Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Where else are you going to find purple hippos?

I was delighted to be asked to play Jungle Rummy before it's official Kickstarter campaign (October 1st) recently by fellow podcaster, Tales of the Jungle Crews creator, Kyle Crocker. 
Now Jungle Rummy isn't your ordinary card game, created by the adventurous skippers on the rivers of the world after their last deck of cards was eaten by a crocodile. The artwork on the cards is stunning, designed to look like old trip tickets, with the suits Hippos, Pistols, Boats and Skulls. The back story of the game is amusing, and if you have the time, be sure to listen to the Tales of the Jungle Crews Radio Plays to learn more about the adventurous man of adventure, Skipper Gary London, ESQ. 
Dani and I played this afternoon. The rules are easy to pick up, with helpful Rules Cards included to help keep game play on track. Once we figured out the rhythm of the game, it became a laugh filled all out battle to win! 
The gameplay itself is fast and entertaining. Dani and I were laughing so hard at times it was hard to remember that we were both trying to win! (I won) 

Monday, September 07, 2015

Parenting as a Spoonie

You and me both, Lucy.. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. And I am sure the next most vocal voice in complaining against my illness would be my family, if they ever complained, which really they don't. But they should.. 

My kids miss out on so many things because their mom doesn't always have enough spoons to take them everywhere they want to go. In fact, some days their mom doesn't have enough spoons to even take care of herself. 

Which is why I am so thankful for my daughter. I might have mentioned this before, but I don't know how I would survive without her sometimes. She helps cook on days when I am not able to. She makes sure I don't dehydrate on days when I can't stand the lights in the kitchen long enough to get some tea. She keeps the ship running on those days when I just can't take the wheel. 

But they miss out on a lot. We've missed field trips because I woke up that morning in pain. We almost never go to park days, as the sun is enemy to me and my youngest. There are days I can't drive, so they miss classes and therapies. And there is nothing I can do about any of it. 

I am treating my migraines, I am on daily meds that have their own slew of side effects. We play with dosages and prescriptions to find that perfect balance that will allow me to live a more normal life. I have given up hope that it will ever be completely normal, but there has to be something closer than this out there for me. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I had never considered myself a Spoonie..

To me Spoonies were always people who suffered far worse than I did. I just have migraines. Sure, in between those migraines I get episodes of auras, and yeah, it takes a day or so to recover from a migraine. Oh yeah, I get 3 or 4 a month, and when I am not actively having a migraine I often am impaired by the medication I take daily to ward off migraines. And, of course, when I have a migraine, I am incapacitated for a day or more. But I didn't believe that was enough for me to qualify as a Spoonie. They REALLY suffer.. 

Today I woke up with another migraine, and I was laying in the dark, listening to my kids playing out in the living room, I realized.. I am suffering, I do suffer, I am a Spoonie. 

Now for those of you who don't know what a Spoonie is, you are probably reading this with much confusing. So please, take a moment to visit Are You A Spoonie? I will give you a better idea of what I am talking about. TL:DR is that it is kinda an analagy to energy, healthy people have unlimited spoons (or energy) but chonically ill people have a certian number of spoons each day, and they have to carefully budget how they use those spoons, so as not to run out before the end of the day. It's a good analagy and I am making it sound silly, but really, go read it, it will only take a moment.. 

Did you read it? Good! Now back to me, because really, this post is about me ;) I have never identified as a Spoonie. I have always downplayed the role migraine plays in my life. Sure, if you are a friend of mine, you hear me bitch about them, I mean come on, they HURT! And they are inconvient. I try not to burden my friends too much from my complaning.. 

So why suddenly have I seen the spoon? Last night.. last night I went out with friends to a show. We had a thunderstorm, it was humid as hell, but we had a wonderful time watching the performers and just geneally being together. I did not drink heavily, I did not bang my head to heavy metal, and I did not tax myself in any way really. I also had a fairly peaceful day leading up to my outing, with the exception of kids being wound up from the storm. Yet, just going out with friends for a fun evening, was enough that I borrowed spoons from today (little did I know). 

Today, I have a migraine. You can't tell (or maybe you can) I am sitting in a dark room, writing this with unfocused eyes because my medicine makes my eyes all wonky. Thank goodness for touch typing in high school and a computer with spell checker. I am going to publish this as soon as I am done, but maybe when my head is clearer I will go back over it just ot make sure it makes sense. 

I don't want to stop going out with my friends, I don't want to become a hermit blogging from a dark room. But most days I mostly don't have enough spoons to do anything else. I want to be that mom who takes their kids to the park all the time.. But I don't haev enough spoons to deal with all my issues at the park (noise, light, smells, just to name a few) and Jack's (grass allergy, ezcema outbreaks, heat rash) together. I want to take my kids swimming, I want to take them everywhere they want to go, but I just can't. So if I say no to your invitation, most of the time it has little to do with you, and has everything to do with the conservation of spoons. 

It may seem odd to some that I don't suffer from migraine every day, but that I say I am a spoonie. But what they may not realize is, even on days when I am not in pain, I may be suffering from other migraine related symptoms, auras to those in the know. Plus, the daily medications I take to keep my migraines from being a daily thing, make me dizzy, sleepy, and make my vision blurry. So even on a day with zero pain, and zero aura, I am still not 100%. I can't remember the last time I was 100%. I don't even know what that feels like anymore. 

And maybe I am selfish for sometimes hoarding my spoons so that I can go out, with out my kids. So be it, I'll own it. But I have to be selfish. I don't get a lot of moments in my day without the kids. And while I love them, they are spoon stealers. 

So this is me, saying outloud, I am a Spoonie. I have chronic migraine, and it effects me every single day of my life. I work hard, and I miss out on things, I miss my friends, and I feel guilty that my kids don't get to do with the other kids do. And I just spent one spoon writing this post, and hopefully I have made at least one person understand what it means to be a Spoonie. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ASMR, Migraines and Me

For the last 20 or so years, I have suffered from debilitating migraines. Each migraine sufferer is different, and my particular migraines usually include vomiting, light sensitivity and brain fogginess. Now I am on a daily medication now to keep them under control, and it is working great, but still a few sneak through, usually because of my bad decision making (a concert, dehydration AND whiskey shots on the same day?). Now anyone who knows me, knows I HATE quiet. I always have a fan, the tv, music or an audiobook going, sometimes more than one. But the problem when I have a migraine is, I need darkness, so no TV. I also have difficulty following an audiobook when I am in mid-migraine. And music, sometimes I just can't listen to music.

Then I discovered ASMR. Now ASMR stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response, which is a long way of saying those tingles in the scalp or spine that some people get from certain auditory triggers, such as scratching or crinkling plastic. Not everyone gets these tingles, and not every trigger works for every person. You can check out a few of the more common triggers here, ASMR Triggers Even if you don't ever experience the tingling sensation, ASMR is very relaxing to listen to. They can help some people get to sleep and there are many ASMR artists on YouTube! Most of them are a combination of soft whispering, the repetition of certain words or sounds, tapping, scratching and the like.

So what does this have to do with migraines? I discovered today, when my head was not quite right from some medication management stuff my Doctor is having me do, that ASMR videos are PERFECT for when I need some sound, but nothing that requires deep thought or for me to follow a story line!

Now there many different ASMR artists and styles. And if you want to try this at home, you might want to play around a bit and find what works best for you, before you are in the grips of a blinding migraine. I have a playlist all set up and ready to go that I can start with the a few taps on my iPhone. In fact, I have an App that strips out the loud pre-roll commercials and makes it easy to built playlists and follow your favorite artists, I personally prefer male artists, but there are LOTS of female artists out there, I would venture to say maybe 75% of videos are from female artists. What I love about these, they do not require your attention. If you drift off, that's okay, you didn't miss anything. While still filling the silence with pleasing sounds.

I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites. You'll notice my list is all male, many with accents, and lots of geeky themes.

The first artist I found was Ephemeral Rift. He does some of the most interesting videos. Here are a few to give you an idea of his range of work:

Another great artist is WhisperMister. He has a very soothing accent, and he does some great geeky roleplay videos!

And one last one, before I leave you to explore on your own, Ricky7Whispers

What do you think? Have you tried ASMR? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween Post (#2)

Time for me to step up on my soap box, with my annual Halloween Post! 

There is something I want to remind people about. There are going to be lots of children out trick or treating. And honestly, I'd hate for one of them to see me beat you down. 

Why, you might be wondering, would I be threatening the nice people who are just handing out candy to kids? Because every year there are a few ignorant f*cks who require my son to say "Trick or Treat" before making with the fun sized Snickers. 

My son has a speech delay, and while most of the time most people mostly understand most of what he says, he has a really hard time speaking to strangers, or in stressful situations. Such as when some idiot is holding a bowl of candy just out of his reach and saying, "what do you say??" Umm, I say make with the candy before I smack your stupid face. 

There are few things that actually get me as angry as this insistence on saying "magic words." Heck, I don't even make a fuss when people give my kids Chick Tracts (see previous Halloween post) or campaign literature with their cheap dum-dums. I calmly strip the offending paper off the candy and hand it back to them with a smirk. (Unless its a Halloween chick tract, I'm saving those for an art project). But insist my child says "magic words" to get candy and I will go mama bear on you. And yes, I suppose I could explain to all those people or better yet, make him wear a button, right? WRONG! 

There is an unwritten contract on Halloween, you have lights on, kids knock, you give them candy. Period.. 

As Wil Wheaton says, "Don't be a dick" especially on Halloween.. 

Annual Halloween Post (#1)

Every year at this time, I climb on my soapbox like Andy Rooney on a bender, and rant and rave about how people are ruining my favorite holiday, Halloween. My usual favorite topics are the ever amusing Chick Tracts that people have the audacity to give to my children with their fun sized bags of M&Ms (check out the new one for this year, The Walking Dead?), and ANYONE who holds a Trunk or Treat in a church parking lot to help save their spawn from the horrors of the Pagan holiday. 

This year we have a new horror of Halloween to debunk, the THC dosed candy!! (insert spooky music here). Yes, now that many places have made the use of marijuana legal, there is a plethora of products out there that are made with the same active ingredients as those found in marijuana. Parents are being warned to carefully check their children's candy to make sure that none of the fun sized bars they get pack a little extra fun. First off, let me be the first to say, stoners are NOT criminals looking to get the neighborhood kids stoned. Second, dosed candy is NOT CHEAP. No one is gonna buy a bunch to hand out to the costumed kiddies. Until I see evidence of a single child being harmed by a marijuana infused piece of candy, that DIDN'T come from their own family member, I am gonna write this one off to more paranoia. 


Free Range Kids has a great post about how Halloween is being ruined for scores of children FOR NO GOOD REASON!! Something I have discussed on this blog several times ;)

Here is a repost of my classic posting from 2008 ;)

It's that time of year again...

When families are faced with the choice, to celebrate or not celebrate Halloween. Personally, I am sure all of you know, I not only celebrate Halloween, I revel in it! I LOVE Halloween, and would prefer to get rid of Christmas and Thanksgiving all together ;)

But I swear, the more I read people's arguments on why to NOT celebrate Halloween, I am filled with a dread that I can't shake. Are people really so paranoid of a holiday that PartyWorks and Hershey's have so corrupted from it's original form, that it is barely recognizable?? I understand the not wanting to expose your children to excessive blood and gore, okay, I get that. But to not even let them dress up and trick or treat?? Or worse yet, to be a TOTAL hypocrite and let them go to a trunk or treat at the local church. If they are trunk or treating, you are celebrating, so get over yourselves.

Let me give you a few thoughts to ponder. First off, if you have EVER gotten your information about Halloween from a Chick Tract, then please, click away from my page now and go and pray or something, cause you are too stupid to continue reading.

First off, Halloween started out as a harvest holiday known as Samhain. Now contrary to popular Christian belief, there was NEVER a pagan god known as Samhain. Samhain is derived from the Celtic word for Summer's End, cause DUH! it happened at the end of summer, LOL! So, no pagan god Samhain, and therefore no human sacrifices to him. Also, pagan's don't believe in Satan, and they sure don't worship him, cause he's NON-EXISTENT in pagan culture. So, no human sacrifice to him either. In fact, there is NO human sacrifice in paganism today, AT ALL! And if you look at history, Christians have killed many, many more humans then any pagans, I'm just sayin...

Secondly, the whole idea of poisoned, tampered with, or booby trapped candy. This is a myth that has been blown so far out of proportion, it's absurd! TWO, yes TWO cases of children being killed by Halloween candy have been recorded in the news since 1964 (yep, that was 44 years ago people). The first was a boy in 1970 who ate his uncles stash of heroin, and then the family tried to cover it up by saying the drugs were in his Halloween candy. The second, in 1974, a boy ate a pixy stick that was laced with poison. Upon investigation it turned out the boys own father planted the candy in his son's bag, to collect on the boy's insurance money. NEVER has there been a recorded incident of a stranger handing out laced, tampered with or poison treats on Halloween to random neighborhood children, and contrary to the Chick tract above, it is not common practice to do this to harvest sacrifices for Satan!
So, while I can go on and on about the non-horrors of Halloween, I do want to make a point. These days, Halloween is another hallmark holiday, cleansed of all it's original roots, and make palatable to the masses. If you are a family who chooses to NOT celebrate Halloween because of it's pagan roots, then I recommend you think twice about Easter and Christmas too. Because the "historical" activities attributed to those holidays, namely the birth of Christ and his resurrection, remain unproven at best, and the actual dates of said activities and the celebrating of those holidays are NOT specifically condoned in the bible. Shockingly the dates and MOST of the activities now celebrated for those holidays are in fact PAGAN in origin ;) Christmas trees or Easter bunnies anyone??

I will accept reasonable discussion of this topic in my comments. BUT keep in mind, any argument you make to me that uses God or the Bible as it's basis, will be countered with the teachings of the ALL POWERFUL AND KNOWING SQUIRREL IN MY BACK YARD :) After of course, the appropriate offerings of nuts and seeds are made ;)