Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kitchen Woes–November 24, 2013

With the holidays approaching, I anticipate spending lots more time in the kitchen in the next month or so. The problem is that I’m not so thrilled with my kitchen right now. In the first house we lived in when we moved to Wisconsin, I loved my kitchen (probably because we had the house built for us and I got exactly what I wanted in the kitchen). There was tons of counter space, double ovens, and a flat-top range. In the last house, our kitchen wasn’t quite so nice, but it was roomy and all the appliances were relatively new. Granted, I got the new range when the old one caught fire, but it was new nonetheless.

My current kitchen is the smallest of the three. I’ve got a new refrigerator, but it partly cuts off access to the pantry. I do have a new dishwasher that I love. We plan to replace the range, hopefully before anything catches fire, but it won’t be in the near future. I’m still having issues with burning things pretty frequently (temperature control issues – no open flame!). And counter space, and any other space for that matter, is at a premium. We have already moved a couple of other storage units into the kitchen area to help with storage.

I’m not crazy about the cabinet design, but I can live with it until we can remodel. The cabinet doors were getting in the way, so we took the top cabinet doors were off and it’s now just open shelving. The kitchen is all white with butcher block pattern Formica on the counters. The lazy susan in the corner shelving is stuck, so we can’t really open it all the way, but we’ve gotten used to that. There are a couple of walls painted a shade of yellow just slightly darker than lemon yellow – not remotely my favorite color.

What am I going to do to make myself happier in my kitchen? I’m not very sure right now. here are a few ideas to try out this week.

1. Fewer things on the counters. Generally, I like to have things like the crock pot and mixer (Kitchen Aid counter style) on the counter because they’re big and I don’t like to haul them out from their storage spots. But, clearing out counter space might be worth it. Of course, I have no idea where they might live . . .

2. Figure out a decorative way to deal with dish towels. This seems minor, but the dish towels that have holes to hang them don’t have big enough holes for the cabinet knobs and there’s no other place to easily hang them, so they end up strewn over the counter.

3. Deal with the hot mitts, maybe by hanging them on the wall behind the stove. These are another thing that just get strewn about.

4. Evaluate all the stuff on the counter that I don’t want to “live” there and decide where I want it to “live” and decide how to get the rest of the family to agree.

Hmmmmm. It appears that counters are my issue. Well, it looks like I’ll be dealing with counters tomorrow or Tuesday (depending on my headache status tomorrow).

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for living in a small kitchen with not enough counter space? Any input is welcome?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes–November 23, 2013


1. Last night, PWM, Wild Man, and I went to head the University Choir and Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s Requiem. Rosie Girl was thrilled to be part of the choir and I don’t blame her. The music was just amazing! Unlike anything I’ve ever heard.

2. It’s deer season here in the upper Midwest! Today was “Deer Hunter Widow’s Weekend”, an unofficial holiday in which the men go deer hunting and the wives go craft shopping. We usually aren’t too busy in our shop, although today wasn’t too bad. To be honest, though, I know lots of women who are out in the woods this weekend. Here’s a hysterical comic for all of you deer hunting families!

3. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV in the morning while the turkey cooks. When I was growing up, Mom would be making cornbread dressing and other things during the parade. This year, I’ll just be letting the turkey cook since I hope to have most other things pretty well prepared the day before. Here’s some interesting things about the Macy’s parade.

4. I learned about a lot of things when I moved to Wisconsin, like snow and deer and cold. One thing I didn’t expect to be different up here was the name for a water fountain. Apparently, here in Wisconsin, we call a water fountain a “bubbler”. Who knew? Here’s a great article all about why we have bubblers in Wisconsin and hardly anywhere else.

5. One of my favorite authors is C.S. Lewis. Another of my favorite authors and speakers is Alistair McGrath. Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death, McGrath has published a new biography of Lewis. I can’t wait to read it!

6. I love homeschooling because we can teach our kids what we think is important, even if that is Jedi training.

7. I could totally watch dominoes falling forever. I think it is so cool. This one is the Guinness world record holder for the tallest domino set-up.

So, how was your week? Check out Conversion Diary to see what others are doing!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My GQ Man - November 20, 2013


When Wild Man was 6 or 7 years old, he loved to dress in nice dress clothes for church. He would wear dress pants with a vest and tie. Our pastor often commented that he was outdressed by Wild Man. (We go to a pretty casual church.) He outgrew that phase and has been pretty much into jeans and T-shirts like the rest of the family until recently.

Now that he’s in Youth Band and on the adult Worship Team at church, he has need of wearing things a little dressier than T-shirts. Well, at least T-shirts without words on them. And, for school choir performances, he definitely has to wear nice clothes.

Yesterday, he decided that he wanted to wear a nice shirt and tie to school for band and choir. So, he did. He wore a black shirt with a red patterned tie. Today, he wore a black shirt with a blue patterned tie. I think he may need more shirts to continue the trend, but he likes how he looks. So do I. It’s classy.


He’s my GQ Man!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Migraine Paranoia–November 18, 2013

I’ve had a headache today, the leftovers of a moderate migraine last night. The headache hasn’t been bad. What HAS been bad has been my migraine paranoia. After last week’s severe and prolonged migraine, I’m very prone to worry.

Whenever I’m a bit nauseous, I wonder if it’s bad enough to take meds. If my insides start to cramp up at all, I worry that I’m about to spend an hour in the bathroom. If my headache moves to one side for a few minutes, I stress that it’s getting migraine-y and I need to take my triptan.

Normally, I get through these bothersome headache days without too much emotional trouble. Today, though, I stressed out at just about every possible migraine symptom. When I caught myself dwelling on symptoms, I tried to stop, pray, and get back into my knitting and listening to my book (Sycamore Row by John Grisham).

I’m praying that tomorrow is better. I need to get on the treadmill because my left hip is really hurting and I didn’t walk today. I also have my audiology appointment tomorrow (PWM and the kids are telling me I don’t hear so well these days). So, here’s to a good day tomorrow, Lord willing (and the creek don’t rise)!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mini-Reviews–November 16, 2013

I’m going to take the chance today to give some mini-reviews of some books, movies, and productions I’ve experienced recently.

Carousel – PWM and I saw this last night at UWSP. Unfortunately, tonight was its last showing, so you’re out of luck to see this particular musical. What I can say, though, is that this was a really well-done show and I anticipate that any other musicals are also quite good. I didn’t think the ending was really strong, but that was the fault of the play itself (and how dare I criticize Rogers and Hammerstein?!) and not the performers. The cast was excellent. The vocal leads were quite strong. The two dancers who performed the ballet were exquisite. PWM and I thought it was an excellent night out and well worth the drive.

Blood and Beauty – by Sarah Dunant. I listened to this fictionalized account of the Borgia family on audio. It’s rather long, so it took me over a month of rather intermittent listening, but it was interesting enough to keep me coming back for more. Obviously, the author had to take some liberties with the history in places where the actual events are in question. But, she did a good job in keeping true to the characters’ personalities as she had drawn them. A

The Challenger Disaster – We watched this movie on the Discovery channel tonight and found it fascinating. PWM loves the popular work of Dr. Richard Feynman. This show was about the commission that investigated the Challenger disaster from the point of view of Dr. Richard Feynman, the one truly independent person on the panel. It was enlightening (and distressing) to see how all the parties involved were trying to cover up any possible problems by their own agencies instead of actually getting down to the real problem. I highly recommend watching this. It should still be available to watch over the next few days on Discovery Channel or Science Channel.

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – I may have already reviewed this somewhere. In any case, I got started reading this because Rosie Girl has been reading it and watching the DVD. I’ve decided that the book is plenty explicit about violence and sexuality and I don’t really need to see the DVD. But, the book is a wide-ranging, medieval-type fantasy story that is fun and fascinating. I really enjoyed it. A

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin – By the time we get to the end of this book, the few beginning plot ropes have unraveled into tiny little plot threads that are spread all over Westeros and even into the Summer Lands. And we start to get a little magic in the mix just to keep life interesting. And I’m still enjoying the read. A

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin – Nothing happens simply in this story. Just when you think that this person might make it to their destination, a band of outlaws catches them and takes them somewhere else. Just when you’re sure someone is dead, you find out that they’re not. I’m starting to feel like my brain is being whipped around like a tether ball or something. I’m only halfway through, so I’ll rate it when I’m done.

Monsters U – This was available on Pay-per-View the other day and it was truly worth it. It was fun and made us laugh and played on every college stereotype I remember. I very much recommend this movie. A

That’s what’s been up with us. Any movies, books, TV shows, etc. that you’d recommend? I’m all ears!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday–November 15, 2013


Whew! I made it to Friday! Somewhere around Wednesday morning, I wasn’t quite sure. This has been quite the week. Now I’ve just got a migraine hangover and I’m super-tired. Here’s the 7 Quick Takes for this week:

1. Wild Man is playing electric guitar for Christmas Eve service this year. The big piece that they’re doing is a Trans-Siberia Orchestra piece. I’m sure I’ll be bragging on him more as the Christmas season gets underway. In the meantime, I get to hear lots and lots of practice.

2. Next Friday night, we get to hear the Choral Union and Concert Choir from UWSP perform Mozart’s Requiem! This is especially exciting because Rosie Girl is in the Choral Union.

3. Delivering babies was one of my favorite jobs as a family doctor. The thing I didn’t like was complications, like when a baby got stuck and we had to intervene to get the baby out of the birth canal. Here’s a great article about a new invention by an auto mechanic (!) to help get babies out who are stuck with fewer complications. And, it sounds like it will be great for use in low-resource locations!

4. How do you know what to say to someone who is ill? Or what to say to the caregiver? How do you deal with your own emotions while being sensitive to their emotions? This article gives a great graphic about how we can do that. Everyone should read it.

5. I really love 19th century romance novels, particularly Jane Austen novels. Thankfully, I discovered them after I was married, so I wasn’t tempted to use them as dating manuals. This woman shows why 19th century romance novels are terrible guides to finding a man.

6. Have you seen this? It’s a comic about a year in the life of a parent and is adorable. You have got to click on that link.

7. It’s pretty chilly here. Time to make soup! Particularly tomato soup!! We have a big ham bone so I can make the stock. I am debating whether or not to make it before or after Thanksgiving. I’ll probably make it after Thanksgiving since Wild Man has a bunch of performances and soup will make for easy dinners.

So, what’s up with you? Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see how others are doing this weekend?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

So, it’s been a rough week on the headache front. The migraine started Monday night and finally ended today. The worst part was Wednesday early am when I had a couple of hours of violent vomiting and diarrhea. But, now it appears to be over, so I get a couple of days of recovery.

With the migraine, I’ve done a lot of “sleeping” (lying down with my eyes closed and sometimes even being unconscious, but it’s not always restful). I’ve also gotten some work done on the two sweaters I’m knitting. When the headache isn’t too bad, I’ve done some reading.

I tried to watch the new History Channel show about the Bible. With a title like “Bible Secrets Revealed”,  I shouldn’t have expected much. It delivered even less. In the first thirty minutes (before I got too exasperated and turned it off), they managed to say that the resurrection was made up and added to the end of the Gospels, that the virgin birth was based on a mistranslation, and that the Gospels weren’t “written” by anyone who actually knew Jesus. Ack! None of those things are factually correct and the evidence for what they are stating needs to be laid out against the evidence for the claims made by Christianity. Of course, managing to make those claims in thirty minutes, means that they weren’t able to provide a remotely decent argument, just an expert with a few random facts. I should know better than to expect real in-depth thought from the network that brings us “Ancient Aliens”.

And, I’m done ranting. I think I’ll go read some before bed. What about you? Anything interesting in your life?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Appliances–November 13, 2013

We got a new sink disposal today! I was pretty excited that there was already one in place when we bought the house, but it died about a week ago. It’s replaced now, so life will go back to being a bit more convenient. Oh, the things that make me happy!

The kitchen in this house was not exactly one of it’s selling points. There wasn’t a fridge when we bought it so we purchased one immediately. We got a great deal on it, but it sticks out in front of our pantry door a bit, so we can’t get all the way in to the pantry easily (but, how often does one need to get all the way into a pantry?). The dishwasher that was in here had to have been from the ‘70’s. We replaced that several months ago when we got our washer and dryer. The way the plumbing was set up, we had to have the plumber install it instead of the regular installation guys.

That leaves the stove/oven range. And I would seriously like to replace that right now. The stove isn’t too bad except that we have to turn the heat all the way to high and then turn it down to get to the right setting and even then it isn’t very precise. The oven is what is very frustrating. Even with an oven thermometer, I can’t seem to figure out how to set the oven temperature. I’m pretty sure this thing is about 30 years old. It’s the next thing to get replaced when we have the money. Cooking a Thanksgiving turkey in this thing is going to be an adventure.

The joys of buying an old house! And don’t even get me started on the size of the bathroom and the kitchen. But, I’m thankful we have this house and that it’s heated and that we have the shop out back. Eventually, we’ll get all the stuff in the house settled in to the way I like it. Eventually.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;

incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,

that our fathers have told us.

 We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

Psalm 78:1-4

This was part of my Bible reading for  today and it really reminded me of how important it is that we teach our children scripture every day while  they still live  at home with us. the context of this passage is that it is a psalm that is encouraging Israel not to forget the great things God has done for the nation of Israel. If you continue reading, the psalm continues with a recitation of God’s provision in taking Israel out of Egypt and how he provided for them in the desert.

I think it can still teach us today the importance of carrying on the tradition of teaching our children our faith while they live at home with us. In our family, this has meant Bible studies integrated into our homeschooling as well as reading the Bible at night. The kids were both in AWANA and then middle school and high school youth groups (although Wild Man is the one who really has gotten into youth group). But, we also try to make our lifestyle one of faith, a life where we are showing love to those around us, to our friends and to those less fortunate. We want to demonstrate a life of prayer, where it’s not weird to just stop and pray for something or someone.

There’s no guarantee that our kids are going to stick with Christianity, or at least our Evangelical version of it. We are now watching Rosie Girl start to spread her wings and debate lots of theological and social issues with friends as she tries to decide what she believes about God and Jesus. Wild Man is just a few years behind her and he’s also trying to sort out the whole “relationship with Jesus” thing. The Bible doesn’t come with a set of instructions on exactly what to do with each kind of kid. Sigh. All prayers and suggestions would be appreciated.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Car!! November 11, 2013

Today is Veteran’s Day, in which we remember those who served our country in the armed forces. This includes my brother, who served in the US Marine Corps. Today is also my brother’s birthday! So, Happy Birthday and Thank You for your service!!

Not only that, but PWM got back from my brother’s house in Georgia today with a car! Actually, an SUV. My brother and his wife offered us their old Trooper if we could come and get it, and we found a cheap plane ticket for PWM, so he went and got it. We’ve been down to one car for several months and are thrilled to have another car since Wild Man has his temps (aka learner’s permit) and will get his driver’s license in May (EEK!).

How cool is that?! We needed a car, but can’t afford one right now, so my brother and his wife just gave us their old one. That’s incredibly generous. So, whenever I think about how my brother put poppers under the toilet seat that one time or was obnoxious about my driving, or locked me out of the house, I can think that somehow he actually turned out to be a decent and giving human being. (I’m not quite sure I’ve forgiven him about the popper incident, though.)

And we have two working vehicles!! Yay!!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I’m trying not to be depressed about LSU losing to Alabama. I mean, Alabama has been ranked first in the country all season and hasn’t even had real competition yet. And LSU was supposed to be the real competition. Well, they were tied at one point.

Rosie Girl came home this weekend and watched Les Miserables with me. Then she and Wild Man went to the theater to watch Thor 2, which they loved. After they got home, we made some cheese fondue to eat with french bread and broccoli. Yummy! And after that was the second half of the football game. Blah.

Sophie likes it when Rosie Girl comes home, but Sophie plays some emotional games with Rosie Girl at first. Sophie won’t come to Rosie Girl when she calls. But, when Rosie Girl picks Sophie up, she’ll let herself be cuddled. And, she’ll usually sleep with Rosie Girl. Starting Monday, Sophie will spend an hour or so every morning sitting outside Rosie Girl’s bedroom door (which is just a curtain – she could go inside the room). I think Sophie has figured out how long a week is. She seems to expect Rosie Girl to show up around Friday or Saturday. Strange cat.

Friday, November 08, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday–November 8, 2013


And it’s Friday again! And you know what that means!!

1. Wild Man got his temps/learners permit!! He can start to drive with an adult in the car!! Now let’s see when we can find enough time for someone to get enough time to drive with him. He’s already done the classroom part of his driver’s ed course and he is about to set up time to drive with his instructor. Watch out world!!

2. The Winter Olympics are coming in a few months! Here’s a cool article about what some of the athletes do for a living. What’s amazing is that they have jobs and still have time to train to be world class athletes. Talk about commitment!

3. Wild Man has dyslexia and had to work really hard to learn to read. It was clear when he was learning phonics that his eyes didn’t track properly, and one of the things that really helped him was vision therapy. He also tended to mix up his “m”s and “w”s, which is unusual with dyslexics. They’re more likely to get “b”s and “d”s switched. Here is an interesting article showing some ways that dyslexics may see written words. No wonder they hate reading! Thankfully, a heavy dose of tutoring and vision therapy has gotten Wild Man to reading well. Now to get spelling and grammar caught up!

4. Here’s a cute button! It reminds me of when I would hear my mom coming when I was supposed to be cleaning my room!

5. So, how did an alligator escape in O’Hare Airport? Crazy! I’m from Florida, so I’m used to hearing about alligators showing up in places that they’re not supposed to be, but, Chicago? Really?

6. I love sleep. Really. PWM wonders how I made it through medical school with my love of sleep. Apparently, in past centuries in the Northern Hemisphere, people didn’t always just sleep in one long period of sleep every night. They actually had several hours of sleep, a couple of hours of quiet wakefulness, then more sleep. Overall, though, they probably got eight hours of sleep total. How interesting.

7. Here’s a great article about whether or not Forrest Gump could have survived his cross-country run. I’m not remotely interested in running, but I liked the take-home message that exercise is best when you’re not concerned about the finish line, but about the moment itself. Read the article. It’s good.

Check out Conversion Diary to see what others have been up to this week. And have a great week!!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Reality TV - November 7, 2013

I like watching several kinds of reality shows on TV. Some of them I set to watch on the DVR while others I catch when I have a chance. PWM and I enjoy watching TV while we’re knitting in the evening.

Tonight was Project Runway All-Stars. This has become a routine for me to watch, especially since I’ve gotten into knitting. How do knitting and fashion relate? Well, a lot of stuff to do with knitting IS fashion. The colors that are hot this season affect what we keep in stock in the shop. The shapes of jackets and sweaters, in particular, affect the patterns that are likely to sell. Besides, it’s fun. I’m not terribly interested in interpersonal politics, but I like the fabrics and the designs.

Cooking shows are some of my other favorite shows. I’m pretty religious about watching Top Chef. I like to cook, but know nothing about professional cooking, so this gives me an insight into the world of the professional chef. I also enjoy Chopped, but I always say that Chopped is just like a busy parent who’s trying to come up with dinner on a busy evening! And, of course, there are Next Iron Chef and Food Network Star that are enjoyable as well.

When we are just channel surfing and looking for something to watch, PWM and I will often watch Pawn Stars and American Pickers. They aren’t competition shows but they are reality shows and are pretty interesting.

The only other TV that I really enjoy is documentaries and the occasional PBS period drama, particularly Downton Abbey. What kinds of TV do you watch? Any recommendations for me?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I think the Botox is working. I actually felt pretty good most of yesterday and then felt a true migraine coming on last night. I took a Maxalt before bed last night. Today, my headache has been intermittent. It seems too soon for the Botox to be taking effect, so maybe it’s a placebo effect, but I was having rebound headache from the lack of it, so I guess it’s possible that getting it back in my system at all has improved things. In any case, I’m already happier.

The one thing that hasn’t changed yet is my fatigue. I’m still really, really tired. Of course, I was really tired while I was on the Botox. A large part of the reason is side effects of my medications. I’m not going to ask to decrease any of my medications during the winter, though, because my mood tends to go downhill during medication changes. Exercise will also help my fatigue. Hopefully, I can do more of that now that I’m back on Botox.

We have three cats in our house. Sophie is Rosie Girl’s cat, but she obviously can’t stay with Rosie Girl in the dorm. Since Rosie Girl left, Sophie has spent most of her days lying on my side of PWM’s and my bed during the day. For some reason, though, she has spent the last couple of days downstairs, particularly at the back windows watching the birds and squirrels. The birds and squirrels haven’t been any more active than usual that I can tell, but Sophie just needs to watch them. And when she needs to rest, she lies down somewhere downstairs or on the floor outside of Rosie Girl’s bedroom, not in my room. I’m not sure what’s going on. It’s suspicious.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Raising Kids With Grace–November 5, 2013

Before I had kids, I knew everything about raising kids. When my kids young, I knew nothing about raising them. Now that they’re well into their teens, I know a little about how to raise kids. Here is about one of the few things I’ve learned.

When kids are young and in Sunday School and AWANA (and, hopefully, at home), we start to teach them Bible stories and about Jesus and how wonderful God’s grace is. They understand the idea of gifts and that God gives us his grace. And all of this leads up to their understanding salvation. And we’re so proud when they can articulate their understanding of salvation (whatever their developmental level) and get baptized (for those of us evangelicals).

Alongside this, and sometimes even overshadowing this, we also teach kids to be good. And that’s OK, because there’s a lot in the Bible about being good. Jesus taught a lot about how to follow him. And God makes it pretty clear that following His plan is a good idea. So we spend a lot of time and energy teaching kids how to act.

We do this even with teenagers. In fact, we probably do this more with teenagers. As a parent, I spend a lot of time and energy helping my kids to understand how God wants them to live and why. Why is sexual purity important? What is integrity and how do you live that in daily life? These are important things I want my kids to know and understand before they leave home.

Wait. Full stop. What’s the point of living a Godly life? Who cares if we’re good? It matters not one bit if we don’t understand grace. God wants us to be good because we’re living a life alongside Him, not because of the inherent goodness of following the rules. Just being good for the sake of being good is legalism.

But, when I look at how much time and energy I spend (and spent) teaching my kids to be good and how much I spent helping them to understand God’s amazing grace, I must admit that I’m pretty appalled. I got caught up into the whole “good kid” craze. Parenting is about raising good kids, right? No. Parenting is about raising kids who love Jesus. Being good is secondary (hopefully a very close second).

Grace is more than the salvation and baptism thing. Grace is walking with Jesus. Grace is Jesus being with us through all the trials and temptations of like. Grace is having a reason to “be good”. Grace keeps us going even after the emotional highs of a great week at camp. Grace is Jesus saying how much He loves us even when we aren’t “good” and that He’s still right there. You’ll never be too far gone for God’s grace. That’s what I want my kids to know.

I’ve got one kid at college and another here at home for another 2 and a half years. They’re already “good” kids. I’ve spending more of my influence now on helping them learn about grace and that it’s always there.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Botox–November 4, 2013

I got my Botox treatment today!! Within 48 hours, I won’t be able to raise my eyebrows or wiggle my ears. Never mind that I’ve never been able to wiggle my ears. I’m about three weeks late for this treatment (I forgot to call 6 weeks after the last treatment because I was in Florida and that’s when they get the insurance approval and set up the next appointment, etc.) so I’ve been having two weeks of terrible rebound headaches and the injections were particularly painful this time. Nonetheless, the fact that I rebounded when the Botox wore off is more evidence of how effective the treatments are.

Before I started seeing my current neurologist, I didn’t see a neurologist for several years and was having my family doctor treat my migraines. I knew there was a migraine expert at the referring neurology group, but I had had a very unpleasant appointment with him and he didn’t have anything new to offer for my chronic headache treatment, so my family doctor agreed to manage to my headaches. And things went well during those years. I would occasionally get overloaded on my acute medications and have to stop them and deal with the rebound headaches, but we expected those times.

When my family doctor left and I had to choose a new family doctor, I decided to see someone a few years younger than myself. She recommended a new neurologist who specializes in migraines. He’s so young! Or, I’m so old. In any case, this new guy had me go off my acute medications – again. This time, though, he gave me Botox to try to get through the rebound. I think he thought that once I got through the rebound that the headaches would get a lot better and we could wean off most of my meds. Alas, no. In fact, we’ve maxed out my meds and the Botox. But, I’m in a pretty tolerable place with my headaches. At least, when I have my Botox on board.

The thing I really like about my family doctor and my neurologist is that they take my headaches seriously. I know that sounds kind of crazy. Isn’t their job to take headaches seriously? Here’s the thing: I was in med school in the early 90s and there were certain diagnoses that didn’t get as much “respect” or “street cred” as others. Since there wasn’t much treatment for migraine at the time, people who came in with migraines could have had migraines or be drug seekers. Who could tell? Anyone with a chronic pain diagnosis without obvious physical findings was suspicious. How did we know that didn’t just want drugs, either for themselves or to sell? Yeah, I know. Talk about not having a “therapeutic relationship” with patients.

Med school was also an interesting time for med students in other ways. We were pushed to our limits, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We weren’t to show weakness – and that included pain. If you hurt, you worked through it. I went back to work 3 days after my appendectomy – and my attending physician joked about needing to see the pathology report if I needed to leave early that day (I stayed the whole time).

It was also the time that we were teaching patients about being responsible for their own health through diet and exercise. When someone had heart disease or uncontrolled diabetes, there was an undercurrent that it was somehow their fault. If the patient had just done a better job of things, they wouldn’t have high blood sugars or they wouldn’t need heart surgery. Of course, this isn’t true. Genetics plays as much a role as anything else in these things and plenty of otherwise hale and hearty folks ended up with heart surgery and plenty of folks who ate healthy and exercised still needed help managing their blood sugar.

All of this combined in me to give me this bizarre complex that my headaches are somehow my fault. When I was working, it almost killed me to have a partner have to cover call or deliver a baby because I had a migraine. It is still very emotionally difficult that I’m not working in medicine. I was trained to work no matter what, even if I was hungry, tired, not scheduled, whatever. I don’t know too many MDs who come out of Tulane without good work ethics.

Not only was I not “playing hurt”, but I didn’t even have a “real” disease. Migraine doesn’t have something you can measure easily like blood sugar, so it doesn’t feel “real” to me. Yet, my neurologist is very quick to point out that with today’s imaging, we can see that migraine is very real. We don’t need to do fMRI or PET scanning on everyone with migraine or chronic headaches, but the research is clear that our brains look different when we’re in pain. That’s what I need to hear.

One of  the things I work on with my counselor is this feeling that my headaches are somehow my fault so I should somehow be able to fix all this. These thoughts are becoming less frequent, but they still show up, especially when I have a really long headache (which is really odd since you would think I’d be less likely to think I have control over them when they last so long). I don’t know if other people with chronic pain feel the same way or not. I do know that all I can do right now is focus on what I know to be true – I have chronic migraine disease.

And, of course, pray. Lots of prayer. Along with all my other self-care things: exercise, healthy eating, meditation, relaxation, journaling, etc.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It’s just amazing how much of a rocking-chair potato I can be sometimes. I’m still going to blame today on the bad string of headaches, though. Tomorrow, I get Botox. Yay!! Can you believe someone as needle-phobic as I am is actually looking forward to getting stuck thirty-plus times in the scalp?! Clearly the Botox is working, or I wouldn’t put myself through this trauma every three months. At least I don’t get dizzy and threaten to faint anymore!!

If I was the uber-organized and motivated person that I delude myself into thinking I am, I would be planning schoolwork and meals for next week. Since I am the aforementioned rocking-chair potato that I blame on the headaches (see, they’re good for something), I’ve spent most of today knitting while watching football and reading.

I’m working on a Wonderful Wallaby sweater for myself out of Cascade Sierra. I’m totally in love with this yarn. We have a Wednesday morning class making this sweater in a baby size, but I’m doing an adult size and I rarely wake up in time to hang out with the Wednesday morning ladies.

We have two sock classes going and I’ve already made the socks that go with the class, so I just sit in on the Friday evening class and help when I can. Again, it’s a rare day that I can be functional at 8am on Friday to help with the morning class.

My last project is a sweater with some new Cascade acrylic yarn, but it’s a yarn that feels more cotton-like than wool-like. And I love the color. We’ll see what I think of it when I’m doing with the sweater, but I like how it swatched.

I have a couple of repair projects waiting for me. One is for a customer, so I’d better get going on that one tomorrow. One is a lovely scarf I made for Rosie Girl that Sophie (aka the Evil Cat – at least when I find her playing with hand-knit wool items!) chewed on for several months, apparently. Another is a pair of wonderfully warm socks that Wild Man has almost worn through the heels of. I’m not sure if I’m going to duplicate stitch or patch Wild Man’s socks or if I’m going to have to break down and learn the “official” weaving technique of darning socks. In any case, the boy needs warm sock to wear around the house, so I’d better get these done.

One of the more frustrating things about the chronic headaches in general, but especially this last couple of weeks of more severe headaches, is the fatigue that comes with them. I’m always tired. I sleep a lot, but it’s not very restful sleep. I walk and/or stretch every day to make myself be somewhat active, but it’s quite a chore to do those things. When I’m in the middle of the Botox and the headaches are more calm, I have days where I have more energy and actually get things done with less effort. That’s what I’m hoping and praying for when this next Botox takes effect. I’m really looking forward to getting back into life!!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I always think that I’m going to get so much done on Saturdays. I have no idea why. I have chronic headaches and they’ve been significantly worse for the last two weeks. Why would I think that today would be different? Logic is obviously not my strong suit these days.

Did I accomplish anything today? Not much. I did get out of bed. That’s always a good start.

The kitchen was my area of productivity today. I cleaned the dishes and the counters. I made some gingerbread. And PWM and I together made a nice dinner of ham steaks, green bean casserole, and boiled potatoes.

And then there is Saturday College Football. I spent a good bit of the day thinking that today was the day of the LSU-Alabama game. Thankfully, sometime around 4pm, I figured out that the LSU-Alabama game is actually next weekend. We ended up watching the Georgia-UF game. Some of those players had some serious anger management issues. Yikes. Then, we watched the FSU-Miami game. There were some more anger management issues going on there.

I’m most definitely looking forward to the Packers-Bears game on Monday night.

I’m currently reading the Game of Thrones while Rosie Girl has been watching the series on DVD. We’re finding that there are some significant differences. Right now, Rosie Girl is going on and on about the characters that she loves and hates.

Rosie Girl and Wild Man saw “Ender’s Game” (the movie) tonight and thought it was pretty good. We love the original book and all the sequels, so it’s nice to know that they did a good job with the movie. I’ll wait to see it till it’s out on DVD or Pay-per-View.

Make sure to set your clock back and enjoy some extra sleep tonight!! I plan to revel in having extra time for some more rest!

Friday, November 01, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday–November 1, 2013


1. Here are some great tips that will theoretically help you be more productive. I have no idea if they work. I haven’t gotten around to trying them. Clearly, I’m not very productive.

2. I lived in New Orleans when I was a med student and knew that they had the NFL New Orleans Saints, but I had no idea about a NBA franchise. Well, they are trying to remedy that problem by rebranding the NBA team and giving it a new mascot, the New Orleans Pelicans! And that is one scary mascot!

3. For true C.S. Lewis fans, here is a conversation between the White Witch and the Green Witch from the Narnia series.

4. Our family LOVES Enders Game (the book) and many of the sequels. Rosie Girl and Wild Man are going tomorrow night to see the movie and I’m just a bit jealous. Here’s some things to know about the movie. And, if your family hasn’t read the book yet, you should.

5. Another good book is Kenobi. We’re still reading it as an evening read-aloud, but it has had wonderful reviews. The author is a friend of ours. What’s kind of funny is that we met up here in The Great White North, but the author was probably at LSU when PWM and I were there.

6. I’ve recently gotten into the Game of Thrones series of books. I’m really not interested in watching the HBO series. I think watching all the violence and sexuality will not enhance the story any and will likely make it less appealing to me. I’ll stick with the books for the moment.

7. And, guess what? Fannie Flagg has a new book out: The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion. Actually, it doesn’t release till the 5th, but I’m already like 20-something on the hold list at the library. I’ll let you know what I think of it when I’ve actually read it!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others are up to! And let me know what you think of my little spot of the blogging world with a comment!