Friday, February 28, 2014

An Odd Week

Clearly I'm a little confused this week. You may have noticed I posted a regular post on Wednesday and then did my Whimsy Wednesday post yesterday (Thursday). Waking up this morning, thinking about how glad I was that today is Friday, it occurred to me that I had made this mistake. Sorry if I threw anyone else off in my own confusion - you know how it goes.

This has been an odd week all around. I've been slowly recovering from my latest cold and trying to get some stuff done. But in an effort to get certain things done I've completely forgotten to do some pretty basic things. For example, I was going to clean the bathroom on Wednesday - completely forgot. So I decided, well, I'll do it Thursday - completely forgot. I'm telling myself I'll get it done today but who knows. 

A change in formulation has me searching for a new face lotion and shampoo at the same time. My skin is extremely sensitive so when I find a product that works I stick to it with an unshakable loyalty. Unfortunately, companies don't share my sense of loyalty to these products and from time to time they get discontinued or changes are made to their formulations. I'm sure they think they are making improvements but, for me, it is a big disruption. I'm distracted both by the searching and also by the failed trials that leave my skin feeling like it has been sunburned. 

The lot right next to ours is also now under construction so my days are full of the varied sounds and vibrations of such work. There are lots of people and lots of mess on top of all the noise. I'm sure over the next several weeks I'll grow accustomed to it all but right now it is pretty distracting and it has stirred my inner worrier. I don't want to deal with discarded cigarette or trash in my yard from the workers. I don't want them blocking our driveway or mailbox with their big trucks. The construction is awful close to the house - I don't want any accidents to occur...and on it goes. 

Yep, it's just been an odd week all around. I'm not even entirely convinced this blog post makes much sense. Let's just hope for a more normal week next week.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Whimsy Wednesday

Okay, you may have already seen it as Jimmy Fallon's sketches have been getting a lot of attention since he became the host of The Tonight Show - but just in case you missed it here is Jimmy and Paul Rudd (one of the funniest men).

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Little Pinterest Love

I love Pinterest. Despite the inherent risks of envy and self criticism that can develop when looking at all the amazingly beautiful spaces I will never live in or elaborate dishes and decorations that I can't recreate, it can also be a great source of inspiration, tips and advice. After spending more than a year as an active user I've been pleasantly surprised at how useful it has been. 

I've discovered several great domestic blogs that I now follow. Like Rooms For Rent, Not So Newlywed McGee's, Shanty 2 Chic and others.

I've tried several recipes that have turned out great or needed only very small changes to be great.

I have been inspired to make home decorating or home improvement decisions by various pins I've collected.

I'm using pin links to learn about gardening as I begin to make plans to start one in our new home.

I love laughing at all the humorous quotes or images.

Sometimes I just look at the beautiful images because I'm in the mood to look at beautiful images.

I may have been late to the party here but I'm totally on board now - happily. Maybe I should see what Instagram is all about now.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Food Dilemma

The past week and a half have been particularly tough health wise. On top of the usual chronic migraine crap and fibro crap I've had two nasty colds, which have made doing much of anything pretty difficult. Getting sick back to back like this isn't like me. After all I don't spend much time out in public and am a faithful hand washer. I've chalked it up to hubby's experiment with riding the train into work instead of driving. He may have to stop if I keep getting sick like this - but this is all beside the point.

After 10 days of feeling even worse than usual - and you all know that is saying a lot for people like us  - my body is starting to really suffer. I'm stiff, more tense than usual and have begun to feel trapped in a body that won't let me do anything. Between not being able to do my exercises, spending too much time on the couch and not being able to do much besides watch TV and feel bad, you can see why.

The worst part about times like this when I can't manage to do much of anything is that I am the only cook in the family.W hen I can't pull together something good to eat we end up eating cereal for dinner. That's fine for a day or two but when it goes on longer than that meal time becomes a real problem. We still get hungry but there is no place near us where we can get some take out vegetarian meals, which is probably for best because we really can't afford to be eating out as often as I don't feel up to cooking. So the problem persists - what to do about food. Perhaps I need to spend some time in the frozen food isle of Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to see if we can find a couple good dishes to have on hand for times like these.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Great Ted Talk For All Those Living With Chronic Conditions

I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately and the role it does and the role it should play in our lives. Just as I was kicking this stuff around in my head I came upon this great Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal that I thought was not only relevant to the topic of happiness but also to the topic of chronic pain.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Whimsy Wednesday

A sweet, touching story from CBS Sunday Morning.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February PFAM Blog Carnival Now Available

The February Patients For A Moment Blog Carnival is now available. This month's topic is all about beating the winter blues. Check out the great posts.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Beating the Winter Blues

It's fun for a while, all this wintery stuff. Putting on the warm sweaters and fuzzy socks, snuggling with hubby under a warm blanket, drinking hot chocolate and tea, baking sweet potato pies and such. It's festive during the holidays but somewhere between late January and mid February the winter blues inevitably rev up. The cold and snow have gone on way too long and Spring still seems pretty far away.

This year has been especially tough, what with the polar vortex, more snow than usual and wind storm after wind storm exacerbating both. Here is what I've been doing this year to get me through it:

Putting puzzles together 

Crocheting a warm throw blanket

Snuggle, play and admire this little girl

Reading, eating yummy baked treats and drinking hot beverages
Of course, nothing works quite as well as the arrival of Spring - fingers crossed it comes in March this year.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Whimsy Wednesday

Here is another great SNL sketch with Tina Fey. It's funny even if you don't watch the show Girls.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February Migraine Blog Carnival Now Available

The February edition of the Migraine Blog Carnival is now available. This month's topic is all about love and  headache disorders. Check out all the great posts about friendship, romantic love and even self love.

Monday, February 10, 2014

NBC's Lack of a Specific Olympic Schedule is Shameful

Let me just take a minute to boo NBC's coverage of the Olympic games - a great big, loud, long boo. The reason: instead of airing the events on a specific schedule, all in one block, they give us a 4 hour block of time and tell us which 3 or 4 events they will air during that time. Making matters worse they will show bits and pieces of an event throughout that block of time instead of all at once, effectively forcing you to watch the entire block of time to catch whatever event you want to see. 

Babu Bhatt waves his finger on Seinfeld
I guess the assumption is that our time does not need to be respected and that if we want to watch our favorite Olympic events we have to sacrifice our entire night, every night of competition. What the hell NBC? 

Back in the day, a schedule was made so you could plan ahead and catch whatever events you wanted. You could sit down at the scheduled time and watch ALL of that day's coverage of the event. That was the right thing to do. 

Shame on you NBC for not respecting our time, for trying to manipulate us into watching ALL of the Olympic events and spending ALL night on your station. I refuse to be forced into watching 4 hours or programming and commercials for 30 or 40 minutes of event coverage I'm interested in. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Friendships in a Time of Chronic Pain

Relationships are tricky business, even under the best of circumstances. Toss in something as complicated and misunderstood as chronic pain and suddenly tricky sounds like an understatement. All of my relationships have been complicated by my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia but none as much as the new friendships.
Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

My situation is maybe a little atypical in that almost immediately after my migraines went chronic I picked up and moved across the country with my boyfriend (now husband) who needed to move for his job. The first of 3 different states we moved to for his career. Translation: I haven't lived near my immediate family or any of my friends since 2006. Fortunately, I have amazing friends back in Minnesota, where I'm from. They are loyal and loving and have not judged or made me feel bad about my chronic pain. Unfortunately, I rarely get to see them. 

I have no real words to describe the loss I feel because we don't live close enough to get together more than once every year or two. 

The logical thing to do is make a new friend or two in my new home city. Something I would have done already if it wasn't for my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia making it so damn complicated.

So why is it complicated? Here are the factors:
1. I don't meet many new people because I am not able to be actively involved in the community (i.e. work).
2. I can't commit to plans in advance and be certain my body will let me participate. Canceled plans and early departures are going to happen more often than not.
3. I can't participate in many activities people love doing - movies, plays, concerts, outdoor festivals or games, parties, sporting events, etc - without triggering a bad migraine and/or fibro flare.
4. I need to find people who can understand and accept my limitations, who are trustworthy, patient, tolerant, loving, quick to laugh and I need to click with them. That click is likely the only thing that will give a new friendship the chance to grow despite my chronic pain.
5. Most women in my age group have growing families and careers. They are, rightfully so, extremely busy with both. Any time and energy they have to devote to building new friendships is going to go to building it with someone who can relate to their current life. I have neither children nor career.

Honestly, I'm overwhelmed and terrified at the prospect of building a new friendship. It's hard to open up to new people about my health situation. It's hard for people to know how to respond to someone like me. It's hard for most people to understand. It's hard get to know someone when you don't see much of them. I often wonder if making new friends is even possible under these currently conditions. Maybe it is possible (anything is possible), just seems extremely unlikely.

Maybe for now, it's okay that I'm not building new friendships. I do have extended family and in-laws in town, not to mention I visit with hubby's friends and their wives on occasion. Plus, I still communicate with my old friends via email, facebook and skype. Maybe this is just the reality of this stage of my life. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Whimsy Wednesday

Here is a great clip from SNL that made me laugh - hope it does the same for you.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some Items That Comfort Instead of Aggravate My Chronic Pain

The whole world feels harsh when you live with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. Every light, every sound, every smell, every task, every surface, every conversation, every thought...everything can be a trigger and/or exacerbating factor. As hard as I work to surround myself with softness - lots of pillows, comfy furniture, soft blankets and the like - it all still feels harsh. It might sound crazy to the healthy folks out there, but "soft" items are not all created equal. More surprisingly, I've learned that price doesn't necessarily indicate the quality and level of luxury of such items.

Hubby and I have two sets of sheets for our bed. One sheet set we got on sale at Ikea for $20 (regular price was $30 or $35). The other set is from Kohls and was priced at $180 (it was a gift from my MIL - even if it was 50% off I would never spend that kind of money on sheets). The Ikea set has a lower thread count and predates the Kohls set by about 2 years BUT these cheap sheets are softer, feels much better on the skin and have held up better than the more expensive ones. The Kohls sheets are stiff, even after a couple years of regular use, and have been pilling. 

Thread count is one of those tricks companies use to justify charging more for their products. And while thread count can have an impact on the softness and durability of sheets, the more important factor is the quality of the cotton being used. The bummer is that I don't yet know how to determine the quality of cotton from the packaging provided but you can bet as soon as Ikea opens a store in our area (only 2 more years :) I'll be getting another set from them. 

Thomas O'Brien Towels from Target
More recently I found unexpectedly soft and luxurious towels. In the past I've splurged on the good towels because I really do want quality that will stay nice for a long time. Traditional towel wisdom says that Royal Velvet and Ralph Lauren make great towels and they do compared to some. But I've never felt anything as wonderful as the towels we got recently on clearance at Target ($6 for the bath towels, regular price was only $10). They are Thomas O'Brien Vintage Collection but really they are little slices of heaven. I just want to get lost in their thick, soft cottony splendor. They are not excessively shedding the way most new towels do, in fact, they don't produce any more dryer lint than the towels I've had for years. No joke, I've never experienced towels like this before - didn't even know what I was missing. If only everything were made from the same material my world wouldn't feel nearly as harsh as it does now.

These are small things in the grand scheme of life but for someone like me, who is constantly bombarded by pain from everyday items, finding some products that comfort instead of aggravate my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia is truly priceless.

Now if only I could find the perfect pillows and sofa.