Friday, January 22, 2021

7QT: Shingles, Instagram, Wall Art, Soup and a Fish Saga

 I can't believe we are twenty one days into 2021 already.  Since the last time I was here, a few events have occurred at Clan Martin, so let's get going. (Joining up with Kelly and friends for Seven Quick Takes Friday)


I got shingles.  

At 41 ripe old years of age.

It started two weeks ago, on a Thursday night, when my neck began aching as if I pulled a muscle.  I had completed a difficult Insanity wourkout class that night, so I figured I just hurt my neck during that.  The pain got worse and worse, and by Saturday night, I was in such agony that I didn't sleep a wink.  On Sunday morning, I made an appointment at Urgent Care to see what was wrong.  My appointment wasn't until the afternoon, and I basically laid in bed with a heating pad on my neck in pain.  The NP at Urgent Care diagnosed me with a strained trapezius muscle and told me to take Ibuprofen.  I was in such pain that my blood pressure was sky high and I couldn't move my head and felt like I might die from the pain.  I went home and started taking Ibuprofen, which helped not one bit and cried to Phil that this had to be something worse than a strained muscle.  I didn't sleep again on Sunday night, and by Monday morning I was a mess.  I had a "pimple" behind my left ear that I had noticed on Saturday, and by Monday it looked like there were two tiny blisters next to it.  I had Phil look at it and take a photo and he said it looked like a bite.  I freaked out thinking some crazy spider bit me and was causing all of this neck pain, so I texted it to my sister (a dermatologist) and explained the pain.  

She wrote back "I think you have shingles".  

I freaked out even more and she called me to say it sounded like shingles and that I needed to go to the doctor right away to start the anti-viral medicine.  I called the doctor's office, who said my doc was booked all day until 7pm but that they would send him a message.  I told them to make sure they said that my sister had diagnosed me with shingles.  The nurse called back right away and said my doctor had called in the anti-viral meds and would teleconference me at 7pm.  Gotta love a good doctor!  By the time I spoke with him that evening, the pain had morphed into a shooting pain to my ear, a throbbing pain in the back of my head, and a burning sensation from my ear down to my shoulder.  It was shingles.  He prescribed a painkiller to help, and I was on so many medications for the next seven days yet still in tons of pain.  Shingles is no joke!  I am lucky that I started the anti-virals so quicly because I only ended up with a few blistery type spots and the rest of the rash was flat and red.  My ear was a disaster, red, swollen, infected, and painful.  After two weeks, I am still not normal.  The skin all over the left side of my scalp, neck, and ear is burning and painful and sleep is still hard to come by.  

Side Note: I actually babysat for Bob Villa's daughter a few times when I was a teen

That's the truth

This was when the spots started appearing - I'll spare you any grosser photos.


While I was dying recovering from shingles, I got a sweet care package from a friend in Texas that reminded me how important it is to show up for each other like this.  I had received lots of well-intentioned "Let me know if you need any help!" messages from good-hearted people, but it's difficult to be sick and in pain, think about what you need, and then have to ask people to do things for you.  A meal, a book, a card, a water bottle, lotion, a candle are always welcome.  It was a good example of how to treat someone who is suffering, and I need to pass it on.


Phil and I watched The Social Dilemma with our two oldest kids (the middle schoolers had already seen it in school) and I immediately went and deleted Instagram.  I couldn't NOT do that after watching that movie and living through this past year of our cancel culture, political unrest, racial tensions, and a pandemic.  I had been weaning myself off slowly but I am glad I finally just made the drastic cut. I want to be able to practice what I preach to my children.  And the ads were just too much.  Remember if you don't pay for the product, YOU are the product.  Be careful out there.


I've been redecorating our dining room since we changed the furniture in here.  It's such a happy room now, full of sunlight and pretty colors.  I am about to reupholster those bench cusions and replace the chair cushions - thank you stimulus check!

I found that big beautiful canvas map from a Swedish company called Photowall that has soooooo many choices for decorating your walls.  They have canvases, wallpaper, murals, posters, framed prints and you can use your own photo to make a custom piece.  It was hard to decide what to pick, but when I saw this map in these colors, I knew it was the one.  It arrived within three days with free shipping!  Bonus - the kids are learning geography as we eat dinner and discuss our world travels.  Double bonus - You can use the code martinfamilymoments25 to get 25% off of your purchase through the end of February!

The Queen of Heaven and Earth is over there too, praying for every single person on the map.


Speaking of wall art, Eamon used his Amazon gift card to buy a personalized football player silhouette for his bedroom wall.  

I think it looks cool and would be a neat gift idea for the football-loving boy in your life.


For years now, I have been making a big pot of soup on Sunday, and Phil and I divide it into our twelve glass bowls with lids, and we eat it for lunch the rest of the week.  I honestly think it's what helps keep our weight in check.  We just make a healthy soup filled with veggies and proteins and grab in the morning before work.  No excuses.  This week, I made a Coconut Chicken and Cauliflower Rice soup.  No recipe to follow, but just take your favorite Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and substitute cauliflower rice for noodles, add a can of coconut milk, and season with some ginger, red curry powder, and chili powder.  My soup recipes are always made very loosey-goosey with a wish and a prayer.  But this one came out so delicious and it's Whole30 and Keto and low calorie and good for whatever ails ya!


Are you ready for more of the Fish Saga?

Last we left off, we had a new fish tank with zero fish.  I ordered a heater, thinking perhaps the cold water had killed off Pumpkin, and then Phil took the little kids to the pet store and they each picked out a fish.  See the pink, blue, and yellow fishies below?

We also got a sucker fish (in the left bottom corner) to keep the tank clean.  The next morning we awoke to TWO dead fish (RIP pinkie and yellowie) and Phil took them back to the pet store to get replacements.  When the pet store worker tested our water, he said our ph balance was wrong and that's why they died.  He then said their fish replacement policy is to only replace fish who died in an optimal tank environment and our tank was not optimal.  But, he said he would give us ONE free fish because he felt bad.  So we got another pink fish, as well as some kind of drops to put in our tank to solve the ph issue.  The blue fish (the original lone survivor) must have named himself King of the Tank and decided to attack the new pink fish.  He would swim up to the pink fish and she would swim away like she was being chased around by a bully.  By the next morning, that pink fish was dead too. We decided not to put any more fish in the tank because we have a tyrant blue fish.  Oh, the sucker fish is still in there.  We thought he got sucked up by the filter at one point, but turns out he was just sucking on the filter.  Another time we couldn't find him, but he was just sucking on the back of the water heater.  I don't know why Phil hates our fish tank so brings incredible drama to our otherwise boring days! 

Have a wonderful playoff watching, treat baking, checking in on friends and family kind of weekend everyone!


  1. Yikes - the shingles sounds terrible. Hope you are feeling much better soon. Good advice about the care package too!

  2. Shingles are the worst! I had them when I was 14 (my doctor was mystified, and said she'd only seen them in older people or people under really bad stress *eyeroll*) and I've had a few minor outbreaks since then, but none as bad as the one when I was a teen--the rash wrapped all around my torso, right where a bra would sit. Ugh.

    I saw your last post on instagram and after doing some reading, decided to go ahead and delete mine. I never posted anything, just followed interesting people, but even that was taking my time and attention away from other things. Thank you for that last final push!

    The fish drama continues to amuse. I mean, I feel badly that your kids fish died, but that blue fish is such a bully!

    1. You are giving me hope that if I get shingles again, they won't be as bad. I don't think I could go through this again! And yay for deleting the timesucker that is Instagram!

  3. I love that map, it is gorgeous! Also, I'm at the age where I'm trying to memorize your take about shingles so I can recognize the signs if they happen to me! Getting older is no joke (I'm 38 and I know we're not OLD, but we're kinda old.)

    1. You're still a young chick! But apparently shingles doesn't care about that :(

  4. I had shingles when I was 9 months pregnant. Labor was definitely more uncomfortable with them but my outbreak wasn't nearly as painful as yours! I'm so sorry you were in that pain.

    1. Thank the burning and itching is driving me crazy. I can't imagine being pregnant and in labor with them, you poor mama!

  5. I love your 7QT’s! Now that I’m dedicated to getting back into blogging, I might try to join in again. :)

    #3: Same here, for the same reasons. A week after deleting all my social media accounts, I realized how much I do NOT need to be on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.. Don’t even miss them.

    #5: SO cool! My boys played football from Pee Wee through high school; they would have LOVED those!!

    Shingles sounds awful—you poor thing!

    1. I've been loving reading your blog posts Laura! Keep writing :)

  6. You might have "new tank syndrome" going on with your aquarium, as the bacteria that break down ammonia aren't well established yet in a new aquariums. Recommend just keeping a couple hardy fish, and no others, for a couple months! Replacing some old water with new, daily, can also help keep ammonia levels down until the good bacteria gets established.

  7. Oh man. Shingles sounds awful! I will be praying for a full and complete recovery. And I hope your bluey fish keeps entertaining you for a long time.

  8. 1) I’m so sorry you got shingles! That sounds utterly terrible- more scary than COVID to me honestly. 2) solidarity with getting off Instagram! Did the same thing and it’s been... weird. And so good. So good to read blogs again!! And 3) we too have an ongoing fish saga in our home- I’m in Phil’s boat of hating the aquarium currently but still acquiring more fish to likely kill. It’s like the new winter hobby!

    1. Wow, we have a lot of similar stuff going on right now! I'm glad you're back to blogging, I always look forward to your posts Ana!

  9. Sorry about shingles Colleen the worst! Hubby and I had it and it took so long to recover but w didn’t get any anti virals. Hope you feel better soon! The Fish Story is why we don’t have pets 😆😍good luck with that 💯😂 get well amen stay safe martins

  10. Colleen, I am so sorry about the shingles!!!
    Bless you soul.
    And good point about doing something for someone. I hate when people do things for me, you know?
    So even if I could use it, I always reply, "Thanks. I'll let you know," when they ask what they can do to help. (Knowing I will never ask!) SO from now on, I am going to just do it! And I am elated to read here that perhaps the tide is turning and people may return to blogging. I stopped Instagram years ago when I found I could not eat dinner without taking a picture and posting the recipe! Anyway, stay healthy. And are sooo young!


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