Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Long Time No Blog

I know...it's been an awfully long time since my last blog. I told you when I first started this endeavor that I would probably be the least consistent blogger in the ...well....universe....and apparently I am.

It's just that my life has been so full and busy. And, quite frankly, between Twitter, Facebook, texting and the actual phone itself, I've felt like all I do is update folks on the goings-on around here.
Here being HERE;
This picture is what our home looked like during the Polar Vortex.

Every time I heard or read that word, I felt like I was living in a sci-fi novel or show. I mean really Polar Vortex!?! A bit dramatic, don't you think?
Mind you, it was tragic for some and it was really, really cold.
Around here it looked like this;
but it definitely didn't look like this
We were lucky. We only lost power briefly. We stayed warm and cozy inside through most of it. Except for the two times I had to drive kind of far away. The first time was a futile attempt to get to a recording studio about 40 minutes away. I got stuck in the snow...... twice. Thwarted completely on my last turn.Thanks goodness for the man who got out of his car and gave me a push.

My next drive was to the airport in Detroit to pick up my youngest son. That drive normally takes me about 45 minutes. TWO HOURS LATER... I arrived.

It was really scary. It was nighttime, about -20 out and the roads were all ice. Black ice. I think my maximum speed was 25 miles per hour on what is normally a 70 mile per hour highway. There were cars ploughed into the snow all over. Tow trucks pulling them out here and there.
Scary, scary stuff but I made it there and back with my son safely home.
I figure I am now officially and Ice Road Trucker.
Okay, maybe not an Ice Road Trucker...let's just call me an Ice Road Poseur.

Here's the thing about this winter. At least from where I...um...sit...
It's the worst winter the US has seen in 20 years..BUT...I'm loving it because I know it will make spring that much more glorious. Then we'll have summer and then fall, which is breathtaking here and winter again. It fascinates and exhilarates me.

You see, I come from LA. Basically the weather is the same....ALL THE FREAKIN" TIME! It almost never changes. It's pretty but it gets boring. It really does. And the smog Oh my lord! If everyone in LA could spend one year living here, breathing this clean perfect air, they'd know the difference.
I don't know, now that I'm out of LA I'm noticing that more than just the weather changes, faces do too!
In LA many many people have the same face.
You know that face; the frozen forehead, skin stretched tight against freakishly plump cheeks. Teeny tine little noses. And those lips! You know what I mean, those overfull fishy looking lips.
Hey, I was totally guilty of it myself in the past. I did botox for a couple of years and even tried some filler here and there but, it just wasn't me.
Here's a perfect example of the difference;
Me at a premiere in LA a few years ago
I kind of look like Carrot Top don't I?
Look at that waxy forehead! And my cheeks are too full. And I have no lines around my eyes! Mind you, I am all made up and fancy for this picture too and my dear friend Jeffrey did an amazing job on my make up. I mean it's not crazy unnatural but just..not..me.

Now this is me!!!

This picture was taken of me this past fall. First thing in the morning. No make-up. No botox. No fillers...no nuthin'! Now, isn't that better?
It certainly feels better.

Listen, I'm nearly 50 years old and I want to age gracefully.
Have you seen Jessica Lange lately? Oh my God! She is amazing. I watch American Horror Story:Coven and I am mesmerized by her. She is a brilliant actress but, she is also incredibly beautiful and looks absolutely age appropriate. SEE?:
This was two years ago. I chose this photo because she is a bit animated. If you watch her on TV now you can see that she is all natural. Everything on her face moves. It's magnificent!

Now I don't know Jessica Lange personally...though I'd LOVE too...so I can't speak about her personal life or anything, but I can tell you that for me, the number one factor in looking healthy is happiness.

I have found true, real happiness here in my little town. My home is peaceful. My children are well. I'm madly in love with the most extraordinary man. I am content.

The biggest change in me, is that I am finally living a pain-free life.
You might have caught the National Enquirer's take on my condition a few weeks back. You might not, it doesn't matter.

I recently got a request to do an exclusive with one of those glossy tabloid magazines about all of this stuff and I said no.
I thought, why have someone filter my story when I have this platform to share my tale right here.

So here goes;
Since I was about 9 years old, I've had horrible migraines. Just awful, crippling headaches that, if I don't catch them in time, lay me up for days.

These migraines went untreated for decades. Just advil and the occasional stronger narcotic prescribed by a well-meaning Doctor.

I've also had neck issues. I am fused at C4-5. That was solved with the fusion though and didn't bother me a bit until 2012.
In 2012 I suffered two bad accidents that re-injured my neck and gave me two concussions.

My migraines went out of control then. No medication worked and I spent many hours in ERs with IVs and pain meds and steroids and benedryl and ice and heat and everything to make the headaches stop.
It was really torturous.

Then I found the Doctors and therapists at www.mhni.com

I have been in their care for the last several weeks. Here's what's wrong with me and how they are fixing it;
I have a genetic pre-disposition for migraines from my birth father's side of the family.
I also get menstrual migraines every month
Structurally there are bulging discs above and below the fused disc in my neck which are pinching the nerves and causing headaches.
I also have a wicked case of TMJ.

My treatment is multidisciplinary. I am on all new medications for the migraines. Preventative meds and rescue meds. None of them are opiates or narcotics. None of them cause rebound headaches and I take them exactly as recommended.
I get regular blocks in the occipital nerve in the back of my head which hurt a lot but give me nearly instant, long lasting relief.
I also get deep facet blocks in the nerves in my neck which are working but they are a work in progress, as my Dr finds the right nerves to inject and then eventually ablate.
In fact, I'm having a facet block this morning and my tummy is growling like crazy because I'm not allowed to eat before the sedation.

So there you have it. I am sharing this because so many on twitter have responded to the bits and pieces I can post there. So may people suffer from these awful, dark, debilitating headaches.

I cannot recommend MHNI more highly. They have saved me from chronic pain.

So, if you look at the pictures of me again, now you can really see. The first one is a false face. A woman hiding chronic pain under a lot of artifice.
The second picture is a happy woman who has emerged from decades of pain.

Blessing abound. Truly they do.

I leave with my dog Josephine next Monday to begin our book tour.
 so if you watch, you'll see my face and hers on GMA and various other shows. We have signings in NY, LA, Ann Arbor and Detroit coming up. I'll post on Twitter as soon as I know dates and times.

And I will be beaming and happy because I have everything, love, health and peace.

I wish that for all of you too.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beauty and Fear

Hi readers of my blog!

I warned you that I might not be writing too often....and I guess I'm living up to that warning. Life just gets so busy. Especially with a cross-country move!

I am happy to say that we are in our new home and settling in comfortably. It's taken much more energy and time than I imagined it would but, our kitchen is up and running

and now I'm just dealing with hanging pictures, chandeliers etc and unpacking the last of the boxes.
This is all going to be fairly slow going as I am also trying to keep up with laundry, working out, gardening, and just general life stuff.

There just aren't enough hours in the day,

arms on my body

or brains in my head

to do this all with any kind of speed.

Here's an idea of what is happening so far;
Dining Room
 Corner of Main Entry
 Main Entry

 Dad's Wall
 Office ( yes, one is mine, one is his)

As you can see we have a ways to go but it's really starting to come together.

Now for the other part, the emotional part of making a move like this.

It's just scary. It really is but I've never let a little fear slow me down..EVER.
If you know me at all, you know that if somethings scares me, I will stick my chin out and do it.

Which is exactly how I dove into this move. I just leaped and assumed the net would appear.
It did...the net appeared...but I have to say this is all so new. It's like living in an alternate universe sometimes.

I'm making friends slowly, which is how that process goes for me. I don't trust easily. I've been burned more times than I can say.

Mostly, I am spending time with The Boy and the animals and, on weekends, with The Husband.
 See, he works in Chicago but comes home every Friday.

God, how I miss him when he's not here. The first night after he leaves, I cannot sleep a wink. Mostly because I sleep better wrapped in his big gentle arms and also because when he leaves I am on guard duty.

Now, I know in my head, that I am perfectly safe here. We have all of the security we need and we live in a real neighborhood where people watch out for each other all the time. We've even struck up a friendship with our Chief of Police. Nothing bad happened here, ever.
Nothing will...but...but...but..try tellin that to my heart!

This past Sunday I was a wreck. Crying when The Husband left and awake all night.
It didn't help that we watched The Call that afternoon and the image of the girl being dragged out from under the bed where she was hiding, kept replaying in my head.

By 2:00 am ish...when I finally did fall asleep, I had a very realistic Zombie Apocalypse dream.

Jeez! I don't watch, The Walking Dead. I don't play video games. I read World War Z years ago and was fine. I've seen zombie movies but not recently.

Why the zombie dream now?

And why, dear God, did it have to be in black and white!!

I woke up at 5:45 in a sweat (which is nothing new....the sweat part....silly hormones.) absolutely sure that a black and white zombie with a dark suit and graveside flowers stuck in his chest was walking up my stairs to get me.

In fact, it scared me so bad, I waited until sunrise to get in my car and drive to the Sparrow Lab in Okemos to get my blood work done to check the hormones that make me sweat and cry and probably don't help at all with Zombie Apocalypse dreams!!

Then something amazing happened! I was driving on I96 West, and I saw the most beautiful sight I've seen in a long time. The sun was rising behind me in a big orange ball and the land all around me was waking up. Before me there were stand of trees...wooded areas surrounding large open meadows and fields of crops. The sky above was a pale blue, dotted with perfectly painted white clouds. The clouds looked like someone had pulled cotton balls apart and swiped them across the sky. Over every meadow or field there was a mist...like an Irish mist...just hanging there.

It kind of looked like this;

I was thunderstruck and immediately began to weep and I thought, "Does everyone on this highway see how beautiful this is? Do the Michiganders know what beauty there is to be found here? Or do they just drive their commute, not seeing any of it?"

I promised myself that I would never tire of the beauty that can be found here. Just as I've promised myself over and over that I'm not going to lose my excitement when I see a fireflies in my garden

So, I had my blood work done, (FYI-Michiganders, the women at the Sparrow Lab on Grand River in Okemos are amazing!!) then I got in my car for the drive back.

The sun was up and my GPS had me drive back using a different route. I was on the phone with The Husband when it happened again.

This time the sun was up and the mist was gone but left behind was a fine dew over everything. It looked like the landscape had been covered in crystals. everything was sparkling and fresh and new and ALIVE. I opened the window and could even smell it in the air...a crisp, crystalline freshness unlike anything I've known.

And right now, right this second, it all comes together....I've never known anything like this. This love. This view. This house. This life. This pace. This stillness. This peace.
Unprecedented serenity and beauty.

I slept like a rock last night for eight hours. I dreamt about farms and fields and sun and woke up happy.

I don't think I would really have appreciated the beauty of what I experienced unless I'd experienced the fear before it.

I mean, I'd have seen it but it wouldn't have been as impactful.

So I'm thinking that is the reason that everything is cyclical. Fear/Beauty..Light/Dark...Death/Life Joy/Sorrow...Summer/Winter.... Grief/Healing.

I can't have one without the other.  No one can.

So I will continue on this adventure and take what comes and try to appreciate every moment, nuance and season.
I mean, really, when you think about it, what other choice do we have.

I am off now to weed and prune in my garden.

It's time to cut things back so they can grow again in the spring......
and what was that I was just saying about cycles and seasons?......

Oceans of love to you all,

Monday, July 15, 2013

The More Things Change, The More They.....Change

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
Lao Tzu

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
Charles Darwin

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

Today, my word is Change.
It's all around me now, in so many different ways. 
My morning reading from my book on the Tao contained this quote; 
"This is the nature of nature. Everything changes and nothing is permanent. Human beings, as part of nature, are subject to the same Tao. Everything we see, touch, and feel is undergoing transitions, just like the clouds in the sky and the stars at night. The nature of our lives is impermanence."

Yes, I am studying the Tao. I am a student of many religions. I'm a spiritual person. I believe in God. I believe in Love, Truth, Honor, Nature. I believe in lots of things but, that's as far as I'm going to go right now because I want this blog to remain somewhat non-controversial for the moment. 
Make no mistake, I am not afraid to express my opinions at all. EVER!
....but after the slew of brutal tweets I endured on twitter after posting something about the NRA, I'd prefer to play it safe ...just for now.

So back to Change.
It seems that true to all quotes change is inevitable and constant.

Some changes are much harder than others.
There are those who say that Death, Divorce and Moving are the three toughest.

I've certainly walked through my share of deaths. First, foremost and most devastating for me, the loss of my father when I was 11.
I endured losing my father all over again when just after my 1st book was published, I found out that my father had not died from a second stroke, like I'd been told. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 
The where, why and how of how I found this out is very personal and not something I'm prepared to share with the blogosphere just yet, or maybe even ever.

I will tell you this; that I could not get the answers I sought at the time so I hired professionals who went to the LAPD and LA County Coroner for me and pulled all of their records. Minus photos, of course. I had a deep burning need to know exactly what happened and why but I had no need to have the images burned into my brain.

So back to Change...Death is ranked up there as the hardest and I have seen my fair share of it. It is a part of the human experience. It touches us all throughout our lives and eventually will come for each of us. 
That sort of philosophy is easy to spout when one is not walking through a loss but ultimately for me, it is always a great comfort.
More Change; Divorce.
I know way too much about this. I've lived it from every conceivable angle and been through it myself, twice. A fact that I am not at all proud of. 
My first divorce was not what one could call, amicable.
My second divorce was.
Both were incredibly, nearly unendurably sad but time has tempered hurt feelings and ill will. 
Though my first husband, Bo and I have no communication at all. 
Bruce and I do communicate. I think we communicate rather well. I'm damn proud of that. He remains a dear friend and an ally.
The last, hardest change (according to what 'they' say...whomever 'they' are.) is moving.
Golly I've done a lot of moving in the past two decades, From Encino California to Malibu, back to Encino, New York (three different dwellings there), back to LA...Hollywood Hills, Sherman Oaks, Hidden Hills, Valley Village, Calabasas, Tarzana, Studio City and now, this Saturday, I will be leaving LA and moving to a small town in Michigan.
my very own version of Bedford falls.
For me this is a massive change. Its scary as hell but, it is time.

I need a place where I can be at peace and create. Whether that is writing or doing theater or cooking, needle pointing or gardening.
I'm ready to live somewhere that I can have neighbors with casseroles, drive in movies and Dairy Queen.

I'm ready to live somewhere that I don't have to practically kill myself to be a size two or remain looking like I haven't aged past forty.
No smog.
Changing seasons.
Great fishing within walking distance,
and reading on my screened in porch
A tranquil existence I can share with The Boy

and The Husband

I mean The Husband
Sorry Baby..... ;)
Here I hope this photo of my teeth makes up for the Poindexter picture:
Though you could take off the Poindexter look...my teeth were a part of my real face.
So back to this Change business. It seems that I can't do just one life change at at a time. After talking to my girlfriends who have tread the biological waters before me....most especially talking just yesterday my BFF Sandy Peckinpah

It seems that the weepiness, sleeplessness, weight gain in my mid section, slow down of metabolism and my desperate need to keep the thermostat at 68 degrees because I'm always sweaty  add up to the undeniable fact that I am stepping into menopause. 
Its about right. I'm 49 years old.

So I've begun my extensive research and I'm choosing Bio identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. I've found an amazing Dr in Michigan and I'm going to tackle this new phase head on and thoroughly informed.
Not an easy thing to do, might I add. I'm really grateful to have the Internet and all of the access to information but, jeez Louise...there's just so much!
The one thing that all can agree on though is the list of horribles...the symptoms.
I mean get a load of this!!
I only have a few of these symptoms but the list above is scary. There's more too!
Loss of libido being on of things missing from the list above...then again...that might've been difficult for the artist to draw.....

That's NOT one of my problems but it could be and that's just not acceptable to me AT ALL. So, as soon as I'm all settled in my new home, the testing will begin and I will begin treatment. I will definitely share the whole experience with those of you who read this blog and I hope it helps you or someone you love....I hope it helps me!
In the meantime, I'm drinking extra water, taking walks and just trying to be gentle with myself.
I have to tell you though, it helps to have the most supportive, understanding, compassionate and loving man on the planet walking through this with me. He even called the Dr to see if they could get me an appointment sooner (My Dr is booked until November).
I do love my husband. He's a good man.
So, while he is at the forefront of my thoughts right now, I'll share with you one of our favorite poems. We had it read at our wedding ceremony.

This is for you Timothy Clark Busfield

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I Blog Therefore I Am

I'm not exactly sure how this blogging business is going to go. I can be dreadfully bad at follow through. I only know that it will be nice to have a place to vent, rant, remember, share ideas, feeling, thoughts, recipes, remedies and other silliness. It will be especially nice to do this in a format longer than a tweet and shorter than a novel.

First, some history...I am best known for this:
 I'm known for many other things ( some good...some not so good) but this:
remains my most universally recognizable achievement.

Personally, I take greater pride in my amazing, funny, talented, compassionate and kind children but frankly, I think those are qualities they each developed on their own. I may have nudged them a bit but their accomplishments belong solely to them. (As soon as I can get myself together to sync up my iPhoto, I'll be able to post pics of my kids.)

A few years ago I chronicled my life up to that point in my book:

An awful lot has happened since I wrote the words, "The end". I went on tour with the Little House on the Prairie Musical. I broke my back, got divorced, dated a french guy, danced on TV:

all during a very frantic and tumultuous time in my life.

Things seem to be a bit quieter now. I've stepped back from the glaring spotlight since the Dancing was over.

 I've been on a bit of a quest for peace and quiet.

I think I'm nearly there but, it looks like I'm going to have to go through another upheaval to get there. In about two weeks I am driving cross country with The Boy;

two dogs, two cats and our sugar glider,
to our new home in Michigan. 
Yes, I said Michigan! 
Not that I have anything against Michigan, in fact one of my very favorite people in the whole world comes from Michigan...this guy, The Husband;
See the Detroit Tigers logo on the mic in his hand. Not only is he from Michigan but he loves all things Michigan and I am really starting to as well. Granted, my feelings may change a bit four months into my first winter;

But I'm made of very strong stuff. And, as long as The Husband promises I can go back to LA or Hawaii at any time for some sun, I'll be just dandy. 

Or...........I could end up like this guy:

and we all know how badly that ended for him;

In all seriousness, I am very excited about this change in my life. I'm ready to go, to see what is new, what will be, what I will create in this new phase of my life.

Am I afraid? Yes, a little but, all of my life, if something scares me, I do it.... With the exception of skydiving. I see no need to ever skydive. Or bungee jump for that matter....but I digress.

I am ready to jump into this new phase of my life with both feet. I have some very sad goodbyes ahead but also some hellos and hopefully even more self discovery along the way. 

And now I have this blog! 
There's something oddly comforting in social media like this. I think it boils down to all of us wanting to feel like we're not alone. There are forums where we can share our lives, and thus our humanity. 

Isn't that the thing that links us all together, no matter where we are from or how far apart we are?

We are all part of the whole. 

Well, I've got laundry to fold so, I guess I'll sign off for now. 
Hopefully someone will read this, other than my mother.

Be well everyone. 
Be happy. 
Eat ice cream. 
If you love someone, tell them. 
Right now!!
Go on...

and don't forget;

with oceans of love,