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.

xoxo,
M




95 comments:

  1. Congratulations on being pain-free. I, too, suffered from menstrual migraines a few years ago. Certainly not the pain you suffered, but I can relate to the debilitating effects of migraines. That, coupled with slightly elevated blood pressure and the fact that I was taking birth control pills made me a perfect candidate for a stroke. So, my ob/gyn took me off birth control immediately...and then I got pregnant at the age of 40 with our second (and last) child! :) I now have a beautiful 2 year old - and am essentially migraine-free. Perhaps our surprise baby was a cure? Who knows...but I'm thankful.
    Take care and thanks for sharing your thoughts here.
    Best,
    Kim Court

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  2. This is so much better than a magazine! Thank you for sharing, Melissa. Wishing you the best and complete healing. Bless! - Brittany

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  3. It's wonderful to read directly from you about how happy and healthy you are these days. You look beautiful, too!

    All the best to you from another Melissa. :-)

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  4. I am printing this out and taking it to my doctor! I never even thought that the vertebrae in my neck could be causing my headaches (24/7 for YEARS! that escalate to migraines). But I do have 2 fused (congenitally) and I think maybe it's time we look into it. Thank you for telling us about your issue and giving me a new avenue to follow. Keep feeling good!!

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  5. please come to toronto for a book signing :)

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  6. So Happy when I saw on twitter you posted a new post on your blog!, So Happy you found "Contentment", I also believe Beauty starts with Happy inside, It show all over your face and the rest follows!. Glad you have survived your first Michigan winter, It was brutal, We lost power for four days until Christmas Eve. God Bless those Electric people! They all honked Jingle Bells as they were leaving our neighborhood!.....I love small town living! Good Luck on your book tour!

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  7. Thanks for continuing with your blog Melissa! Your humor is fun, your writing witty and informative! And, I have a special place in my heart for you because you love my home state of MI as much as I do (even though I live in TN now). Your tongue-in-cheek on Hollywood is wicked to say the least; and, like you, I have humongous admiration for those in Hollywood who are true to themselves and who accept age gracefully and honestly! Keep the blog up when you can, as I said it's a great read!

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  8. Do you really know how amazingly beautiful the second photo of you is? It really does show your new found joy, a new life. Love to read of your life's journey. And your house...your house is just what I would have pictured for the new you. Really. The warmth, comfort, peace is all there is the photo. May your book signings be wonderful and you have safe travels. Please consider coming to the west side of Michigan for a book signing.

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  9. Wow Melissa!! That is an AWESOME picture of you in the fall, first thing in the morning. Such beauty XO

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  10. Thank you for sharing your pain. I too thanks to my mother have inherited her migraines. To add to it, I was in a horrific accident when I was 10 thanks to a drunk driver. With all my facial and internal injuries they missed the whip lash. So it went untreated. I was in another accident when I was on my way to court to get sole custody of my kids and got whip lash again. The migraines have been bad all my life. I am now 48 and have had enough. Thanks to your tweets it gave me some hope. Seeing my doc next week!! Wish me luck!!!

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  11. I wish more celebs would show their natural faces more often. It seriously makes me feel 100x better about my own aging skin when I see that the "beautiful people" really do look normal underneath!
    Glad you are pain free (or close to it) now!! Thanks for sharing your story here!

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    1. That was a lot of exclamation points in that comment. I probably need to back off the coffee. :)

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  12. You're so close to Wisconsin now... how about a tour stop over here sometime soon!!

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  13. Your observations are fascinating and refreshing! I especially enjoyed your comments about the polar vortex and winter driving skills since I am a transplant to the Midwest from the South.

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  14. So glad that the migraine procedures are helping! I've suffered through them myself and... yeah, not fun. You are 100% right that casual, non-plastic faces are ALWAYS better. You look absolutely fantastic, so I hope you don't ever feel the need to botox it up again. There's definitely no need.

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  15. Looking forward to reading your book to my kids! Keep us posted and hopefully Murfreesboro, TN (or close to it) will be one of your stops on your book tour! :)

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  16. Love the winter photos! Just discovered your blog today and read your earlier posts. I'm curious about how the bio-identical hormone therapy is going. I've been taking bio-identical progesterone for a few years and it's definitely helped stabilize my spiky estrogen, but now low thyroid, iron and D are complicating things. Have always said women need one of those contraptions you dip into a swimming pool to check the chemical balance. We need that for ourselves so we can fix it before it gets out of hand waiting for a Dr. appt! Anyway, let us know when you have time. Good luck on the book tour!

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    1. Oh, glad to know you've got an action plan for the migraines! Will be showing this to a friend who's had trouble and can't deal with life on Topomax anymore...

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    2. Teresa, my thyroid tested fine but my D was low so I take a super D along with a DHEA supplement.the thyroid and D are easy fixes with supplements. Ask your doc!

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    3. I am glad for you that you can find relief from those blasted migraines...I have had them for years and had never gotten complete relief from them. At the present, I am in nursing school at the ripened age of 46 and could use more definitive answers in regard to dealing with them. I am happy for you that you have found happiness in your new home. At first they thought it was my thyroid too, but that is under control with the appropriate supplements. Oh, and by the way, I am looking forward to getting your new book; it is cool to see new avenues of creativity emerging :) Most of my time has my face imbedded in a nursing textbook, but I will get to enjoy some recreational reading soon at the end of the semester...maybe on the plane to Florida for spring break.
      Peace, Kristina Vernon

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  17. Much prettier the natural way, thank you for sharing, #inspired

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  18. Hi Melissa,
    Love the pics! Your house is very pretty. I am a fellow Michigander and took lots of photos myself. You are right, Spring will be even more glorious this year!
    So glad you are getting the help you need with your health issues. Bless you!!

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  19. I completely understand about the migraines. I have suffered from migraines for many many years and one of my migraines caused me to pass out as a 41 yo women with a husband and 3 grown children and when I came too I was a 26 yo young lady with a husband and 3 small babies. The doctors a baffled, they have NO idea what happened, but this happened in 2008 and I still have not regained that memory. I take a preventative migraine medicine that works 96% of the time, but when I do get a migraine I am scared to death what may happen. You look AMAZING and I am so glad you are doing well. You are my favorite actress and have been since you were Laura Ingall's eventually (Wilder). God Bless and keep up with the blog.

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  20. Such a pretty house you chose. I love the history of Howell, like any old history and I love their historical houses. I actually thought of you during this frigid, snowy weather and wondered how an LA girl is holding up. Glad to know you actually enjoy it. Also glad that you did not have a pipe burst, as we did. Oh well, first time in 18 years so I can't complain. I don't do twitter but would sure love to know when your book signings around here are. Is your facebook public? Btw, I'm really enjoying your biography book. I don't get much time to read so it's taking me a while to get it read but am very much enjoying it. So glad you are finding relief from those migraines. I have them as well because of fibromyalgia. No fun. Take good care and God Bless!

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  21. Melissa, seeing our weather, our seasons...our little town of Howell through your eyes is absolutely refreshing. I just turned 50 myself a few months back and long-lost somewhere in my accumulating years was that child-like love of accumulating snow. I remember well the excitement which fell from those wintry skies back when my pajamas had feet. I remember gathering around the radio; tuned in to good ol' AM760-WJR while they rattled-off the list of school closings. The list was alphabetical and our school name began with an S - it the longest 5 minutes a kid ever had to live through! The excitement would build and then we'd hear the name we were waiting for. And we couldn't eat our Coco Wheats fast enough because there was a winter wonderland laying just outside our back door. Snow angels, snowball fights, snow forts, sledding hills...but as I got older, it all just turned to slush and iced-over windshields. I guess it took a kid from LA to awaken that child-like wonder.
    Thanks for sharing your perspective, your words are not wasted here. And I must say that I enjoy your writing style, I hope you'll find the time to keep it going. By the way, I think I own the title of the least consistent blogger ;-)

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    1. I am SO there with you on remembering what it was like as kids. I am 50 also, and live in Lansing. But I'm from a rural village, Wacousta. It's time we got to enjoy winter again! (But the old bones protest too much). LOL

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  22. A little slideshow/video thingy I did of our January 5th winter storm - some scenes from around Howell & the surrounding countryside taken during & after the storm:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B5RFB93kv0

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  23. Glad you are enjoying the fresh air here in Michigan, said this Air Quality Division (DEQ) employee. I'm a huge fan of your writing. Can't wait for a book signing. I am familiar with your acting but I suppose I associate the acting with the first "artificial" portrait photo you posted in this blog. I much prefer the second one, by the way. Congratuations on being pain-free, even if it's temporary. I get migraines, too, and have spinal bone spurs that hit my nerves. But life goes on, ooblah-deeblah-dah. Looking forward to more writing of yours in the future. Take care!

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    1. By the way, Melissa, I think this is the first winter they've used the term "polar vortex." I think it's a little silly myself. We always just called it "a bad winter" or a "hard winter." They come and go.

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    2. Exactly, Lorraine! This naming of every storm system that goes through seems kind of silly. Just a way to sensationalize the weather. This winter definitely is one for the books, though. About beat the blizzard of '78! I'm enjoying spring, for sure. (as temps are now dropping, with snow expected tonight. Oh well). Normal MI weather).

      Welcome to our beautiful state of Michigan, Melissa! Always something new to see and experience!

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  24. Thanks, much better then your facebook, its all you. Love it.

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  25. Hi Melissa, I wrote the screenplay for Christmas Pageant and it was a real treat to see you in that role. I wondered if you might have time to do a brief Q & A for my blog (via email), it focuses on family entertainment. Here's a link: http://valenti29.wordpress.com/ Thanks and Happy New Year.

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  26. Hi Melissa....who knew that Michigan would hold so many wonderful blessings for you! So glad you're feeling so much better. I personally love the 2nd picture...you look like a real Michigan gal there. Make up free and happy! Just wait till you're able to enjoy heading up north during the summer. You will love it! Have fun with the book tour...can't wait to hear when your local dates will be!

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  27. oh I really wish you would go see my friends who are chiropractors in Howell, MI. Restored Lifd Health Center. 517-507-4343. Dr Tim and Kelly Milano DC i have a c6-c7 fusion from a horse accident. After seeing them I no longer have the headaches!!!

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  28. Waving to you from Indiana -- I love the all natural Melissa! Awesomeness!!!

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  29. Welcome to Michigan from an All Michigan Girl. I am happy that your husband has brought you to live in our wonderful state. I was a Spartan so I know East Lansing well although I was raised and spent most of my life in the Livonia/Plymouth area. You'll have to come up and see our beautiful corner of the state in the Little Traverse Bay area (Petoskey/Harbor Springs). Our views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding forested hills are breathtaking. My husband and I moved up here when he retired a few years back. Talk about winters! We have it with snow to spare this year.

    Again, welcome from our little chalet in "da woods" to your lovely Victorian home in a classic town. May you find all you look for in the next years.

    Suzanne Azure Greer
    Harbor Springs, MI

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  30. Welcome to Howell. So excited that you and your husband chose to make it your home. I did the same thing in 1999. Something about Howell spoke to me and it reminded be of my origins in Texas. Love your honesty. Very refreshing. Tried Botox several times too but gave it up. My face felt plastic.

    If you are looking for a good family doctor, I recommend Dr. Paula Berlin at Brighton Family Physicians. She is a truely awesome doctor.

    Take care and hope to see you and your family around town sometime.

    Angela Brown
    Howell, MI

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  31. Melissa....I am a Michigan mom and teacher. I grew up in Milford not far at all from where you are now. At 41...I also grew up with you on Little House on the Prairie. I am so happy that you have found peace, health and happiness right here in beautiful Michigan! It is a wonderful place and every person who comes here and spreads the word helps our state to thrive.

    I teach 1st grade at Brookside Lower School at Cranbrook. If you are ever bored (doubtful I know) :) I have an amazing group of 1st graders writers who would love to learn from a talented author.

    Best wishes and continued health!

    April
    Beverly Hills, MI

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  32. Hi Melissa, I just wanted to drop a note to say you look great. We are about the same age (my big 5-0 is in Nov). I was with a group of girlfriends last week and while one was going through her list of procedures, I pulled up a picture of Diane Keaton at the Golden Globes. Gorgeous, gray and natural.They thought I was insane for thinking she looked so beautiful. I'm all for doing what makes you feel your best ( did I mention I want a tummy tuck?), but the plastic faces of aging Hollywood confound me. Good for you for being so authentic. Enjoy this chapter of your life. It sounds like your realizing how great simplicity can be. Ellen

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  33. Welcome to Michigan, Melissa! The change of seasons is really a blessing that most of us Michiganders don't realize. We really do learn to appreciate not only the change of weather but change of seasons in our lives as well. If you get a chance check out the gym/ wellness studio I go to www.amtbf.com (Total Being Fitness -Creating Balance). They take a "total being" approach to health and fitness and may be able to help with your pain and migraine issues. I know this sounds like a plug for them but I'm one of the "before and after" video testimonials on the site and really believe in what they do and sincerely feel they can help with any health issue! Lisa

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  34. Oh my...where do I begin??? I just found out that you moved to my husband's hometown!!! He grew up on an 80 acre farm just NE of Downtown Howell. The original home was built in the 1850's. They raised cattle and chickens to help feed their 11 children. Kind of reminds me of Little House on the Prairie! Then I found your blog...and felt like I was chatting with my old school friend <3 Welcome to my home...well I was born in West Michigan...married my college sweetheart, whom I met at MSU...Go Green! Then we spent the first 10 years of our marriage 10 minutes away from Howell in a smaller town called Webberville. You truly inspired me to read the Little House on the Prairie books...over and over...I felt like I knew you as a close friend...even though I am a few months older. I couldn't wait to watch your show and continue to watch re-runs with my children! You were awesome on Dancing with the stars and I admire your perseverance through your pain and injuries. Reading your blog is so warm and personal. I can't wait to read your new book! I am so happy for you, that you have found what truly brings joy in life and I hope that you will continue to be amazed in Michigan. We live in Holland Michigan, along the lakeshore, You would Love our beautiful beaches! There are many small, quaint towns along Lake Michigan...you would just love, with unique shops and yummy restaurants. It might inspire you to write another story...just like Frank Baum. You are always invited to visit us in Holland! Blessings to you and your family!

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  35. Love your most recent natural photo. It is an amazing story of how your decision to move to Howell has led you to a pain free life. The beauty and contrast of this against the photos of cold and black ice are remarkable.
    I hope you are able to connect with the owners of Tuesday Books in Williamston (just west of Howell) for a book signing of Daisy and Josephine. Safe travels!

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  36. Welcome to the neighborhood! So happy that you've found a place to enjoy some freedom and anonymity from what you're used to ;) Michigan driver pro-tip=carry a bag of salt or cat litter in your vehicle in case you get stuck where there's little/no cell phone service. Also, check out some of the recreational areas just south of you in the Pinckney area. There's a ton of quiet spots to just hang out in nature and enjoy the views! Just take bug spray, lol

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  37. Nice to see you out and about. i grew up in Byron--that really small town north of Howell--moved off the farm and here 10 years ago to be closer to the grandkids. We see you, but we don't rush up--although I was tempted to yell, "Half-Pint" the other day. We just want you to feel relaxed. Maybe you can travel up north and see the real beauty of Michigan--the UP is gorgeous any time of year.

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  38. Welcome to Michigan!! I too came to Michigan from Los Angeles. My parents moved here when I was 12. I live in Zeeland (may be smaller than Howell) on the west side of the state. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else than Michigan. I too love the 4 seasons and the differences that each season brings. If you ever want a tour of Lake Michigan with a great BBQ dinner look me up in Zeeland!!

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  39. Welcome to Michigan Melissa. So glad you have joined us:)
    Please feel free to drop by and follow my blog (looking for a way to follow you:( )
    Thank you for sharing your story! My SIL has similar pain issues, I will pass along the link to her!

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  40. Welcome to Michigan! Beautiful house, even in the polar vortex. This is my blog, but I have become VERY bad at posting. http://curlyscorner-sandy.blogspot.com/

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  41. Congratulations on not just surviving, but enjoying, the worst winter we've had since 1978! I had been wondering how you'd fare with the sub-zero temps and large snow accumulations, so was glad to see your long-awaited blog update. You had quite a harsh welcome to your first Michigan winter!

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  42. Melissa, i love your old victorian home! It's absolutely beautiful. I'm so glad you are adjusting well to the snow and cold. Driving in the snow has always scared me and i grew up with snow and learned how to drive on it. I enjoy the pics that you post on this blog. You are amazing! Leslie Jean

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  43. Oh, Melissa, I was delighted to find this post and discover your love of Michigan. I split my time between Chicago and Fennville, but haven't been able to get to Michigan for months because of the blizzards. So happy to see you thriving there.

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  44. Your new home look beautiful! I am totally wintered out. We need spring asap.

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  45. Thank you for sharing your story and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed LHOP as a child (and still do as an adult)...just LOVED it!!

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  46. love your honesty about aging :) I love the freedom that comes (hopefully) in your 40's as in this is who I am, like it or get lost, that you feel as you age, just not so much what gravity is doing to my body and face :) ha! adding you to my blog roll.

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  47. You look fabulous - I love the picture of the real you. I grew up in Hell, Michigan and went to Pinckney High School. Spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor and Detroit. It is a beautiful place to live!

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  48. love you, your house, your honesty, loved "Little House", will love your new book....what a wonderful normal life living in the old house.....and how amazing just being able to be your self....natural, beautiful, just enjoy being who you are.....a new follower....

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  49. Your blog is fantastic - please don't stop writing. I have been missing Roger Ebert's personal blog so much, but yours is a wonderful replacement!

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  50. Hi. Have you been to Minnesota or Minnesnowta?! We are having so much snow that there's no place to put it! Piles as high or higher than we are tall! You looked Beautiful in the picture all made up! But it's also nice to see what a person "really" looks like without all the dazzle! I didn't know you got remarried. Was it recently? Nice chatting with you! Last of all, I enjoyed Little House as well as the Lifetime movies you've been in very much! Anymore coming soon?! :)

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  51. I love your house!!! I would like to see more photos when you are ready to share! :-)

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  52. Welcome to Michigan! We live close by in Chelsea. You really got welcomed with a whopper of a winter this year!
    I'm sorry you have been dealing with chronic pain but am glad you have it under control. I look forward to reading more on your blog.

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  53. Totally in love with the house! Not with the snow, though! We've had no snow, but lots of winter storms here on the coast of Brittany. I love that candid picture of you a lot better than the perfect one.

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  54. Melissa - welcome to Michigan! I am not far south here in Ann Arbor. How fun to have stumbled on your blog through a post on Hooked on Houses. I completely agree that the rough winter will make for a glorious spring! I can't wait. As I read your entry, I was really happy to read about your positive experience with MHNI. So glad you are finding relief. My husband gets migraines and I had peripherally read about MHNI, so this will prompt me to look into it again. Luckily, his are not as frequent as yours, but the seasonal changes can be brutal for him. Finally, had to comment on your second picture (which is a great shot) I totally did a double-take as you look exactly like one of my neighbors :) I look forward to reading your blog!
    Carol

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  55. Hi! Someone recommended your blog, and I love that you "keep it real," as we used to say in the 80s. I hope you post again soon!

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  56. Ageing with grace .. what a new old concept that has come full circle; welcome to the club :) So happy to read you are content in your new surroundings .. you are blessed. Blogging is a great outlet.

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  57. THANK you for sharing your headache story . . . my husband has suffered for SO many years - has tried just about everything. He is hard to treat because he is medication sensitive. We live in Washington State - but I think a trip to MHNI would be so worth it! He has had a couple of doctors that gave him such high powered, horrible drugs and that's just not for him. Your story gave me a glimmer of hope . . . I'm so glad that you are getting some relief! **and I think you look so much prettier naturally:)

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  58. First time here at your blog......I am so happy for you that you have found a treatment that works for you! You look so happy in the last photo of you.....and much better w/o the filler!!!!!

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  59. I am so glad I found your blog, and I am so glad you have found health, peace and happiness. I look forward to your updates.

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  60. Loved the picture of the real you - you do look like you are from this part of the country now! Sorry to hear about your migraines but glad you are finally getting some treatment. A friend recommended your blog because I love all things Little House. Now I see that you are an author of children's books too! Wow - I will be looking for your book.

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  61. love your honesty and transparency. there's no use keeping a blog if one isn't true to himself and to others. what you said is really, about happiness being the secret of beauty. inner beauty will always radiate on your face, give you that inner and outer glow!

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  62. Welcome to Michigan, Melissa. Love the new house and cannot wait to see more pictures! How fun to read your blog, I've always been a big fan. -Sarah http//www.theyellowcapecod.com

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  63. You are lovely without any fuss. Welcome to MI, I hope you and your husband (I have a little crush on him by the way) will be very happy here in our little town. Good luck on your book tour.

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  64. Hi Melissa, I have to tell you that when I found your blog I was so surprised. I am a 48 year old mother, wife and writer. I have my own blog www.leeshideaway.blogspot.com and my book was just published called The Shoebox by Lisa Mercado-Fernandez (shameless plug) Anyway, I have had a small bond with you without your knowledge and I've always wanted to tell you (Not that that would make a difference to you or not, but I wanted to share it because you gave me a little healing at the hardest point of my life.) When My youngest was born, Jan 16 1996 Matt was born with a double outlet right ventricle, venticular septal defect. In laymans terms, he had a hole in his heart. We almost lost him because in the time we were waiting for him to have surgery (3 months) he went into cardiac failure 3 times and (not arrest, you know when organs are shutting down and baby gets lethargic) and contacted RSV. He was in an oxygen tent, the whole thing. Well during that time while he was in the NIc U and we were practically living there, People Magazine came out with your story on your son and his lung problem and how you rested him against your chest so that he could feel your heart and strengthen and heal. As I sat in the rocking chair next to my babies covered incubator I rocked and read your article and during a time when I felt so alone (even though my husband was there but he had to eventually travel to NYC to go to work) your story, and knowing that in California, you were there going through the same thing, gave me a sense of healing. I knew I wasn't alone, that other mother's were facing this kind of pain and fear and that I could find strength. I still have that people magazine in a box with my things from the hospital. A few years back (my husband is a film producer ) we went to a DGA/SAG event in NYC and you were there speaking on the microphone and I so wanted to go up to you but didn't get the chance. I"m so glad I was able to send you this on your blog and perhaps you might get to read it. I also want to congratulate you on marrying such an amazing guy. (He will always be Elliot Weston to me. My favorite tv show on the planet, best writing ever and ensemble)
    Anyway, I live in Bucks County, PA. We have an old farmhouse too that we renovated and yes we went through the polar vortex. Ugh I still have snow. Awful. Anway, Thank you Melissa, hope you follow my blog or take a peek.
    God bless and may you and your family find happiness and strength, joy and peace in every day. And yes, you do not need botox. You look fantastic!
    Love
    Lisa Mercado-Fernandez
    Say hi to Elliot . . . hee hee (Timothy of course)

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  65. I'm also a West Coast transplant, from Portland to Michigan. Absolutely LOVE it here and have absolutely NO desire to go back, not even to visit. My husband and I and our entire family moved to Livonia near Detroit 3 years ago. A true midlife adventure for my hubby and me, as we were both 57 when we moved. We have never regretted our decision, as we're here with our kids and grandkids. Life can't get much better than that. Blessings to you...hope you end up loving it here as much as we do.

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  66. Hi Melissa. Just discovered your blog by way of another blog called Hooked on houses. I also heard a short interview with you on the radio. I loved this posting although I'm sorry to hear that you've been almost a life long sufferer of migraines. Welcome to Michigan. Glad to hear that you are getting help from an excellent clinic. We have some excellent hospitals and clinics in our state. You are beautiful with or without makeup. I'm curious about your book Daisy and Josephine. Your little dog is adorable. Hope you're enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle in Michigan even though we've had the most snow on record. Spring and summer will eventually get here. There are so many beautiful little lakeside towns to visit in Michigan. Hopefully you can also visit the upper peninsula. We call the folks who live up there yoopers and they call us trolls because we live below the mackinaw bridge. Have you been to Chelsea and the Purple Rose Theater? It's a little gem not far from Ann Arbor. Love your house and the quint little town you live in. We go downtown for coffee and lunch sometimes. We have several friends that live out your way. Michigan truly is a beautiful state. If you're near some of the larger cities in our state there is a phrase that there are two seasons in Michigan, winter and construction. I'm sure you've heard all about the potholes that we get from all the salt and plow trucks. I hope you'll be very happy here. It sounds like you already like the slower pace of life (unless you're fighting traffic) especially in Ann Arbor. I made that drive very year for 18 years until I retired last year from UM. Maybe I'll see you at one of your book signings. Wishing you the very best.

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  67. Welcome to Michigan! I hope you learn to love this state as much as I do!

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  68. So lovely to see the "real" you! I grew up watching you on Little House and I love that you have this platform to just be yourself. Happiness is beautiful and you are glowing. I also had the fusion in my neck after a serious car accident. The migraines are there, but not as often as yours. Please keep blogging- I enjoy your stories of life and home :)

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  69. Hi! Is there a way to get an autographed copy of your upcoming book by mail? My girlfriend is a huge "Little House on the Prairie" fan and her 40th birthday is coming up. I'd love to purchase an autographed copy for her - she would love it! If it's possible, please drop me a note cs at instructing.com. Thank you so much!

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  70. Thanks so much for posting about the beauty of Michigan. The cold, snowy, treacherous road Michigan is awesome. Get stuck in a snow bank and you get to meet some wonderful people. Thank God that doesn't happen much to me. So many people grumble about the weather. I say, thank God you woke up and can see, smell, feel, and hear another day. Enjoy Melissa! Oh, and don't expound to much about how wonderful it is here to your LA friends. I don't know if they would appreciate our down home sensibilities, although God knows they need some.

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  71. Melissa, I just found your blog and read it in its entirety. I, too, grew up watching Little House and loving Laura. I'm a fan of Sara's too. I find your blog very refreshing and I love your sharing your "Hollywood" photo as contrasted with your natural photo. You are beautiful and I love the authentic way in which you present yourself on your blog. I'm glad you've found happiness and are on your way to healing. I've dealt with debilitating illness off and on for the last 30 years, and so think I understand some of what you are going through. It sounds like you are on a very good path. I'm glad! Be happy, and please keep posting!

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  72. I grew up in the Upper Penninsula (you should go, it's lovely) but spent some time in Southern California. I used to say that SoCal was the absence of weather. In five years, I never got used to it. I'm now in the south on the other side of the county (I married a Marine), but my heart and soul ache for the midwest. The air is different. I adore the change of seasons.

    Enjoy your Michigan adventure!

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  73. Hi Melissa! I, too, am a patient at MHNI. I began going in Oct. 2013 and after 20 years of migrains (starting in my teens and very debilitating the last few years), they have given me my life back! I cannot speak highly enough about them!

    As well as all of the others, I've always been a devoted fan of Little House. :) Even to this day watching re-runs with my kids! What a wonderful show!

    Thanks for the new outlook on Michigan winters, because I often dream of living somewhere else.....somewhere like California......it will never happen, but your perspective will help me through this cold and appreciate what I have here!

    You're a sweetheart! I look forward to grabbing a copy of your new book! The best to you!

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  74. Had non-stop migraines for 5 years. Multiple doctors. No relief. Finally went to MHNI...Dr. Saper originated at U of M, BTW...and after a 2-week in-hospital stay at MHNI's unit at Chelsea, they found I had a serotonin imbalance. Two years of an off-books medication later...no more migraines! Hope you find similar good luck. Good doctors @ MHNI. Welcome to MI. and best wishes. Have lived here my whole life & not that far from Howell...Clarkston, a north Oakland suburb. Can be a very peaceful existence, especially in retirement. Enjoy!

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  75. BTW, just saw you 'roast' Michael Landon on a vintage 'Dean Martin Man of the Hour' DVD...and, like him, you were & are a class act.

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  78. Hello,

    I have started a Family Theater Company in Shiawassee county, MI. We are soon auditioning for a production of "Little House on the Prairie" that will be performed May 9 & 10 in Williamston. I just heard that you recently moved to Michigan. I would like to invite you to possibly make an appearance if you would. It would be huge for our small community and you would be able to show your support of the arts. You can check out our web page at www.ourtownfamilytheater.com or facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ourtownfamilytheater?ref=hl

    thank you,

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  79. Thank you for bringing back my enthusiasm and love for this state. I too recently moved here, back actually, from the south. This Polar Vortex has had me rethinking the decision. But I made a promise to myself that I would do more here and experience all it has to offer. Welcome and I hope you are able to do the same.....when you can actually get OUT of your driveway.

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  80. Welcome to Michigan. So much for you and family to explore in this wonderful state. Despite the economy, Michiganders are survivors. You count yourself a Michigander when you start using your hand as a map to point out locations! I am from the Thumb so that's an easy one. Some of the beautiful places I've visited here are the tip of the Keeweenaw peninsula in the Upper Peninsula. Looking over Lake Superior is truly breathtaking. The cleanest air ever is up there. Also a visit to Traverse CIty is in order, esp during the Cherry Festival. Midland is a small town cultural center with many beautiful churches and architecture. Home to Alden B Dow who was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Check out Dow Gardens and take a tour of his house. He has passed on but I fortunate enough to meet him as a college student and he was a warm and welcoming man. Also to put on your busy calendar is the PLymouth Art Festival. Not as large as the one in Ann Arbor but set in center of town around the town park. Welcoming and fun with great eateries. A trip to a park lakeside near Port Huron will show the freighters on Lake Huron. And, one of my favorites, the Tall Ships that come into Bay City over the summer. These are schooners and are amazing and beautiful old time ships with all the masts and rigging. You can even take a tour of one. So much in this fantastic state to see. Enjoy your new hometown. May you have the peace and serenity you need! Karen Batzer, Bad Axe MI. Yes that's the name of this town, it's a whole story....I'm originally from Midland.

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  81. Welcome to Howell ! I just discovered your blog today and thoroughly enjoyed all your comments. Now that the polar vortex has taken a hike we can look forward to the Howell Farmers Market....a sure sign of warmer weather! It's a fun place to shop , people watch, and meet up with friends. Hope to see you and your family enjoying life in Howell.

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  82. Never in my life would I have thought Michigan's air was "clean". Thanks for bringing it into perspective. :)

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  83. Welcome to Michigan Melissa, I was so excited to hear that you moved to our state. I have lived here my whole life of 57 years, I grew up near Lansing but have lived in Midland for 20 years now. I hope you enjoy and love living here. You will never know what the weather will be like, but I can tell you to hang around it changes often. There is so much to see and visit, so much to explore and lots of adventure and so much history to learn in Michigan and it is a beautiful state. I have truly loved watching you in your movies, mostly Little House on which I have all the DVD's but watch it daily on TV. I know what it is like to be in pain and I hope it gets better for you. I was in a car accident in 1984 when a girl ran a stop sign and hit us. I have damage to my neck, back and screws in my knees that now have arthritis. But I love adventure, exploring and getting out so I try not to let the daily pain get to me to much. I keep exercising and keep my weight down, eat correctly and that helps a lot. Maybe we will bump into each other sometime somewhere around Michigan. :)

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  84. Just checking to say Happy Birthday :) Enjoy your day!
    Kristina

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  85. Happy Birthday Melissa :) I hope your day is wonderful and Blessed!!! Looks like a beautiful day here in Holland...80 degrees just in time for Tulip Time! Come visit :)

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  86. Happy Birthday. A nice sunny day for you to enjoy.

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  87. You are going to absolutely love Michigan for its beautiful summers and many places to visit and enjoy. Last year it was really hot all summer and it started out hot right from Spring. Most of us spent the season indoors but I want you to know with a little cold iced tea and an afternoon out on a shaded patio with a little breeze, you will weather it just fine. BTW, I love your vintage style and the way you set up your home. Everything in there is just beautiful. Enjoy all the great antique shopping around your area and make sure you get up to the Leelanau Peninsula if you can..there you will find the lakeside shopping and vacationing to be the best on the planet. Take care now and welcome to our beautiful state!

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