Monday, September 30, 2013


I live with chronic pain.
I am a migraine sufferer
I also have (depending on which doctor you ask) occipital neuralgia
or some other strange problem with the nerves in my head.

Both of these things rule my life.
I think it must be very hard to live with a person like me
A person who regularly lies on the couch and moans.
A person who often can't go out or make dinner or be normal or be any fun at all.

Certainly it is hard to BE me sometimes.
Certainly this isn't the person I had planned to be when I imagined my future.
I want to be fun
I want to be active
I want to smile

Sometimes I try to fake it
tell myself that if I just act like everything is ok, then it will be
but most of the time, I just give in to it.
I analyze the pain as I endure it.
I talk about it.
I can't seem to stop myself from talking about it.
Like it needs to escape my head
like the releasing of the words will somehow affect the pressure building
and give me some relief.

I'm sure that my family would prefer I would suffer in silence
and fake it
Even I get sick of hearing myself so I'm sure they do.

Oh really, another headache?  How surprising.
Frank actually handles me quite well
He manages, somehow, to show compassion for me after 25 years of hearing me say
my head hurts

But to say my head hurts does not describe what I am going through
Not even close.

I see my face getting lines 
frown lines
and I wonder if its from all the hours spend laying on a couch or a bed 

My husband travels a fair amount for work
and I admit that I have thought more than once that Frank is better in writing than he is in person
Don't get me wrong, he's a great guy in person!
But when he goes on a business trip we trade emails and texts and he does such a good job of sending me nice messages
he sounds so loving and like he really misses me
then when he comes home, we fall right back into our normal rhythms
and its all so...normal
It's kind of a let down.
But today I realized that my real life self compared
 to my text/email self must be an even bigger let down to him
In writing I can put exclamation points or smiley faces
and I seem so happy and energetic
then he comes home, and realizes that I am that same sad girl on the couch saying
my head hurts.

Lost in the woods

Carter has started to do some preliminary work on his Eagle Scout Project.
So far we have scouted out the location of his project
and looked at other similar projects for ideas on how to do it right.
The man in charge of the trails in our town suggested we go to a certain trail to look at a bridge there.
He showed Carter and Frank where the trail began and told them to follow the trail
and that "you can't miss it" --referring to the bridge.

Well, they hiked and tried to find it.
But the "trail" is not really all that clear.
They never found it.

So we decided to go out on Saturday morning and give it another shot.

We hiked on the trail until it appeared to end.
and then we began our search for
-something resembling a trail
-a bridge
-water that the bridge might be over

Do you see a trail?

Neither did we.

We were in swamps, sticker bushes (SO MANY STICKER BUSHES), and overgrowth of every kind.
We imagined all the ticks that were potentially jumping on us.
There was a fair amount of "ouch" "watch out" and "it's really muddy here"

And then we saw this:
Yes! A trail marker!

and the trail became much more trail-ish after that.

Until, what do you know?
We found the bridge!
You really couldn't miss it. 
...once you found the trail anyway...

We took measurements and pictures.
And just enjoyed the beauty of the place.

Check out the cool beaver dams:

They wreak havoc on the stream but they are cool looking.

And this weird log:

And then we headed back.
It was much easier going back.

And, as usual, Carter took off ahead.  

It's hard hanging out with your parents this much.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


A few weeks ago Carter mentioned to us that he wanted to go to a music festival.
I half listened but didn't give it a lot of thought.
Then he brought it up again.
and again
and again

He wanted to go to FreshGrass, a bluegrass festival that takes place here in Massachusetts.
In Boston?
Oh no!
It's on the other side of the state
2 1/2 hours away!

Oh, and he didn't want to go with his parents
He was hoping he could just go with Austin or a friend from school
(Of course, he'd need a ride though)

So we looked into it
and broke the news to him that if we were driving 2 1/2 hours to go anywhere
we'd be staying for the festivities.
sorry for the bad news, kid.
Your parents are coming!

We did tell him to feel free to pretend not to know us once we got inside
But to keep in mind that this would mean that he better bring his wallet
Lunch is definitely not on us, if we are being avoided!

He agreed to the terms and we were all set for a day of Blue Grass fun!

I forced everyone to take a group photo before we went in.

They are all SO EXCITED to take this picture.

Anyway, the venue was Mass MoCA
which stands for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

It was a great!
We toured the museum a bit:

Not all of the art impressed Frank...

Our favorite:
Two HUGE phoenix made from all kinds of stuff...literally trash!
And they were absolutely gorgeous and amazing.

I tried to get some close-ups so you can see what it's made of:

The artist is Xu Bing
He also had another amazing piece of art upstairs...
A tiger pelt made from cigarettes!

More pictures of the Phoenix

The music was, of course, awesome!
We saw so many different groups and such amazing talent.

We got rained on a bit during the day, but nothing too bad.

But during the last band of the night it really started coming down on us.
We were brave though and stayed to the very end.
I went up by the stage and danced...tried to find Austin who was up there as well but it was too crowded/dark/wet and I couldn't find him.

And, in the end, Carter decided we weren't too bad.
He and his friend sat by us for the final few bands
(I guess its hard to pass up seats and blankets and snacks)

Afterwards, Austin asked Carter if he had danced during the last band.
Carter gave him a withering look and said no
Austin replied, "Mom danced!"
Carter said, "Yeah but she's a weirdo"

Good to know my reputation remains intact.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I've started something new and I'm pretty excited about it!
A good friend of ours repairs and refinishes furniture for a living.
I occasionally ask him for tips or advice when working on a project.
He's always really helpful
But I feel a little bad for always asking for free advice when it's his job.

I recently asked him if he'd be willing to take me on as a sort of "apprentice"...
Letting me watch what he does and learn from him.
And he said yes!

So one or two days a week I've been going to his shop
Helping a bit
Screwing things up occasionally
And learning a lot!

I just wish I had more time to go
Although he's probably glad to have a little "Debbie-free time" occasionally

Here's a picture from this week:

We stripped a table, fixed a chair and put a finish on another table
And when I say "we" I mean mostly him...
Just to be honest.
I'm not that useful.

But I'm having a great time!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Of Football and Friday Nights

Last friday night I went with my neighbors to the High School Football game.
We went for 3 major reasons:
my son is in the marching band
their son is a cheerleader and in the marching band
a friend's son is on the football team

While sitting on those bleachers with friends I remembered something.
I love football.

I love being at the game
be it High School, College (Oh the memories!), or 
(in my dreams) Professional
I like the whole feeling of the thing.
I like the cheering and the yelling.
I like a good game, even if my team doesn't win.

My son was in the marching band last year and the year before that.
So that's not new.
But my hubby really isn't into the football thing.
(Oh I could tell you stories of wasted season tickets in college...)
So we usually went at halftime to watch the band and only stayed for part of the game, if that.

Last friday reminded me of how much I really enjoy being at a game.
Staying the whole time.
Making a fool of myself
(why am I the only one yelling sometimes?)

And also
My kid was great in the band.
He's in the drum line.
Oh yeah!

He's the one on the far right in the back, playing the quads.
(that's 4 drums for those who don't know)

He will hate this picture.
He hates all pictures.
But, it's my blog.

I was reminded yet again that I really need to brush up on my photography skills.
I brought my real camera and everything 
but messed up the all of my pictures are total crap.
Luckily my neighbor took some good ones and emailed them to me.
So all of the pictures you see are his.
Of course, if I had taken the above picture of Carter, he would have covered his face or turned away.
He won't even look at me if I have a camera in my hands, especially at the games!
So it's a good thing Mike was there with his camera.
Go Mike!

Friday, September 6, 2013


I might have mentioned how much reading I've been doing lately.
A ton!
Access to the Boston library from my Ipad has changed my life I tell ya!
I love to read.

I am actually reading a book AND listening to a different book at the same time right now.
I am listening to 
"The Willpower Instinct"
by Kelly McGonigal PhD

It is super interesting.
And kind of depressing.

We humans do a lot of strange things.

I laugh a lot while listening because the reader talks about scenarios that often describe me perfectly.

For example, we humans are willing to reward ourselves not only for doing something good
(such as, I deserve that piece of cake, I worked out today)
but actually just the idea that we might do something good in the future is enough that we reward ourselves.
(I woke up and packed my bag to go work out I think I'll splurge and have that cinnamon roll for breakfast)

I do feel like I need to get my hands on a paper copy now though.
The author ( this a male or female?) gives homework type activities to help you work your "willpower muscles", if you will.
I need to see those in print to remember them I think.
Or maybe go back and write them down after I listen to the book once through.

Anyway, its worth a read!
(or a listen)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Going on a Hike

Saturday we decided to go for a hike in the White Mountains.
We like hiking a lot but we don't do it as much as we used to.
We used to hike quite a bit when the kids were young but somehow we got out of the habit...
maybe when the kids got into more activities
or maybe when we moved back east and Frank got his first massive case of poison ivy which caused him to swear off all outdoor activities for awhile
-yeah, that might be it-

anyway, we went for a hike!

It is the first time we've gone hiking since Frank got sick.
He is doing really well these days
working full time
traveling for work
doing most of the normal things around the house
eating pretty well

but lets just say, its a good thing we didn't get all aggressive when we chose the hike.
He discovered pretty quickly that he is not in the condition he was once in
(yes, we know this...but somehow we humans forget so easily)
The hike wasn't long but it was pretty much all uphill.

We went with another family whose company we enjoy and who have a teenage boy too.
There's much more of a chance that Carter will enjoy himself if we bring a friend along.
He gets so tired of all the one-on-one with the parents.

Here we are starting off, fresh as daisies.

The teenagers took off pretty quickly but they were nice enough to stop occasionally and wait for us.

We enjoyed the scenery and walked along at our leisurely pace and caught occasional glimpses of the kids.

 We came across a really lovely pond and water fall.
It made me wish I had brought a swimming suit!
(or at least a towel to dry my feet so I could wade a bit)

I was the only one who walked down to the water.  So I took this picture of everyone else up above.
They took one of me down below but its really blurry...

I can't resist mushrooms when I see them in nature.
I always want to take pictures of them.
When I commented on how much I love mushrooms,
Frank said that he just wished I loved to cook and eat them! haaa

The views were gorgeous.
The weather was nice.
Cool-ish but very humid.
We weren't too hot but we were all sweating like crazy.
So that was kind of gross.
Diane and I had a nice discussion about how gross sweat is.

 This was our amazing view from the top!

We sat and had our lunch and just relaxed.

We also attempted to take some pictures....for some reason I always think I'll get the perfect Christmas card shot at moments like this but I forget that:
1. My kids hate to have their pictures taken
2. We are all a bunch of goofballs
3. We are all sweaty and not looking our best

Oh well, I try!

As we started to head back down the mountain, it began to rain.
and rain it did.
We were soaked!
I had my rain jacket but Frank, in a moment of optimism, left his in the car.

It didn't matter much because even those of us with jackets or ponchos were drenched by the time we got to the bottom.
It just added to the fun though!

At the bottom we looked back and there was this amazing view of fog rolling over the whole area.
It was hard to catch with our phone cameras.
But it was beautiful!

A successful day!