Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hello, Who's There?

Just your future, no big deal. 

Today I am participating in the Link Up Andrea is doing about how you met your spouse.  And well, I've mentioned it before, but never done a full post on it. So here goes.

14 years ago I had just moved to North Carolina and was the asst gm of a minor league baseball team. I was single and the past two relationships I had been in involved professional athletes and I wanted nothing to do with anything of the sort going forward. 

One of the guys who worked for the team kept trying to set me up with anyone and everyone. This was in the winter before the season began so we had more time on our hands. I never accepted the offer and kept laughing him off until one night with bad weather and a few glasses of wine, I went along with it. As a prank. 

He told me that one of his good friends had gone on a date the previous week and to call and pretend to be her and mess with him ( This was in the whole pre cell phone era, or you know...ancient times) I found out he was a former football player...but now worked as an engineer. 

Anywasys...I call and he answers. We chit chat going back and forth for about ten minutes. I have her name and where they went out and such so just flying by the seat of my pants...for about ten minutes and he lays this diddly on me. 

"This has been fun and all but seriously who is this? I know you're not her. She is from England and you sound like you're from Alabama or somewhere"

Me...Crickets and death stare of all death stares to my friend. 

He starts laughing and I finally sputter out that it was a prank from his friend and I am sorry. He laughs and asks to speak to his friend. We get off and I go about my business. 

Til about a week later and I started thinking about him again. I decided to call him for some reason I am not even sure about.I (actually, to be honest...it was his voice. He has a crazy sexy one. and even now, everywhere we go, people comment on it and call him "the voice") I remember that it was a little after 9 at night when I called. He answered and I asked if he remembered me and he jokingly replied "How could I forget" 

We began talking and somehow talked and talked...and talked and the next thing I remember is him exclaiming "Holy Sh*t, it's 5 am and I have to leave for work in an hour" 

I had no idea what he looked like at this point but over the next few days we talked more and more and set up a plan for him to come hang out with his friend that introduced us. And obviously...me. 

The second I saw him, I breathed deep as his looks matched his voice. Sexy. Small favors in this game of life.
First year we dated

He was living in Boston still and over the next ten months we did long distance and split time visiting each other. Then the opportunity came that he was able to transfer to a project at Duke...

A year and a half later, I was working in the SID office at Duke ( I still do part time!) and one October day, he set the whole thing up and after a basketball practice, when Cameron Indoor was completely empty...popped the question. 

The people I work with tricked me and said I needed to be in there for team photos. I went in and the lights were dim and there was no one around. All of the sudden a banner fell from the stand that read

"Will you marry me, Madison?"

 I was like "oh my gosh, how sweet, some one is getting engaged"

And then it hit me..." Wait...I am Madison" (yea, yea. I know) and a side door opened and I heard footsteps clicking on the hardwood of the court and when I looked it was him with a rose and the ring. 

We got hitched the next summer at a 200 year old Bed and Breakfast on a plantation. In front of 350 of our friends and family. And a wedding party of 32 people. This is what happens when you marry someone who is half Italian half Lebanese.

We still live in Raleigh. I work part time in sports still. He is a project manager for a construction management firm. Duke is still his client and he was able to get his masters at Duke while working full time. 

This year will be 12 years of being hitched. We are on year 10 of infertility and have dealt with my PTSD and depression and still kicking it.  and so, I guess I'd say the prank call worked. Maybe you should answer when love call;)

And funny enough...that phone call happened the day after Presidents Day in 2001. So...14 years ago today, on the money. And whaddya know, our once a year bad weather is paying us a visit. I am having a few glasses of wine again, but this time I just call upstairs for love. I mean, how cheezy was that.

Linking up with Andrea.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Poma Pear Fizz

My husband and I are never really big into the whole Valentine's dinner. We certainly are not anti Valentines, and since this year falls on a weekend, we probably will do something.  I tend actually look forward to it more for fun with my girlfriends.  I love to create cocktails that can be used for girl nights and this one pairs love and cocktail quite well. 

Or I think so at least. 

I had some Berzenten Pear left and while thinking up what I could make for this years day of love, I knew I wanted to work the remainder of the pear liqueur into whatever I made. It is sweet and light and once I started coming up with ideas, pomegranate came to mind.  I also liked the idea of using frozen pomegranate seeds instead of ice. Just a small touch.

The result is simple and tasty. The favors play off of each other really well and I think this is a drink that will be perfect to make for a small gathering or a big batch. 

Hopefully you guys can find a reason to drink this...sooner rather than later!

Poma Pear Fizz

3 oz pomegranate juice
1 oz pear liqueur
1/2 oz triple sec
sparkling wine
pomegranate seeds(frozen)

Put juice, pear liqueur, triple sec and ice in a shaker and shake vigorously. In a glass, place the frozen seeds and pour juice mixture over the seeds and top with champagne.

linking up with Kristin

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sweet Victory

This weekend was packed full of good times! And it went by so quickly. 

Friday night I got in late and just went low profile, ate thin mints and watched Banshee. And slept in. 

Saturday, we had a blogger meet up in downtown Raleigh at Sitti. It was nice to meet more bloggers from our area and to put faces with instagrams. Can't wait to get together with these ladies again! 

Afterwards, Nicole and I met up with our husband's to continue our night on the town. We had cocktails at Common 414, Fox Liquor Bar and then a place I can't remember. It was so loud it clouded all memories of the place. Except I do remember Nicole and I got our groove on to Uptown Funk, because...duh.

Sunday was nothing but a ball of nerves for me. My friend Jean and I met up at 2 pm to get good seats for the Patriots game, I guess most people refer to it as the Super Bowl. 

This was by far the most insane sports night I can remember in a long time. The Pats fan club went all out. We had two previous Pats players in attendance, they had a photo booth, fireball, free beer, awesome Pats gear and I could go on and on. 

This game had me more nervous than I can ever remember. And I do not think I have ever screamed or jumped up so high on a play as I did the interception. 

I think that both teams played their hearts out, it was, above all else, a great game. And last night I let the absolute negativity from people who hate the patriots get to me and I went balls to the friggen wall on FB. You can only listen to people have the audacity to question your integrity over who you root for in a game for so long before you state your peace. 

  today...I bask in the glory. 

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Linking up with Meghan, Biana, TWTW and Meg

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Speech

I shared with you guys last week about my big speech I gave this past weekend. It went very well, despite my nerves being made up of anything but steel! The reaction I received was all positive and numerous people came up to me afterwards to share their stories or to thank me for sharing mine. 

Tears were shed more than once. The feeling of someone thanking you for putting into words what they have always wanted to express but had no opportunity to do so...so very humbling. 

I have been asked to speak at future events regarding mental health and sexual assault. I sincerely hope that I can continue to bring not only awareness to others, but a voice for those that don't really have one. 

The experience was rather eye opening and all in all it was fantastic. Unfortunately, at one point (after I was done speaking and in the audience) it became political and ugly. It lasted only a moment, but the bitter taste was left in my mouth. I have already written a letter to the representative and how fun that she is the one that represents our county. ugh. 

Anyways, we had 3 minutes and 30 seconds (or less! I am used to 10) to speak so I tried to do so succinctly and to the point. So, in case you were wondering what I had to say... Here it is!

Good Morning, Everyone. My name is Madison and I am a writer for numerous fertility and mental health publications.

  I'm diagnosed as having bipolar, severe depression, and ptsd. While these are my diagnosis, they in no way define me…the actual person.

My battle to be mentally healthy began 20 years ago, I was 15 and the previous year had been brutally sexually assaulted. While to everyone around me, I appeared the same. I was in no way the same. Prior to this, I was a vivacious teenager in honors classes, involved in multiple activities and always surrounded by friends. Afterwards, I began to withdraw. I became increasingly angry & developed an eating disorder.

The rape triggered repressed memories of being sexually abused as a child by the son of a babysitter....the flashbacks coming so frequently and nightmares haunting my sleep, I became petrified to close my eyes. 

At the end of my rope, and with my own mind becoming my worst enemy. I attempted suicide. I suffered a grand mal seizure & cardiac arrest. My parents were warned that my chance of survival was less than 50% and if I did, I would probably have severe brain trauma.  I ended up with frontal lobe brain damage and was released from the ICU ten days later

This is when my maze through the mind field of the mental health system began.

 From 15-19 I was hospitalized on 13 occasions. New doctor, new diagnosis... which meant new medications. at one point, released from a hospital prescribed to 14 separate ones. The side effects reeking such havoc, I rarely took them properly.

As time went on I attended college, got married and held down jobs. I rarely mentioned my illness based on the stigma I faced. Sadly enough, often times, the worst I faced was from those in the medical field.

Whenever I would see new doctors for something so simple as strep throat, the moment I would mention my past health problems, the tone of the discussion would immediately change. I was rarely taken seriously and the air reeked of their judgment. On one such visit, I purposely abstained from mentioning a medication which caused a severe interaction.

A doctor's office should be a safe haven.

After years of trying to handle my illness on my own, my facade started to crumble. I was barely able to perform simple day to day task.  This illness allows you to believe lies versus the truth and it once again led me to the conclusion suicide was an option. When death beckoned this time...before all logical thoughts had been erased. I sought help. 

I checked myself in to the hospital and instead of being transferred to the treatment facility in an ambulance, I was put in the back of a police car like I committed a crime.

This hospital stay started out as all the previous had, heavily drugged up, vomiting and barely coherent. Then, after 3 days, a new doctor took over. She took the time to listen to me and to push me in a direction of wellness and success. In addition to my bipolar and depression, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I began a 2 year program that was one of the most hellish, grueling and rewarding experiences of my life.

I survived this ordeal because of my family support and a husband that stood by me to see me well. They fought insurance when they tried to end my treatment prematurely. This time, with the right doctors, medication and treatment plan...I was left with the one thing that had always evaded me...HOPE! 

linking up with thursday thoughts

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oh, Hey...Congress

This weekend is bringing about one of those moments that only comes about once in a lifetime. I have talked on here quite a few times about my struggle with mental illness.  It has even played a small part of why I have gone a while without blogging lately.  Over the past few years, there have been a few times that I have been able to speak at events and to small groups, sharing the impact of mental illness on my life and its effect on not only me, but my family and friends. 

On Saturday... the group won't be so small (390) and the audience will include a rather prolific mix. I will be given the amazing opportunity to tell my story before an audience that can change lives. I will be speaking before state and national senators, congressman and other legislators. Whenever I spend too much time thinking of it, my heart races and I feel like I may vomit.  (Don't worry, I am sure my husband will be recording it, so, if it happens, youtube infamy shall be mine.)


I have never been more humbled to share my experiences, not because they are any more important than anyone else, but because, hopefully,my journey puts a real face to this illness for them. That I do a justice for everyone else in my circumstance who has never been given such a platform. 

There is much to be done in the mental health arena. From the part that insurance plays, to the stigma you face from so many sides, including those in the medical field...to the demons that live in your own mind, this illness must be taken head on. (pun almost not intended)

Wish me luck and I can't wait to share how it all panned out. And I hope to be back more frequently. I have missed reading and catching up on all your shenanigans.