Many of you already know that Alex has Bipolar Disorder, and that it's not of the "lite" variety. Without continuous medication, he would be unable to function, or enjoy much quality of life at all. It's no laughing matter. At the same time, the medications that save your sanity have some pretty harsh side effects, which further contribute to many bipolar people being resistant to taking them. In fact, it's widely accepted that fewer than 20% of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are even capable of having the insight to recognize that they do, in fact, have a disease--and that is PART OF THE DISEASE, to deny its own existence. Those are some hard statistics, folks. We are very "lucky" (That word is hard for me to write, because this illness is hideous, ugly, and terrible. Understand that I use it only in the context of people with bipolar disorder.) that Alex is one of those "fewer than 20%." Even so, if he happened to somehow hit the manic phase of the cycle without medication, he would quickly lose that insight for the duration of the manic episode. It's just not pretty or EVER easy, is what I'm saying.
And my point? Getting to it. Way back in December, Alex had to discontinue one of the mood stabilizers in his treatment "cocktail"--a cocktail which was working for him very, very well. It was killing his thyroid gland, you see--so much so that he's been on thyroid replacement medication ever since. And since then, his doctor has been unable to hit upon any treatment combination that is comparably successful, and he's been suffering the effects of inadequate medication. He had a very rough spring, and is going through a similarly difficult patch even now. And HERE'S THE POINT: My husband--my smart, strong, capable husband--is not just bearing up bravely under this burden that he never asked for; he is KICKING ITS BUTT. Understand that I am NOT saying "he's doing fine even without proper medication," because I'm NOT. Oh, Lord, no. Bipolar disorder cannot be overcome by sheer force of will--if only. But I am saying that he is holding up to the enormous pressures of me being ill, having a house to work on and sell, picking up my slack in our current household, and just doing the regular 9-to-5, all while suffering the harsh effects of a significant illness himself, and he is not just "holding up," but shining through.
Can you get behind that, people? Give him a high-five, my "stud-muffin" husband. Alex, I love and appreciate you, more than you can imagine. Thank you for being so much tougher than me.
MY HEALTH: Not great. I am in enough pain now that I pretty much stay rolled up in a wad in my bed most of the day. Interesting thing is that now, it's not the regular endo pain that is disabling me; it's G.I. pain. I dread eating, and mostly avoid it, because it just hurts too much. The only way I can eat anything is to have several Lomotil first, and even then I pay a price. The upside of this is that I've lost close to 10 pounds in the last week. And hey, it's not like I'm in any danger of wasting away. I hope to hear soon just what the doctors here think they will be able to do for me. The only thing I know for sure will happen is the hysterectomy. My prayer, and yours, if you're so inclined, is that there's not a bunch of endometrial growth on my bowel, because, honestly? I'm terrified of the risk of incidental colostomization during bowel surgery. So let's avoid that, eh, God? Please.
WEATHER: Good gosh, it's hot. And the Humidity Pods are out in full force. You all know I love Arkansas, but this is the time of year when I could be talked into relocating to British Columbia without much trouble. But we have a huge thunderstorm coming through tonight, which hopefully translates to a much cooler weekend. Like, you know, mid-90's.
BLOGHER: It's official: I can't go. I mean, please--I can't keep myself in an upright position for more than 20 minutes at a time or hold down any appreciable amounts of nourishment, so a cross-country trip and 2 days of revelry and fellowship is just beyond me. And I'm assuming that our tickets are non-refundable (Right? If that's not the case, someone please let me know, because we could really use that money.), so I'll be happy to donate mine to a deserving BlogHer. Just drop me a line at ninjapoodles at gmail dot com. And also important to consider, the considerable folly of the cost of such a trip at a time when we still haven't sold our other house and are making two mortgage payments. Hello, adult responsibilities! You suck!
So, I'm counting on all of you who do get to go: Someone PLEASE get Arianna Huffington's autograph for me, stalk Alice and then throw yourself prostrate at her feet in my honor, sit on JenB's lap, and lick Mocha at least once. And if Erin flashes her boobs, AVERT YOUR EYES. That's what I'd do. And please, PLEASE...keep me updated. I will be curled in a wad, clutching my laptop, looking for live updates from the conference all next weekend. Don't let me down.
DOGS: Can I just say how thrilled I am that so many of the suckers--er, Respected Members of the Impulse Poodles Family who have our puppies are blogging about the experience? It is just such a wonder, this Internet. I love you, Internet! And I'm grateful to have been blessed with such great homes for each one of these pups. I know that the way most breeders do this is to have all their puppies out the door at 8 to 10 weeks of age, but WOW, can I ever not do that. In the first place, it takes me a few months to figure out which ones I want to keep to show for myself. And beyond that, the actual act of letting them go? Excruciating. I've yet to be able to bring myself to advertise, instead relying on word-of-mouth, and of course that slows things down. But honestly, every home we've found so far has just been such an amazing, "meant-to-be" act of Divine Providence, that I do not in ANY way regret hanging onto these furbabies for a longer period of time than is "normal." Now that the adorable "Tate," henceforth to be formally known as "Impulse What About Bob," is in his new digs in Chicago, we're left with only one beautiful black girl to place in a pet home. We won't have any more puppies here until probably late 2007 or early 2008, so it's been kind of nice to take our time placing these three.
ENTERTAINMENT: Having a lot of time in bed means a lot of reading and television and movies. I might as well pass on some finds.
Books--The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, by A. J. Jacobs. Jacobs is not the best writer in the world, but he's not trying to be. If you enjoy the "conversational" way that many blogs are written, you'll appreciate his style well enough. I read a good deal of this book, which chronicles the author's attempt to read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, out loud for Alex's benefit on our trip to Tennessee, and we were cracking up at the intellectual rivalry between A. J. and his overly erudite brother-in-law. This one is just fun, and worth the time, and maybe a nice choice for folks who aren't normally "big readers."
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life, by Amy Tan. I'm just a huge fan, and when one of my favorite authors writes some non-fiction that is somewhat autobiographical, I tend to geek out a little. This book is a treasure.
The Well of Lost Plots: A Thursday Next Novel, by Jasper Fforde. The latest in the series of mystery-stories-set-within-other-books, featuring literary detective Tuesday Next. If you are a "book person," I can't tell you how delightful you'll find these books. They're impossibly difficult to describe, so just trust me and try one. You don't have to read them in order.
And a BIG dishonorable mention to The Devil Wears Prada, by Lauren Weisberger. I could write a huge post all about how terrible this book is. Easily one of the worst books I've ever finished, right up there with The Bridges of Madison County. Why finish it, you ask? Good question. I think that the whole of this novel's appeal lies in the gossipy, roman-a-clef nature of the story. The context of the story is interesting, if that makes sense--who isn't fascinated by, and likely digusted at the excess of, the world of high fashion? There is a voyeuristic appeal to it. But the thing is just SO poorly written. I could waste a LOT of time quoting passages from it, to show you, but take my word for it, this thing sucks eggs. I'm not saying it might not be good for passing the time at the beach or on an airplane or something, just that it is so incredibly badly written that you will be distracted from the bad story BY the bad writing. It's that bad. Did I mention "bad?" Weisberger's syntax and style fall into what I will forevermore refer to, at least inside my head, and the "tilted puppy" style of writing, thanks to promising new blogger (and GOOD writer) Lauren--no relation--and her Epistolary Blog. Heck, I'll even quote Lauren here, writing of her experience attending a reading by author Anthony Rapp:
"You read a passage which leads up to the death of Jonathan Larson, and I knew from the moment you described him as having “his head tilted to one side like a puppy” that I was in for some tardy tingles. Your simile, after all, is not only clichéd but also nonsensical, as it implies that puppies in their entirety, and not just their heads, are often tilted to one side."
Check Lauren out; she's worth the time, and don't be surprised if you find yourself adding her to your blogroll, like I did. It's definitely time better spent than if you were reading "Prada."
Movies: Pickings are slim, here. Obviously, I haven't gone OUT to any movies lately, because, hello? OUT? Nope. BUT, here are a couple of gems now available on DVD:
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang". Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer. *sigh* If you love movies, you can't NOT love this one. It breaks the fourth wall in an innovative and delightful manner, and the dialogue is snappy and clever and rapid-fire, like those great old high-pants-fast-talking movies of the 1940's. It's just a fantastically smart film, and one you really have to pay attention to--I love that. And yes, I have a tremendous soft spot for Downey ("Restoration," anyone?). He's a ferocious talent, struggling most of his life with bipolar disorder and addiction (they go hand-in-hand in as many as 65% of patients), and I root for him with all of my being with every film he makes. YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS MOVIE.
"Transamerica". Just good. Felicity Huffman's got some chops.
Television: I know WAY too much about what's on T.V. right now. Way. Too. Much. Try not to be sad for me. But if you have cable, and are bemoaning the lack of fresh network programming during the summer months, you do have some options.
"Psych". USA Network, Fridays. We're getting a kick out of this one, at least so far. It follows "Monk", which is also airing new episodes, and is still managing to keep us around, though it is getting a bit stale around the edges. I'm hoping for some renewed energy in "Monk" this season. Anyway, "Psych" is about a guy who, after being raised by a controlling cop/detective father (Corbin Bernsen), has developed extraordinary powers of observation, but because no one can believe that he's just that observant, he pretends to be psychic in order to solve crimes. Cute.
"Hell's Kitchen". FOX, Monday nights. Yeah, this is a network show, but I have a serious thing for Gordon Ramsay. Not as a sex symbol, as many people obviously see him, but as a chef. If you don't know this about me already, I'll admit to favoring great chefs with the type of adoration normally reserved for rock stars and famous actors. I've watched "Boiling Point" and "Beyond Boiling Point" on BBC America, as well as all the seasons of the fantastic (to me) "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares," in which Gordon takes on failing restaurants, figuring out why they're tanking and trying his best to set them aright before they go under forever. It's a fascinating look behind the scenes of running a restaurant. And every time he's abusing the "Hell's Kitchen" contestants, I can not help but think of our dear, intrepid cooking student at Poodlevania. I really hope she's not going through this kind of treatment! HK is easily my favorite television moment of the entire week right now, and I look forward to it with a near-rabid anticipation.
Eureka. Sci-Fi Channel, Tuesday nights. Only the pilot has aired so far, but it was intriguing enough that we've set our TiVo to record all upcoming episodes. Plot centers around a U.S. Marshall who finds himself assigned to the "secret" town of Eureka, which is home to a cadre of hyper-geek super-genius scientist/inventors who work for a mysterious, apparently government-funded "company," developing incredible machines that do seemingly impossible things...worth a look.
Flip This House. A&E, Sunday nights. This is my second season following the home-remodeling adventures of Richard and Ginger and the rest of the Trademark crew. I have NO idea why I'm so fascinated by this house-flipping, but dang it, I am. I can't look away. I love it when there is negotiating and haggling...the episode in which the landscaping contractor tried to convince Richard that he was paying each of his 20 migrant workers $20 an hour for their services was priceless. If you watch this show, you will most likely, like me, become convinced that you, too, could be a real estate speculating genius. Or not.
And that catches us up, for the most part, for now. *whew* I am so very sad about missing the BlogHer conference, after looking forward to it for almost a year. Please don't forget about me. *sniff, sniff*