfast egg cup things:

Thoroughly and unremittingly spray a cupcake pan with non-stick spray. I mean really spray the sucker.

Eggs, 1 per cup

Veggie of some kind (Preferably that you like to consume with eggs)

Meat of some kind (Also that you like to consume with eggs)

Set oven to 350. Place a few small slices of meat into the bottom of each cup.  Add a veggie, like a mushroom, some onion, broccoli, etc.  Crack one egg over the top of each pile of goodies.  Place in oven and bake until the egg looks good.  I like the yolk a little runny and the whites completely cooked so I cooked it for about 12 minutes.

Pop out of cupcake pans, and gobble up with tiny bits of candied bacon.

Happiness!

Hope shines through a tow truck accident.

So I was minding my own business last Wednesday, driving to get my daughter from school, when a giant tow truck ran a red light and slammed into the right rear panel and wheel well of my car.

Ouch.

I went to the ER for the resulting shoulder pain and complete freezing up of the right side of my body and was given Valium to release the muscle spasms.  I began taking it and the most amazing thing happened.

My headache went away. Seriously, it magically disappeared.

Then another thing happened, when I took more Valium, it went away again.

I have not had a debilitating migraine since I began taking Valium after the accident. I have had some breakthrough headaches, but I feel as though I have found Valhallah. I have a much clearer head than before, and while my shoulder is throbbing and slung, my brain gremlins are sleeping in a Valium induced coma.

Today I spoke with my specialist and he is willing to try Valium for three months and see what happens.  He also wants me to get a C-Spine MRI and CatScan and a barrage of other tests to see if this could all be a problem with my neck.  My entire life my doctors have tested my head, but it’s been over a decade since I had a CSpine.  He has diagnosed me with a partial disability as I am still dealing with over 26 headache days a month, but at this moment I have found something that makes the pain stop.

So the moral of the story? Get hit by a tow truck.