An unexpected side effect due to my meds?
Drinking too much espresso at Squaw’s Coffeebar – talk about a buzz with a view!
The beautiful sunrise on Red Dog Ridge. I watch this sunrise each morning from the cabin. Squaw Valley is directly on the other side of the ridge.
Happy New Year!
I’m writing this post from the Munchkin cabin in Alpine Meadows, California. We’ve been coming here in the winter and summer for the past ten years. Craig found this place on Craigslist, appropriately enough, and the first time we pulled up to the cabin I couldn’t believe how big and spectacular it was. Normally we couldn’t afford this kind of rental, ever! However, we’ve been super-lucky the owner charged us 1/4th of the typical rate for Alpine Meadows cabin rentals. That’s nothing short of miraculous.
I’ve blogged about my Munchkin visits throughout the last decade. It’s where I’ve spent terrible trips due to my treatment-resistant bipolar depression. I’ve weighed as much as 170 pounds up here and I hardly did anything active except stuff my face with chocolate and shuffle around.
Zonked out on Xanax at 170 lbs, I’m praying the gondola won’t fall
Other times when I’ve been a much healthier 135-140 pounds and depression-free (something I never thought would happen in my lifetime), I’ve had the energy to hike to my heart’s content. The hikes have never been easy due to the altitude, which is approximately 6480 feet, but once I get going I feel so much better mentally.
I’ve had a few terrifying experiences in the Munchkin. One summer I saw a BIG bear right outside the window. The bear had just been in our cabin, silently eating garbage near the entrance in the basement and he/she was undetected by any of us! How did the bear get in? Well, the front door had been left WIDE open and I’m happy to tell you I wasn’t the one who did that!
During another winter visit when I was deeply depressed, Craig fell down the steep stairs and broke his foot. I had to drive him and the girls to the hospital on icy roads—I think I drove less than one mile per hour!
There have been happier times too, thank God. After my lithium/MAOI combination finally lifted my bipolar depression after seven years of hell, I was able to do fun things like take the girls ice skating and go on the Squaw Valley Gondola without popping a Xanax. I felt like myself again.
I wrote and edited a sizable chunk of my book in the Munchkin.
The view from the bathroom—in the summer the hill is covered with all kinds of wildflowers!
Last month the owner told us she’s selling the cabin so this will be our last visit. Sadly we don’t have close to a million dollars to buy a second home like many others do in this area. Hopefully, we’ll find another affordable place we can rent.
A gorgeously lit home I passed during my walk last night
Today is our last day at the Munchkin and later on in the afternoon I’ll take Lucy on a snowy hike.
My hound LOVES the snow! Her super-thick Scottish collie fur will keep her cozy throughout our ramble.
I hope that each of you will find your own version of “The Munchkin” —a special, beautiful, affordable place where you’ll only experience good things! You won’t suffer broken feet, bipolar depression, or chunky bears oh-so-quietly coming into your home.
See you next Friday!
p.s. My 1st article for BP/Bipolar Magazine’s Winter issue is online. Please visit the link and take a look. If you can share the article via Twitter, Facebook, etc. (and if you want to knock my socks off, please comment) I’d be very grateful!
Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder With a foreword by the acclaimed perinatal psychiatrist and author Dr. Carol Henshaw. Please visit Amazon to order a Kindle or paperback version—thank you!