Saturday, January 31, 2004

Family emergency... 

...I just dropped Dan off at the airport. He's on his way to Bismarck, North Dakota. His parents have driven up from South Dakota and will pick him up in Bismarck. He'll visit his uncle Mickey probably tomorrow. This past week, after the doctors found a tumor in Mickey's esophagus, they ran more tests. They found that the cancer had metasticized and spread to his liver. There is no hope of improvement. Mickey opted to stop the dialysis he was receiving for his autoimmune disease. Without the dialysis, he won't last very long. He is receiving appropriate pain medication from what I was told...that of course was my first concern.

I will be waiting for Dan to assess the situation before I leave for Bismarck. I'll be running errands and taking care of household things in case I need to leave suddenly. Since my computer is on dialup, I'll be offline a great deal of the time so that Dan can reach me with any news.

I have been through this before with my mom and other relatives, so I am somewhat prepared emotionally. Still, it is always sad, no matter how many times it has happened before. Mickey is only about 60.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mickey in June 2002 when Dan and I took a road trip to North Dakota. He was very interested in my fibromyalgia, more so than most people....I think because of his own health problems. While we were there, he showed us his slides from some wonderful vacations he took in Australia, South America and Hawaii. He said that we should all go on a vacation like that at least once in our lives. For Christmas that year, he gave us enough money to go on such a vacation. Ironically, Dan and I haven't gone yet because we were hoping my own health would improve. A few weeks ago, the rheumatologist told me I might not ever be healthier than I am now, so Dan and I scheduled two weeks off this coming October to go to Hawaii. We had planned to get a digital camera so we could send pictures of our trip to Mickey. We still plan to take a trip eventually but don't know when.

Life and death are so uncertain.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 6

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It's not easy being green... 

...when I had foot surgery two months ago, the incision did not completely heal due to one of my medications slowing down my immune system too much. When I went to the podiatrist last week for a follow-up, he prescribed an ointment to help the incision close the rest of the way up. It's called Panafil and contains, believe it or not, chlorophyll...you know, the green stuff found in plants? He said I could also use it on my other cuts and scrapes that aren't healing. I guess a lot of diabetics use this stuff.

Anyway, this is the weirdest looking goo...a deep forest green! I put it on my heel and covered it with a gauze pad and self-adhesive tape (I found the tape in the grocery store and highly recommend it to anyone allergic to adhesive). After a few days of this, my heel turned green! It does appear to be helping, though....it should take a few weeks for the incision to knit together completely.

I feel like a neon sign with a short circuit...still fluctuating wildly. The people in my aquacise class even noticed. Many of them have had to wean off prednisone, though, so they understand.

So much to do....so little energy to do it.....

Rave of the Day for January 28... 

...this is just the diversion I need, a joke courtesy of Ken, webmaster of Fibrohugs:

The Elmo Misunderstanding

A new employee is hired at the Tickle Me Elmo factory. The personnel manager explains her duties and tells her to report to work promptly at 8:00 am.

The next day at 8:45 am, there's a knock at the personnel manager's door. The assembly line foreman comes in and starts ranting about this new employee.

He says she's incredibly slow and the whole line is backing up. The foreman takes the personnel manager down to the factory floor to show him the problem.

Sure enough, Elmos are backed up all over the place. At the end of the line is the new employee. She has a roll of material used for the Elmos and a big bag of marbles. They both watch as she cuts a little piece of fabric, wraps it around two marbles, and starts sewing the little package between Elmo's legs.

The personnel manager starts laughing hysterically. After several minutes, he pulls himself together, walks over to the woman, and says, "I'm sorry, I guess you misunderstood me yesterday.

Your job is to give Elmo two test tickles."


I'm bouncing around between feeling tolerable and feeling horrible. My body is very confused about the lower dose of prednisone for the Sjogren's, and I suspect having fibro complicates my reaction to the medication. So tonight I fluctuated between dozing off and merely feeling run down, between searing pain and little twinges, between mental calm and grief-stricken. The only thing that was consistent was brain fog so thick I'd swear I was trying to think through jello. I was supposed to call the rheumatologist this week to decide whether the dose should be lowered further, but I don't even know what to tell him. My coping skills are being tested to the max. I need a vacation from myself.

On the positive side of things, my teeth are ok. Because Sjogren's attacks the salivary glands, there is either not enough saliva or it does not contain enough protective enzymes to keep your teeth from rapid decay. Your teeth can literally fall out. So I was relieved to hear that all my efforts to keep my mouth healthy are working. I do not have to go back for another six months unless something comes up.

The massage therapist worked on that monster trigger point I discovered recently. It was much larger and deeper than I realized....it took quite some time to get it to release. She went about it very slowly, though, so I only got a little nauseous afterward. I drank a bunch of water and that helped. It's a bit sore now, so I'll probably do the rice sock thing. My arm does move better now, and I'm not getting the tingling sensation in my fingers that I was before. I just love being high maintenance....NOT!

Oof...I'm getting another attack of the sledgehammer of fatigue. How I wish I could wave a white flag.

Pain level: 8
Fatigue level: 9

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Finally figured out what was wrong... 

...it's the da*ned prednisone I'm on for the Sjogren's. I'm tapering down with my rheumatologist's help because the incision on my heel from the surgery TWO MONTHS ago never closed up. It has slowed down my immune system TOO much now.

I didn't make the connection until tonight when I was suddenly awash in not just pain and fatigue, but many other Sjogren's symptoms that had gone dormant while on the prednisone: all-over itching, neuropathy, earaches, rashes, edema. The tinnitus is twice as loud as before. Oh, and I've read of people becoming depressed to the point of suicide when taken off a high dose of prednisone, so the small amount I'm on (7mg per day) is still bound to affect my emotions, don't you think?

So the joint pain and the fibromyalgia pain are doing a one-upsmanship, and I'm going to have to take a pain pill if I am to get any sleep tonight. At least I feel better mentally knowing there was a reason for suddenly going all wonky, as Ducky calls it.

Must try for some sleep....I painted myself into a corner appointment-wise. My dentist appointment got re-scheduled three times (by them), and I totally forgot about it being Tuesday at 12:30 when I made the appointment for the massage/chiropractic at 2:30. Hmmmm....maybe I can have the massage therapist work on the sore jaw I'm going to have from my teeth cleaning.

Pain level: 9
Fatigue level: 8

Monday, January 26, 2004

Rave of the Day for January 26: 

This is an excellent letter posted on Fibrohugs by ScribNik. And judging by my state of mind today, not an altogether inappropriate one...

To Friends & Family:

In a perfect world, I could make this easier for you to understand. I would simply allow your consciousness to occupy my physical body. Trust me, in five minutes, you'd be screaming to get out. Unfortunately, this world is far from perfect. Words will have to suffice.

Yes, I know I look fine. Did you expect to find lesions, pustules, bruises, or lacerations? The fibromonster resides in my central nervous system, not in my skin. Besides, you don't see me when I'm in flare, because I stay in bed. If you did, you would clearly observe the footprints of the fibromonster. They are evident in the dark circles under my eyes, my hunched posture, the tear tracks running down my cheeks, and the haunted look in my eyes.

Yes, I am depressed. Please don't tell me to cheer up. Depression is a biochemical disease, not a state of mind I can change with a wave of my magic wand. Besides, you would be depressed, too, if you were forced to live with chronic pain. On a "good" day, I merely feel like I've been run through a cement mixer, somewhat similar to the excruciating aches and pains that accompany the flu. On a "bad" day, I feel like gremlins armed with steak knives are attacking me. No part of my body is exempt from their attentions. They are thorough in their ministrations. And I cannot escape them.

Yes, I am anxious. I live in an environment fraught with peril. The fibromonster causes sensory overload. Bright lights and loud noises are painful to me. A light tap on the shoulder can bring me to tears. Every movement of my body brings a cascade of painful sensations. Imagine, if you will, that the simple act of taking a shower caused you horrific pain. Let me elucidate. The pressure of the water on my skin feels like tiny fists are punching me all over my body. Washing my hair is painful and tiring. The contortions one must get into to get one's body clean are torturous. When you take a shower, it's almost an autonomous process. When I take a shower, it's a visit with Torquemada.

Yes, you see me smile and laugh often. I have done my research, and know that smiles and laughter release endorphins, the body's natural pain killer. Chronic pain does not preclude some enjoyment of life, you know. Besides, my mood constantly walks the line between rational and hysterical. I laugh so that I do not weep. Because, if I started crying, I might not be able to stop.

Yes, I am still a human being. I have hopes and dreams, just like you. I experience happiness, sadness, anger, and love, just like you. I expect justice and fair treatment, just like you. I need encouragement and affection, just like you. Most of all, I need understanding from you. Please don't treat me like a leper, or like a porcelain doll. Include me in your plans, with the realization that I may have to cancel at the last minute. Converse with me about things other than fibromyalgia and chronic pain. While my life must revolve around these conditions, they do not define me.

Most of all, please do not judge me. Certainly, it is difficult to understand that which you have not experienced. I am more than willing to try and help you understand. But, you must discard your preconceptions first. The pain I experience is not "all in my head." I have a genuine, physiological medical condition. That portion of my brain that governs pain management is dysfunctional, causing normally non-painful sensory stimuli to be experienced as pain. It is not an emotional condition, but a biochemical one. And there is no cure. If you love me, you must accept that the fibromonster resides inside me. And you must be patient with me. I need your support now more than ever.

I wanna be the girl with the most cake 

Usually when I cry, it's just a physical reaction to the pain. But today I am awash in discouragement. This morning, while trying in vain to ignore the agony in my joints and go back to sleep, part of a song kept running through my head. It's called "Doll Parts" and the line goes, "Someday you will ache like I ache." The woman who sings it (Courtney Love) sounds absolutely heartbroken. That's how I feel today.

Pain level: 9
Fatigue level: 9

The "lost" post for January 24, 2004.... 

Unexpected sleep aid...

....I'm rather suprised by this. For years, people have been telling me I should find a way to darken the room I sleep in since most of the hours I'm snoozing occur during the day (my usual sleep time is 3am to noon or 1pm). I always thought I was doing fine as long as I could get to sleep initially. Well, I got a gift certificate for Christmas to one of those upscale "toy" shops and bought, believe it or not, a Tempur-pedic eye pillow. You know, like what you used to see the stars wear in the movies? It has a velour cover and blocks out all the light around your eyes. I got it because it looked comfy and thought it might help my eyes not dry out so much at night.

Gave it a try the first night and noticed something...I had developed a bad habit of waking up and checking the clock several times a night. Can't do that if you can't even tell whether it's light out or not. Another bonus....when I did wake up, because it appeared to be dark, it fooled my brain into thinking it must be way too early to get up, and I was able to fall asleep again much easier. Cool! Maybe the movie stars weren't just trying to be glamorous.

Went to another consignment store today...this one accepted clothes in sizes 12 and up, but only by appointment, and only by SEASON. We don't HAVE seasons in Colorado! Today it was 60 degrees outside, and it snows in May! I thought most people just checked the forecast and put on something long-sleeved when it was cold and something short-sleeved when it was hot. Can you tell I don't follow fashion too well? I'm supposed to tell them when making the appointment how many items I have for a certain season. Right now it's too late for winter stuff and too early for spring. I'm going to try one more consignment place this weekend before I decide what to do with my stuff. I don't remember it being this complicated before....after my mom died seven years ago, I placed her good clothes on consignment. The shop I went to took practically everything. Of course, my mom had much better taste in clothing than I.

Speaking of my mom, January 24 would have been her 61st birthday. I'll stop by the cemetery to "visit" her.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 9

Rave of the Day: How about an awesome poem by Maya Angelou? Seems appropriate somehow...

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need of my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

The "lost" post for January 23, 2004.... 

Changes for the worse at work...

...got to work and was greeted with the announcement that my shift's foreman is transferring to a different department. The bad part is that his assistant, the one I don't get along with, is moving up to foreman. The former assistant doesn't like me or Dan and would like to get rid of me in particular. Were I not in a union, he would have the perfect opportunity now. We were putting up with him the best we could, filing complaints with the old foreman when necessary, counting down the days until he was going to take early retirement in 2006. Now he can be as hard-nosed as he wants (within legal limits....he's nearly been fired more than once for harrassment) and has decided to stay until full retirement age, I think because he's making more money.

Were I healthy, I would just look for another job and turn my back on this jerk. But the chances of me finding a comparable job and pay are very slim, and I barely have the energy to do what I already know, much less have to start all over somewhere new. So I shall have to bite my tongue, make sure I never make a mistake, and never ever be even 30 seconds late. And we all know it's harder to think straight when you're angry, so I'll mind my own business as much as possible.

Of all the people they could put in charge, it would be the only one I can't stand.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 6

Rave of the Day: An oldie but a goodie. Got it from Ducky quite some time ago, but it's well worth repeating...

Things to Do at Wal-Mart While the Spouse Is Taking His/Her Sweet Time:

1. Get the boxes of condoms and randomly put them in people's carts when they are not looking.

2. Set all the alarm clocks to go off at 10 minute intervals.

3. Make a trail of orange juice on the floor to the restrooms.

4. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone, "I think we have a Code 3 in Housewares" and see what happens.

5. Turn all the radios to a polka station, then turn them all off and turn the volumes to 10.

6. Challenge other customers to duel with tubes of gift wrap.

7. Put M&Ms on layaway.

8. Move "Caution--Wet Floor" signs to carpet areas.

9. Set up a tent in the camping department; tell others you'll only invite them if they bring pillows from the bedding department.

10. When someone asks if they can help you, begin to cry and ask, "Why won't you people leave me alone?"

11. Look right into the security camera and use it as a mirror while you pick your nose.

12. Take up an entire aisle in toys by setting up a full scale battlefield with G.I. Joes and X-Men.

13. Ask other customers if they have any Grey Poupon.

14. While handling guns in the hunting department ask the clerk if he knows where the anti-depressants are.

15. Switch signs on the men's and women's bathrooms.

16. Dart around suspiciously while humming the theme from "Mission Impossible".

17. Set up a "Valet Parking" sign out front.

18. In the auto department practice your Madonna look using different size funnels.

19. Hide in the clothing rack and when people browse through say, "Pick me! Pick me!"

20. When an announcement comes over the loud speaker assume the fetal position and scream, "No! No! It's those voices again!"

21. Go to the food court, get a soft drink, tell them you don't get out much and would they put one of those little umbrellas in it.

22. Go into the fitting room and yell real loud, "Hey, we're out of toilet paper in here!"

The "lost" post from January 22, 2004... 

Stuck in the middle...

...decided to take all my nice clothes that don't fit anymore to a consignment shop. I had four shops on my list but only had time to visit two today.

The first was specifically for plus sized clothing (I've got stuff ranging from size 10-20, believe it or not). They advertised themselves as upscale, which I thought meant they would at least be interested in my suits. I came to find out that it meant DESIGNER stuff, and I've never bought a designer piece of clothing in my life. Also, some of my clothes were "too young" for their customers....I don't know if that meant younger than me or just that my clothes were unprofessional (they had animal prints on them). On to the next store.

The next place had lots of cute clothes, but I think I was the only one in there over 25. They didn't take plus sizes, and most of my stuff was too dressy and not right for their younger customer base. They did take my black suede miniskirt with the flower cutouts in size 14, so that's something.

So I'm too poor to donate to an upscale store and too old to donate to a trendy store. I'm also too thin for the plus sizes and too fat for the regular sizes. I've never thought of myself as middle class or middle aged, but apparently I am seen that way. I'm going to try the other two stores on Friday...I hope they are more receptive.

I had no idea I was that boring....hmph. Fine. I'll go put on my crushed velour top and fake fur leopard print skirt and go pout for awhile.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 9

Rave of the Day: I've seen this in various forms several times, but some of it is just too funny to ignore. This version comes from bejo....

Do you know--

...why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

...why you don't ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

...why "abbreviated" is such a long word?

...why doctors call what they do "practice"?

...why you have to click on "Start" to stop Windows 98?

...why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, while dish washing liquid is made with real lemons?

...why the man who invests all your money is called a broker?

...why there isn't mouse-flavored cat food?

...who tastes dog food when it has a "new & improved" flavor?

...why Noah didn't swat those two mosquitoes?

...why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

...why they don't make the whole plane out of the material used for the indestructible black box?

...why sheep don't shrink when it rains?

...why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together?

...if con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

...why they call the airport "the terminal" if flying is so safe?

In case you need further proof that the human race is doomed because of stupidity, here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods.

On a Sears hairdryer:
Do not use while sleeping.
(and that's the only time I have to work on my hair).

On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
(the shoplifter special)?

On a bar of Dial soap:
"Directions: Use like regular soap."
(and that would be how???....)

On some Swanson frozen dinners:
"Serving suggestion: Defrost."
(but, it's "just" a suggestion).

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom):
"Do not turn upside down."
(well...duh, a bit late, huh)!

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
"Product will be hot after heating."
(...and you thought????...)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
"Do not iron clothes on body."
(but wouldn't this save me more time?)

On Boot's Children Cough Medicine:
"Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication."
(We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5-year-olds with head-colds off those forklifts.)

On Nytol Sleep Aid:
"Warning: May cause drowsiness."
(and...I'm taking this because???....)

On most brands of Christmas lights:
"For indoor or outdoor use only."
(as opposed to...what?)

On a Japanese food processor:
"Not to be used for the other use."
(now, somebody out there, help me on this. I'm a bit curious.)

On Sunsbury's peanuts:
"Warning: contains nuts."
(talk about a news flash)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
"Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts."
(Step 3: maybe, uh...fly Delta?)

On a child's Superman costume:
"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly."

The "lost" post from January 20, 2004... 

Rudeness in parking lots....

I went to my aquacise class today at the rehab center. I was fortunate enough to find three consecutive spaces open, a real rarity there, so I parked in the middle one. It's easier for me to get out and get my stuff that way. When I got out, this massive Yukon XL was parked on the driver's side of my car. It was over the line partly in my space, and worse, parked crooked with the tires turned. There was less than a foot between that vehicle and my little car, whereas the driver's side of the Yukon had plenty of space for the driver to get out. Now, I am not in bad enough shape to require a handicapped sticker, but I DO need enough room to open my door adequately and ease myself into the driver's seat. My joints don't bend easily, and I already knew from past experience there was no way I could get in the car on the passenger side and climb over the console....I tried that once, got stuck and hurt myself. I won't repeat here the expletives that passed my lips after I assessed the situation.

So there was little I could do except squeeze slowly and carefully into my car, which was a painful experience. I was tempted to smack the Yukon with my door but knew that wouldn't solve anything. I wanted to leave a nasty note on the windshield but managed to resist that temptation too. Why do people park without consideration for the others in the lot? Whenever I park, I check the position of my car...if it's too close to another and I have room to move, I do so. Maybe I'm more careful because I'm aware how uncomfortable tight spaces are for some. Do the rude people not care if anyone else has access to their vehicle? Do they not think, or do they believe they are the center of the universe?

As I drove out, I noticed how much wider the handicapped spaces are than the ones I park in. I know this is because you have to have room for a wheelchair. I would feel guilty asking for a handicapped spot for myself....I am stiff and slow, but still able-bodied. I require no cane, walker or wheelchair. Should I just quit my grumbling and be grateful I can still walk to the far end of the parking lot?

Pain level: 8
Fatigue level: 7

Rave of the Day: ScribNik has been contributing little gems regularly to Fibrohugs. Here's what she posted this past weekend....


Reality is for people who lack imagination.

I took a pain pill...why are you still here?

My blood type is coffee.

If you don't care where you are, you aren't lost.

If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

I haven't lost my mind...it's backed up on disk somewhere.


What you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it...Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

We need to begin treating ourselves as well as we treat other people. That would be an enormous revolution...Gloria Steinem

We must concentrate on what we can do, and erase "can't," "won't," and "don't think so" from our vocabulary...Cardiss Collins

To see others, you must only watch. To see yourself, you must look...Chinese proverb

Thoughts have power. Thoughts have energy. And you can make or break your world by your thinking...Susan L. Taylor

There are hazards in anything one does, but there are greater hazards in doing nothing...Shirley Williams

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Laundry list... 

...this was outlined in my previous blog, but probably not all in one post. Here are the principle players starring in most of my posts to come: fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, chronic myofascial pain, Sjogren's syndrome, and probable celiac disease. All of these are lifelong and incurable, but all are also treatable. None are usually fatal, although there is a slight possiblity with the Sjogren's. All cause pain of one type or another, and all can cause fatigue. Each can vary in severity from barely noticeable to completely disabling. Each requires a different treatment regimen, ranging from medication to special diet to exercise to dietary supplements to lifestyle modification. The amount of symptoms stemming from these ailments is staggering; some people believe I'm exaggerating when I attempt to list them all.

I have in the previous blog outlined a few of these chronic illnesses and given my take on them. I will probably do that here on the ones that haven't been covered yet. And for those of you inclined to believe that focusing on my illness makes it worse, just try ignoring a broken limb the next time you have one. Pretending it's not there does not make it go away....believe me, I tried my best to tune out the pain and only succeeded in getting sicker. I find the best method is to acknowledge the problem, fix what is fixable, and then adjust to what can't be fixed. This is not to say that I don't use diversions in my daily life....indeed, that is part of the coping mechanism. Humor, music, movies, photography, literature and the computer are my favorite diversions. In fact, right now I'm listening to "Frankenstein" by the Edgar Winter Group.

I'm slowly learning what I can and can't do with this blog, and later on tonight I'll see about adding my "lost" entries so those of you who were reading the old one will be up to date.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 6

Rave of the Day: "God is a DJ" by Pink. I downloaded it tonight (via iTunes, which is both legal and reasonably priced). Pink is not your average diva....I really enjoy the variety in her music and the quirky lyrics. Plus, I like the beat, and you can dance to it, heh heh.

Things you may or may not know about me... 

At the beginning of my previous blog, I answered the question, "Who am I?" So as not to repeat that exactly, I'll follow a different format, inspired by a journal entry sol wrote in November (click on the link on this page to see her journal). She was in turn inspired by someone else, I believe. At any rate, here is my version:

* For some reason, I am unfamiliar with most of the music by The Cure. I don't dislike them, I just haven't heard most of their music. Don't know how I missed it.

* I've never dated a woman, but never ruled out that possibility when I was single. A female friend of mine once indicated she was interested, but she wasn't my type. Nothing personal.

* I'm extremely sentimental.

* I make up songs about my dog.

* I once misplaced a library book and found it a few years later. I was mortified to have to bring it back to the library. I still have nightmares about that.

* You've heard of people who sleepwalk? Not only have I done that, but I used to EAT in my sleep. Usually peanut butter. I would wake up the next day with a godawful taste in my mouth and find the jar open on the counter with a spoon still stuck in it.

* I recently discovered that I do indeed own a crock pot. I just haven't used it since I moved six years ago.

* Stuck the front of my monitor is Post-It note with the quote: "The mosted wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed." Under the quote I've attached a photo of me with FarmGal and debi d. of Fibrohugs when we were in Colorado Springs.

* I miss my dress-up shoes. I once owned 35 pair of shoes, my favorites being purple suede pumps with six-inch heels. I had to give up all but the most practical of shoes once the neuropathy set in.

* i can make my tongue undulate like a belly dancer.

* The closest rhyme in English I can think of off the top of my head for 'orange' is 'grunge'.

* The first time someone called me "ma'am", I turned around to see to whom he was referring. I thought he must be talking to someone behind me.

* I kinda always thought Bert and Ernie were domestic partners.

* For some reason, I dislike pears. Always have. I used to hate strawberries and popcorn but have since changed my mind. And I'll eat canned peaches but not fresh. It's the fuzz on the skin that offends my sensibilities.

* I have a photo on my stereo of me wearing a tiara.

* I've been known to read my hubby's "Maxim" magazine. I'm just curious about what guys find interesting.

* I love watching old reruns of the "Dick Van Dyke" show.

* I minored in psychology in college.

* As I child, I once saw a dead person floating outside my window. An honest to god ghost. I am certain of this.

* I like hummus.

* It is said that one cannot dream that they have actually died, but I have. Several times.

* I sometimes walk into leather stores just so I can smell the coats.

* I've got a dog who likes vegetables. They're about the only item I accidentally drop on the floor.

* My favorite current television show is "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", one of the few shows I have seen more than twice in the past eight years I've been working nights. I also catch "Crossing Over" occasionally. Other than that, I don't watch TV except for game shows and music videos.

* I generally don't enjoy violent movies, but I read incredibly graphic books. I'd rather imagine it than see it, I guess.

* I also have incredibly violent dreams.

* I once won a competition with my friends to see who could fit the most Dolly Madison donut gems in their mouth at once. I managed to fit an entire package of six. Of course, I couldn't breathe, but that's beside the point. One piece of advice: don't try this with the powdered sugar ones if you're prone to fits of giggling.

* I used to be able to do backbends without so much as batting an eye.

* I love Carlos Santana's last two albums. I never get sick of Devo. I have a homemade rap CD. I have an odd fondness for piano concertos. I adore Gwen Stefani. I have listened to and enjoyed big band music.

* I actually thought "Beavis and Butthead" was pretty funny.

* I miss Bacardi and Coke. And margaritas.

* I haven't borrowed a book from the library in at least 8 years.

* I love lemons, and, in fact, used to peel and eat them. Nothing is too sour for me. Too bad the doc has forbidden me from eating citrus.

* I have never tried "Good and Plenty" and never will.

* I spent a year in high school eating the same thing every day for lunch...Susie Q's and a Coke. Either that or an eclair and a Coke.

* I love tatoos and would get one in a second if I weren't afraid of needles.

* I like dark chocolate best...the darker, the better. If only it weren't on the doc's no no list.

* I am deathly afraid of sewing machines.

* I think a bit of pornography in one's life is a healthy thing as long as your partner doesn't feel threatened by it.

* I have so far begun a website and two blogs without learning html.

* I usually don't know WHY things work, I only know that they do.

* I still dance, briefly, usually in increments of one minute or less, and when nobody's looking.

* I still own towels I got in college. I had a towel I'd gotten in the second grade until Chip chewed it up five years ago.

* I am not afraid to die and don't understand people who are. Especially religious people who are afraid to die. Where is the logic in that? You'd think they'd be at peace with their creator more than the average person.

* I still wear purple blush I bought in college.

* I have leopard print flannel pjs.

* I once set my hair on fire in an art class with the wood burner. Nothing smells worse.

* I sleep with a stuffed zebra. My excuse is that it doubles as a pillow.

* When taking the wrapper off of a straw, I usually blow it at someone. Even in nice restaurants.

* Streetlights short out when I pass under them.

* One day at work, I shorted out three hard drives in 10 minutes.

* I don't often wear expensive watches because I tend to break them. I don't know how...I just put them on and they just stop and cannot be repaired.

* i tip well in restaurants, sometimes by accident (mathematical errors).

* I have books lying haphazardly all over my house, but my music must be in alphabetical order.

* Were I allowed to, I could probably happily eat a hamburger a day for the rest of my life.

* I used to enjoy camping as a child. Now I can't imagine sitting on the ground, much less sleeping there.

* Escalators completely freak me out. I am convinced my shoes are gonna be sucked into the conveyor belt thingy at the top. This is a recent fear of mine brought on when migraines screwed up my depth perception and I tripped at the top of one.

* I know practically every word to the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

* I haven't done karaoke on my own before but don't think I would be too bad.

* I never did figure out how to make mashed potatoes.

* I used to be so thin that I could use a bandana as a belt. Now they barely fit around my head. Just kidding.

* I still own the milk crates I was using as storage in college.

* As I child, I would climb into the washing machine (front loading) just to see if I could fit and to hide from my sister. I stopped doing this after I got stuck.

* During my two years of junior high school gym class, I broke a toe playing soccer, sprained an ankle playing basketball, sprained a foot playing indoor hockey, and sprained ribs doing gymnastics. When I say I was never athletically inclined, I am NOT kidding. I really was picked last for every team sport, and my nickname was "The Third Out". Sigh.

Captain's blog, stardate 2004. 

I am beginning a new blog as I can no longer edit the old one. The parameters will be the same as before: day-to-day living, attempts to educate the world at large about what chronic illness is like, and anything else I find profound, entertaining or cathartic. I will continue my tradition of the Rave of the Day, which could be a joke, a poem, a song, a movie or anything else that catches my fancy at the moment. Also, because this will double as a health journal, I will document my pain and fatigue levels daily on a scale of 1-10 (1 is feeling great and 10 is complete incapacitation).

Since this is a new mode of blogging for me, I will keep it short until I find my way around. The first thing I will probably do is copy over my entries from the old blog that did not make their way past the preview stage. Now I will boldly go where I have never gone before and hit "publish"....

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