Saturday, December 31, 2011


It was a year of doing.

I was tired of feeling like migraines were dictating my life, so I took every possible opportunity I could, and most of them turned out pretty well.

I went to Hempcon, and I started learning more about marijuana and how to use it.

I had myself a garden again. I love growing food.

I practiced creativity, sometimes in odd ways.

I went back to school!

We wouldn't have made it without help, more than once.

I saw a migraine specialist. And decided his treatment plan wasn't for me, at least not right now.

We moved from the bustling city to the secluded mountains, and it's been amazing!

In 2011, I made my life about more than migraines. I don't know what 2012 has in store, but hopefully it's more school, a work-from-home paying job, and improved health.

I can't wait to see what happens next.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sauerkraut, Eggshells, and Popcorn

After spending the last two months in these remarkably restorative mountains, I thought christmas would be easier on me this year. Nope.

Not to say it wasn't a lovely holiday, because it was fantastic in that I spent time with family and friends, ate some amazing food, and soaked in the all xmasy ambience I could find. I was loving on the decorations this year, I wish we could have another month of trees and non-blinking lights.

Christmas music was, however, a major point of weakness for me. It sent me into a total meltdown of epic migraine proportions on xmas day, and I wondered if I'd even make it to the big family party. But, I rested for a while, medicated like a boss, and I went to that huge party, albeit a little late.

I had both earplugs jammed in my ears to combat the roar of 30 voices, the tail end of a jam session (guitars and full drum kit, natch), and more christmas music, and I had to avoid talking to anyone because trying to make out a single voice in that din was like looking for a contact lens in a bucket full of enraged jellyfish. So, I just smiled and nodded and only really participated in about half the conversations I had, which were only with about a quarter of the people there. I used to try and make a point to talk to everyone, but I didn't have the small talk in me. I did my best, though, and tried not to act too weird.

We gave everyone a small jar of homemade sauerkraut and a baby spider plant. Some people looked at us strangely and others clapped their hands gleefully upon receipt of our somewhat odd gifts. Sauerkraut can be a polarizing topic.

One notable thing was that the few people who asked how I was, I told them, "Oh, rather terrible, but glad to be here!" It just came out. I've been grudgingly telling everyone I'm fine or ok for the past few years, and this is the first time in a long time that I've admitted when I'm doing poorly in such a casual manner. Not sure how much it matters, but it felt relevant at the time.

So, it was painful, exhausting (two days later and I'm still moving at a snail's pace), and horrible at times, but I'm looking back on the weekend with mostly good feelings.

Since then, my head has been worse than it's been since we moved. I'd already forgotten the finer details of the hardcore migraine life I'd thought I'd left behind. I remember now how I'd spend most of the day laying down, alternately encouraging and bullying myself to get back up and do some laundry. How every noise above a whisper made me feel like my skin was crawling off my limbs and my eyeballs were trying to escape via my forehead. How my temper flared. These are things I did not miss.

My poor boyfriend is trying to find his footing with me again. He'd just stopped apologizing for every loud noise, was just starting to relax around me again, and now we're back to eggshells and mood swings and me feeling like a useless burden lump of misery.

I suspect that I just have to wait it out. The quiet of these woods will lull my migraine back to sleep, and I'll be back to hiking in no time. I hate wait.

We've got no plans for new year's eve, and I'd like to keep it that way. Maybe we'll take a drive to look at the stars, or something simple like that, but there will be no parties, no midnight firecrackers or pot-banging to hide from and no worries about playing spot the drunk driver on the way home. Nope, my honey and I will be tucked into our little house in the mountains, cuddling with our dog and maybe watching a movie marathon with some tea and popcorn. That sounds damned festive to me.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Kicking Ass and My Haunted Washer

I'm done. I've finished this class and though I'm pretty sure it took a piece of my soul with it, I can't wait to take another one. It looks like I'm getting an A, too, which makes the whole thing really addictive. Like I hear happens with childbirth, I'm quickly forgetting the pain, tears, frustration, and the sky-high stress levels that sent me into some seriously torrential migraine activity. All I can see is my beautiful baby, Accomplishment.

At the beginning of the quarter, when we were in the middle of moving and my internet connection was dodgy and we had no chairs to sit in so I aggravated my sciatic sitting on the floor for hours doing homework, I was feeling like moving to the mountains whilst in my first quarter of school was the dumbest thing I'd ever done. By the end of the class, when I was spending every cognitively acute second on writing my research paper, I couldn't imagine being able to put in that time and effort back in the city. So, sometimes, things just work out.

Now that school's done for the calendar year and, barring a dramatic change in circumstance, I won't be attending the upcoming quarter, I expect to settle into more of a routine around here. School put everything else second, so now I'll be able to help my boyfriend finish up the construction our place, and maybe I'll finally get on top of the kitchen. I hate dirty dishes.

Since I've been hiking nearly every day, I'm starting to be able to identify the trees that surround us, redwoods are obvious, but oaks, madrones, and douglas firs also pepper our mountainside. I'd like to learn to spot edible mushrooms, since I see enough for a hearty (though probably poisonous) meal on every walk. As a recent city-transplant, I'm fascinated by the idea of foraging for food. And I really, really, really love mushrooms, you guys.

My head is doing pretty great, now that my stress level has slacked a little. Up here in the quiet and the trees, it's almost possible to believe I'm normal again. I can hike a quarter-mile uphill and can jog a bit on the way back down, I can tolerate irritating noises for extended periods of time, and I can get more than one thing done in a day. I'm relishing in my productivity, and am tending to push myself harder than I probably should, but after four and a half years of not being able to do hardly anything for myself, this small measure of independence makes me feel all weepy whenever I think about it too much. I'm still not great in the city, and a trip to the grocery store reminds me harshly of my limitations, but I'm grateful for what I have.

Okay, so this just happened and it's weird and I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts but if I did I would be convinced my clothes washer is haunted. I just went to put in a load and there was water all over the floor, apparently leaking from the washer. I shrug, it's a semi-functional, very-used washer, so I figure it's water that didn't drain from the last load, and go to open her up. As soon as the door opens, a flood starts pouring out. The washer is empty of clothes but totally filled with water. The thing is, the hoses aren't hooked up. They're loose in the detergent slot and I just add water manually by turning on the faucet at the other end. The faucets were off, and there wasn't any water leaking from the hoses. I have no idea how the washer got filled, unless my boyfriend was sleep-laundering, which... he doesn't wake-launder, so that's unlikely.

So... haunted.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let Me Sum Up

Hello. I'm currently submerged in writing a paper, so all I can manage for a blog post is a weird list of topics that I don't have time to elaborate on at the moment.

1. My head.

My stamina is continuing to improve, and even when things got markedly worse one day, I recuperated in record time. However, every trip to the city or prolonged conversation with a neighbor reminds me that I am not a well person. But I'm getting better.

2. School.

Is almost over. I've been working at top speed to get this final paper done on time, and am mostly neglecting everything else, like my boyfriend, my dog, the dishes and this blog. (Hello!)

I, again, can't afford to pay the fees to attend next quarter. I'd ask for help again, but I'm just not sure of myself or the situation right now. We've lost power a few times already and we've only lived here two months. We have a generator now, but when the power goes down, so does the internet. Can I commit to a class when I'm fairly certain I'll be an unreliable student?

Also, this quarter was HARD. Well, no, most of it was fine, but writing big-ass research papers is not on my list of skills, and I discovered that when I've got a migraine, there is absolutely no way around it. I need to get a better support system in place and I need to figure out how to more adeptly navigate the school system while disabled. I know I love school, and I know there's a way for me to do this.

3. Christmas

I've finished my shopping, but not my wrapping. I'm not even thinking about it until after my final assignments are turned in, on Saturday. But it looks like we'll be doing some kind of present/meal thing with my parents and then the usual huge dinner shebang at my uncle's house on Christmas Day, with a white elephant exchange. I expect it to be loud, bright, perfumed, and really high stimulus, so hopefully I survive. I wrote a pretty awesome breakdown of my holiday prep last year, so check that out if you're needing some holiday-migraine strategies.

And that's all I've got. Wish me luck with my paper, I've got to get back to it.