Friday, December 30, 2005

eye twitches, smokin' booties, and a happy new year to you!

I've been feeling particularly unmotivated as of late, perhaps because I am stressed for some odd reason that I can't figure out. I have been having moments of anxiety when I try and fall asleep at night, and my eye has been twitching for a couple of days. I think I am just in dire need of this vacation next week. I haven't had more than a weekend off since July 1st, and I guess the long hours are catching up to me.

We have lots planned for this week, which is why I am trying to make our night or two away very low-key. We have friends over tomorrow night for New Year's Eve, a visit to the inlaws in the Berkshires for a couple of days, I need to get some interior house painting and other remodeling stuff done (that bright blue radiator in my bedroom has GOT TO GO), return items to the stores that I haven't had the time to get to, and of course, our little getaway. I'm worried my "vacation" won't be enough. And, of course, my parents are here for three weeks, and while I adore the visit and begged them to stay for this long, I do worry about whether they are having a good time while they are here.

Oh, and tonight we have a Hanukkah celebration with my inlaws for dinner and gifts. I am making Josh take the brunt of the cooking, because even I have my limits. I said I could do dinner if we purchased pre-made potato pancakes, and when that was unacceptable to him, I granted him the gift of partaking in the wonder himself. I wish to arrive home tonight to a completed dinner and a spotless house. I'll let you know how it goes.

I have received lovely and thoughtful gifts from the husband, however. Yesterday I received my long-desired first season of Lost. I have been imagining what happens past the two dvds I rented last month, and now I'll know. I also received Memoirs of a Geisha, because I refuse to see the movie until I have finished the book. That will be task #1 next week. Oh, and new jeans that make my booty look smokin'. Perhaps the best gift of the season, because everyone needs a smokin' booty.

What is everyone planning for New Year's? I find myself disappointed with the event every year. We feel pressure to do something special and end the year in style, but going out costs a fortune for not much fun, and the parties leave something to be desired. This year we are doing the same as last year and spending it with two of our best friends and perhaps a few others, playing board games, eating cupcakes, and watching movies. Cupcakes is another thing that everyone should have. Yum.

This past year I have been grateful for the gift of blogging friends. You are all so wonderful and supportive and kind, I feel so very fortunate to have met all of you.

I hope the coming year is filled with much good health, love and laughter for all of you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

merry chrismukkahkwanzaa

Or however you are supposed to say that.

I had great plans to post on Christmas Eve with a holiday picture of the dogs, and then the time got away from me, as is always the case. My parents were arriving on a flight from California at 5pm on Saturday afternoon, and Josh and I had ONE AFTERNOON to get the house in decent shape for their arrival. If you'd seen it before our whirlwind cleaning, you would have understood my desperation.

Of course, we slept in until 11am, and then discovered that unless we found a way to stop time, we'd never be able to do laundry, clean every room in the house, change all the sheets, give Murray a haircut, bathe both dogs, wrap our last couple of gifts, get ourselves cleansed, dressed and to the airport by 5pm. We did the best we could, though, and and got to the airport at 5:30pm, wondering why we hadn't gotten a call from them yet, but it turns out they were delayed! Hurray! So we timed it perfectly, and arrived at Gate C as they rolled their bags out from the carousel. I resisted the urge to make up a story and tell them we'd been waiting for half an hour, because I'm a nice daughter like that.

As we drove home, they broke the news to us that they'd been up since 1:30am California time to catch their flight, so we scrapped our plans to go to our dear friends' Christmas Eve party and instead decided to eat dinner at home. Poor Josh then set about at 6:45pm on Christmas Eve to run around our town and find a grocery store that was still open and had food. Thank goodness for Whole Foods. I prepared the sides and he settled on lobsters and crabs for their main dish because they are quick to cook. Nothing says Merry Christmas like crustaceans, no?

Then there was movie watching and opening of gifts at midnight, as we did when I was a child. Christmas day was fairly non-momentous, although we did see King Kong. Why didn't anyone tell me that he dies at the end? I was inconsolable.

Sunday was also the first night of Hanukkah and we had traditional potato pancakes (and tofu), candle lighting and gifts. I got a Seal cd, because I am quite obsessed with his song, Love's Divine. It is my new wake up song, replacing Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow. We are opting for low cost gifts this year, in deference to our new television, Wanda, and my new computer.

Yesterday was much of the same lounging around and I didn't even have to work all weekend! Although clients emailed me with requests anyway. Our one great foray out, was to the Crate and Barrel post-Christmas 50% off sale. Wooooooweeeeeee. I never knew that people could get so nasty over ornaments and snowmen dishtowels.

Today I'm back in the office sunny and chipper because hardly anyone is here, and I've actually slept many consecutive hours. My parents and Josh are meeting me for lunch, and I am planning Josh and my 2 day adventure away without the dogs. The folks are watching Tango and Murray for our escape. Any suggestions for locales not far from Boston that are relaxing? We considered skiing but decided that given our different skiing styles we'd spend more time together if we went to a regular hotel. My criteria: within 3 hours of Boston, something to do (i.e. a couple of shops), not too busy or hectic (so NYC is out) and Josh has to be there. That is it. Suggestions are welcome.

Hope all of your holidays were wonderful, peaceful and happy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

dehived and deswelled

Excellent news! I am back to my normal color, size and shape!!! Tonight we will hopefully be celebrating 72 hours hive-free, and I am feeling sooo. much. better.

Thank you so much for your well-wishes and advice. Maribeth asked if it helped, and your sympathy honestly did. I felt as if I wasn't totally crazy for being concerned, particularly since my primary care physician was acting as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Reading all your comments and knowing that you thought I was right to be alarmed made a difference.

I will tell you that Josh almost met with an untimely death when he told me on Friday night that he thought the source of all my hives, chest pressure, swelling and difficulty breathing were all due to stress. It took all my strength not to THROTTLE him. Thankfully, we are done with that theory and he has admitted that a drug allergy is more likely.

The doctor's second prescription made me feel remarkably better, and it wasn't until yesterday that I realized just how swollen I'd been from the hives. If I'd shown you my legs on Friday, you could scarcely distinguish my knees from the rest of my legs, the swelling was so extreme. I hadn't worn my wedding ring for several days because my fingers were so swollen it felt as if my circulation was being cut off. My face looked puffy and all my clothes fit tighter.

Today, I feel 100% better. So thank you thank you thank you! For all your kind comments and for all your emails checking to see how I was doing.

I spent the large part of the weekend parked on the couch watching movies and addressing holiday cards, per Josh's orders that I had to rest to get better. We ventured out only once on Saturday night for a brief visit to a holiday party, and to breakfast on Sunday morning. I had another 16 hour day at the office yesterday, and I feared that the hives would return, but I remain hive-free today. I'm hoping the rest of the week will allow for shorter hours and next week I may be taking some vacation time, pending a client's decision on when they'd like to close.

Thanks again for the messages! I'll keep you updated on what the allergy doctor says. I am apparently seeing an allergy and immunology specialist, rather than an actual allergist. I'm not sure why, but I guess I'll find out soon.

Friday, December 16, 2005

the comedy is lost

Thank you for your advice and good wishes on my last couple of posts. I was in better spirits yesterday, having won the "I Love to Kvetch" award over at Phantom Scribbler's for Whining Wednesday.

I hope this will be my one and only win for "Whine of Substance", at least for the foreseeable future.

Since I know not all of you partake in the wonder that is Whining Wednesdays, I shall share my tale of woe with you here.

After I woke up on Wednesday morning with more hives despite the wall to wall Benadryl I had been taking, I was given an emergency appointment that morning with my regular doctor. When I arrived at the doctor's office, I had hives on my arms and some around my calves, but nothing extreme. As the nurse called my name, I stood up to walk down the hall and felt something in my left shoe. I stopped walking, looked at the bottom of my sole, thinking I'd gotten something wedged in there... Nothing. I continued down the hall and the feeling remained of something stuck in there, so the moment we stopped in an exam room I pulled off my boot and found a golf ball sized lump on the side of my foot. I peeled my sock off to find welts appearing all over my foot, while the lump on the side and bottom of my foot grew. The nurse took one look at my foot and squeaked out "I'll, umm, go get the doctor." The doc rushed in and started examining the hives. She asked me to show her my other foot. I peeled off my sock and she compared the two, and before our very eyes, another lump began growing on the other foot. Additionally, smaller bumps were showing up all over the rest of my feet and calves. Within a few minutes, my forearms were covered in hives, as well.

I was freaked, to say the least. It was one thing to have innocuous looking bumps on my body, but these lumps were big and uncomfortable, and it felt as if I were walking with a golf ball tucked into my foot. Ick.

The doctor prescribed some Allegra, more Benadryl, and an emergency dose of steroid should I have any breathing complications, but surprisingly, no tests or additional ideas. At the time, I was pretty overwhelmed with the hives and the speed at which they were changing, so I didn't question her diagnosis. She suspects an allergy to Advil. Odd, because I take Advil as my basic pain reliever, for headaches and body aches and random ailments, but she thought that maybe the migraine had lowered my body's resistance, and the Advil allergy was able to take its full form.

Anyway, I started the treatment on Wednesday. At this point, I remained chipper and endured the hives with little complaint. Enough whining to win my award (YAY!) but I was going to work and being the good employee that I am.

Thursday morning, however, I woke up with lips swollen a la Angelina Jolie. And folks, it wasn't a good look for me. I will not be seeking collagen injections at any point in the future. I was mildly alarmed by the burning, stinging and swelling, but I did my regular morning routine and headed off to work. During the day, I started to feel significantly better. The lip swelling went down, the hives seemed to be decreasing, and even my cold seemed a little better.

Thursday night, at around 10:30pm, I packed up my stuff and drove my friend home from work to take a peek at her Christmas decorations. While in her apartment, I began to have this strange feeling. It was hard to describe, but it didn't feel right. I felt lots of pressure in my chest, some shortness of breath, and a strong need to throw up. Because I'm an idiot, I insisted on driving myself home, and then promptly freaked out while driving. The tightness was getting worse, and I wondered if I shouldn't head straight for the emergency room of the closest hospital. In the end, I got on the phone with Josh, and since I was only 10 minutes from home, I drove straight home and took a full dose of Benadryl and lay down on the couch to see if I improved.

I know, I know. You're wondering why I didn't go straight to the emergency room. And frankly, today I'm wondering that too. But at midnight, exhausted and frustrated and not really knowing what was happening, it didn't register with either one of us that I was having another manifestation of the extreme allergic reaction. At one point, Josh noted that I also had hives all over my face, where there'd been none just before. I started to cry, and told Josh that I wished someone would tell me what to do. I kept saying that I didn't "feel right" but I couldn't pinpoint what it was. We finally decided I'd lie down and try to sleep and see if I felt any better.

I slept late this morning, and woke up groggy and exhausted but better. My cheeks were a bit swollen, but no hives were visible at first glance. This was a brief respite, though, and by the time I arrived at the office I was in full-blown hive mode. This time they were all over my hands, arms, feet, and both legs. The ones on my legs were intensely itchy, very swollen and were driving me a bit nuts.

I spoke to my friend, Dr. B, who chastised me for not going to the emergency room the night before. He said that my doctor needed to hear what was happening, and that we had moved from the normal hives "nothing to do" mode, into a dangerous place where I needed some answers. A call into my doctor confirmed his advice, and she prescribed steroids and a referral to an allergy and immunology specialist.

My orders are clear, and if I experience any lip swelling, throat itching, chest pressure or shortness of breath, I am to go directly to the hospital. Do not pass Go. In the meantime, Josh and my plans to attend a cousin's bar mitzvah in Long Island with his family are out of the question, and Josh can't even go without me since my symptoms seem to get worse at night and I need someone around to drive me in case of an emergency.

All in all, these aren't serious problems, but this week has felt incredibly long. I am still working like a crazy person at the office while scratching my legs uncontrollable. I am less productive, which makes my hours even longer, and this weekend I'm going to have to work to make up for what I didn't get done during the week.

So if you have some happy anti-hivey messages you can send my way, I'd really appreciate it. While I'm typing, the hives are appearing on my fingers and arms. Sigh. Let's hope the steroids boot this allergy right out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

a moment of comedic relief

Yesterday afternoon, as I mentioned, my migraine started to dramatically improve. By 6pm or so, I felt like an actual person whose brain was not about to ooze out of her ears. I was also exhausted; as if I'd just been working out for hours. I finished up outstanding projects, packed up work for home and was out of the office by 9pm. I arrived home by 9:30, chipper to be able to work on my couch in front of the tv.

I went upstairs to throw on pajamas and glanced in the mirror on the way back down. Hmmm... What's that on my face? Hives. I'd broken out in hives all over my body. They seemed to be localized on my face and arms, but I had a few random hives on my torso and legs. Itchy, disfiguring, large hives. Okay, disfiguring is an exaggeration, but they were ugly.

Except for the itchiness, they weren't bothering me all that much, so I decided to take Benadryl and call the doctor in the morning. Unfortunately, Benadyl makes me wired, so I spent the next few hours lying awake in bed and wishing the itching to stop. It got to the point that Josh threatened to put mittens on me to stop the scratching.

I finally drifted off to sleep and was awoken by a loud screeching sound coming from the downstairs hallway. It took a few minutes for me to identify the noise- the fire alarm. A few minutes later, the loud screech sounded again. The fire alarm battery. A glance at the clock- 2:17am. I considered getting up and replacing the battery, but honestly, I've had a migraine for days, I'm itchy and disfigured, and I can't sleep because I'm hyper from Benadryl. So I shook Josh awake and begged him to fix it. I know it's mean, but have some sympathy people!!!

We don't have those rectangular batteries in the house, so he unplugged it for the night and came back to bed, where I finally got a few hours of sleep before I got up at 7:30am to get to work. I still have the hives, although they are lessened in intensity. I've logged a call in to the doctor, and the nurse expressed adequate concern over the strange symptoms. We'll see what happens.

By the way, the irony is not lost on me that last week I wrote an entry about being happy no matter what, and yesterday and today all I have to write is "WAAAAHHH, I have a migraine! WAAAAHHH, I have hives!" Isn't life a kick in the pants?

Monday, December 12, 2005

feeling a little better

Thanks for all the suggestions. Another friend nominated the low pressure in the air as the cause, but I guess I won't be able to figure that one out.

My magic improvements, thus far:

Excedrin for Migraines
Two coffees
Pops cereal
greasy Chinese food (tofu and vegetable fried rice)

I'm not feeling 100% better, but I am functioning, which is more than I could say for yesterday and Saturday.

I'm not ignoring the possibility that this could be a sinus infection, since I am suffering from my third cold/flu/vile illness since SEPTEMBER. THREE. One, two, three. I have been ranting and raving about my wimpy immune system for the last week.

I believe I just found the root of my illnesses in our office kitchen, however. I strolled into the pantry area to grab some water for my new friend, Excedrin, and witnessed, before my very eyes, the receptionist who is suffering from her own version of tuberculosis, take her water bottle, PRESS IT AGAINST THE WATER COOLER SPOUT, AND REFILL. The same bottle that she puts IN HER MOUTH. The same bottle that touches her infected lips. The infected lips that are attached to her body. The body that kept her out of the office for several days last week because she can't get over the flu.

Hmmph. Now I know. It looks like I'll be purchasing bottled water from now on.

Thanks for your suggestions. I believe I will also be looking into a chiropractor in the area, and maybe I'll ask for a massage for Hanukkah.


As I left work on Friday evening, I was struck with a rather vicious headache that persisted through dinner, post-dinner television shows, some relaxing time in front of the fireplace, and after I crawled into bed.

Saturday morning, I woke up with a headache so strong, I could barely lift my head off of the pillow. I had been looking forward to our busy Saturday for the whole week, though. I was hoping to meet Phantom for coffee at some point during the day, Josh and I were meeting our friends for brunch and to help them decorate their Christmas tree, attend an arts and crafts fair, and a holiday party at night. I made it out of bed and slowly got ready, but in the car on the way to our favorite restaurant, I realized I'd made a mistake. I tried to eat through the headache, hoping that eggs and coffee would take it away. Our friend is a pediatrician, and she peppered me with questions trying to determine the source of the pain. Eventually, we settled on a migraine given my nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Nothing seemed to help. I tried Advil (3), Sudafed, coffee, and rest. I eventually gave up on all my plans and gave into laying on the couch and willing the migraine away. Saturday night wasted, I told myself that Sunday would bring relief. But Sunday morning, I woke up with a renewed migraine that persisted throughout the day. It isn't enough to make me vomit, or to make me completely immobile, just enough to make it difficult to do anything. On Sunday afternoon, I even tried a basic exercise video to see if moving around and getting my blood flowing would help. Umm, that would be NO.

Now it is Monday morning, and it seems impossible that my head still hurts. I tried to work on the subway during my morning commute, but all I could accomplish was laying my head against the glass and hope for the day to end quickly.

I have migraines once or twice a year, but never for such an extended period. I am halfway through my third day with this headache and in brief moments during the day it seems a little better, but then comes back with a vengeance.

I know that some of you also deal with migraines. My solution has always been to sleep through them, but has this ever happened to you? What do you do when the migraine won't go away?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

the time to be happy is now

In August, Josh and I joined two of our closest friends on a day trip to Ogunquit, Maine. We spent the morning and afternoon lounging on the beach and later wandered up the cliffside paths into the little town. We investigated most of the shops and settled into a leisurely lobster dinner at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. It was a perfect day, and as we drove home, Josh and I sat in the back seat while our friends drove, hips pressed against each other, fingers intertwined, and I wondered how I got so lucky to have this good life.

Lately I've been working very long hours (evidenced by the fact that I'm still at the office at 10:28pm on a Tuesday) to close a couple of deals that have been in the works for several months now. I'm sure you've noticed, but I rarely write about my job here, mainly because I feel incredibly grateful to have found such a great group of people with whom I work. Eventually, though, the long hours take their toll, and there have been moments in my life as a corporate lawyer that I wonder what I'm doing with my days.

I really like my job. I like interacting with my colleagues every day, I like most of my clients, I like working my brain on these agreements, I like cracking jokes in meetings. Of course, I'd like to be reading in front of the fire on a snowy night like tonight MORE than sitting in my office, but those are the tradeoffs, I guess.

On that day in Ogunquit, Maine, I stumbled across a weathered looking sign hanging in the corner of a little store. At first I barely glanced at it before turning to the next cluster of items, but then I stopped, read it again, and pulled it off of its spot on the wall.

Every night before I go to sleep and every morning as I grab my keys out of my basket, I glance at it and remind myself that this mantra is more important than the job or the stress or the deadlines. I won't get a second chance to live my life, and I have to learn to be happy no matter what is happening around me. Of course, my family's and my good health, the wonderful relationships I have in my life, my loving husband, my sweet dogs, my secure job; all of these blessings and more don't hurt the cause either.

Monday, December 05, 2005


I took it upon myself this weekend to make our little abode a bit more festive. Our decorating centers mainly around general winter and Hanukkah touches, which works for me because I love snowmen and they are fairly non-religious.

Winter Welcome!

Look at all our snow! I looked out the bathroom windows this morning into a winter wonderland.

I love seeing all the trees traced with snow. I believe that nothing could be more beautiful than a fresh snowfall on bare limbs.

Snowpeople in the windows!

Snowflakes! Those buggers dropped silver glitter all over my house as I went from room to room hanging them in the windows.

I found glitter on my forehead this morning, and some of it even ended up on my desk at work!

Okay, so the candy cane candle isn't really for Hanukkah, but I bought it as a Christmas gift for a friend, and then accidentally left it by the radiator. EEK! The side facing away from the camera is all melted and deformed, so we decided to use it anyway ; )

We even have white lights outside and silver ribbons with glittery snowflakes on each outside light. The white lights aren't really for Hanukkah either, but since my parents are spending Christmas at our house due to my work schedule, Josh decided he could live with the newly renamed Hanukkah lights.

And yes, those are pumpkins that are still outside from Halloween.

I initially went outside with my scissors and ribbons and no gloves to tie the ribbons into bows and attach them to the lamp post and railings. And when I'd lost the feeling in my fingers within 30 seconds, I realized that perhaps I should tie the bows inside and come outside to just attach them to the railings. It worked a little better. I'd advise you not to do the same thing if you decorate outside.

Anyone else decorating these days?

Friday, December 02, 2005

meet CuRVy

This is Curvy. She is our new, and much beloved, car.

Blackbird asked for us to show her our cars for show and tell, and I am happy to oblige.

Although I have been a fan of Curvy for quite some time, I cannot take credit for her purchase, since Josh did the bulk of the research on her excellent qualities. I did the negotiating, though, because I am a hard ass like that. Do NOT try to give me a bad price. GRRRR.

Curvy, as you can see, is a Honda CR-V (hence her name), and she joined our family in July.

Check out Curvy's booty, she is a hottie.

Woooo hooooo!

I won't bore you with the details of how fabulous Curvy is, because you can read about her many talents here and here. I will tell you that she is incredibly spacious, features front and side curtain air bags, a 6-disc cd changer, a moon roof (since when is it a moon roof anyway?), a front and center console that collapses down to allow room for a large purse, a purse hook in the front seat so that you purse doesn't fly around when you brake hard, and the cover for the trunk turns into a picnic table. Now, I've never used the picnic table, but I assure you that it gives me great security to know that I could whip out a picnic at the side of the road at any moment.

Curvy is the first car that Josh and I have purchased together, and we hope that she will share many a happy memory with us. Plus, she's red! Of course! Guess who chose the color.

a dog's interpretation of thanksgiving

Tango and Murray had much to be thankful for this year, as well.

Their morning started off with some sun worshipping in a patch of sunshine they found on the couch.

You gotta love that little bit of warmth, huh?

All this action in the kitchen must mean something good. There was lots of waiting for turkey leftovers.

Just let us know when the food is ready.

They were a little bummed to realize that there was something slightly off with this turkey. Hmmmm.

They were willing to overlook it, at least. Tango is clear about his demands.

Feed me!

Ahhh, finally, the true meaning of Thanksgiving.**

**Ok, so I didn't let them do this. Josh let them at the spoils of the turkey for about 3 seconds. Before any dog activists come after me, they basically had time to sniff and lick the turkey before he took it away.