Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 31: 

Another funny from Ducky....


        * NIXON'S THEOREM:
        The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame.

        The first 90 per cent of the task takes 90 percent of the time, and the last 10 per cent takes the other 90 percent.

        * NOLAN'S PLACEBO:
        An ounce of image is worth a pound of performance.

        Negative expectations yield negative results.
        Positive expectations yield negative results.

        * O'BRIEN'S PRINCIPLE ($357.73 THEOREM):
        Auditors always reject any expense account with a bottom line divisible by 5 or 10.

        No matter where you go, there you are.

        Cleanliness is next to impossible.

        * OSBORN'S LAW:
        Variables won't, constants aren't.

        Murphy was an Optimist.

Old age or coincidence? 

You decide. Last week, on the day I turned 40, I got my first spam e-mail....an ad for Viagra! Then a few days later, I notice a white hair on my head....not one of those little grey ones, but SNOW WHITE! Hard to decide whether to be alarmed or amused...for the time being, I'm opting for amused.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 8

Hubby might have mono? 

Dan had an infected lymph node a few weeks ago of undetermined cause. He was put on anti-biotics and a short course of prednisone. This helped for awhile, but as soon as he was off the prednisone, the infection returned. He went back to the doc today...she ran several tests including a CBC, an ESR, a full thyroid panel and the test for mono. Of all the possibilities, the mono is the most likely. If the bloodwork comes back normal, he will have to have the lymph node biopsied.

He is taking off work in case he is contagious, just to be safe. He's also afraid of passing something along to me as the slightest cold makes me very sick indeed. Poor guy has had a rough year so far.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 30: 

How many American kids' shows did you watch in the '70's? I was shocked at how many of these I remember! I was a major TV addict during that entire decade, and then didn't even own a TV from 1982-1987...go figure. Anyway, even if you don't remember these, you'll have a good laugh because they are sooooo cheesy! Don't forget to listen to the theme songs....my favorite is "The Bugaloos". Enjoy!

'70's Live Action Kid Vid

Dreams on the installment plan? 

Had an odd experience this morning....woke up about 8am in the middle of a very vivid dream. Got up, went pee, put some drops in my eyes and went back to bed even though at that moment I didn't seem very tired. The weird part is that not only did I fall back asleep immediately, I resumed the same dream right where I had left off! I've consciously tried to do that a few times but only rarely have I succeeded.

The details of the dream have gotten somewhat muddled since this morning, but here's what I do remember: I was riding in a huge SUV-type vehicle with my dad, my stepbrother, my sister and her boyfriend. We were headed to the property of a friend of my grandfather's. This man had just died, and we were going to help move some of the items on the estate. My sister had with her a guinea pig that once belonged to a cousin who had injured the animal through carelessness. The guinea pig had a huge gash in his side, and I could see that his internal organs had been cut in half, but he was not bleeding and otherwise seemed fine. When we got to our destination, we were supposed to hitch a trailer to the back of the SUV, but the body of the man who had died was still there on his bed, so we had to contact the funeral home to see when they were coming for the body. We had to go to the man's house and fill out some paperwork. Everyone decided I was best at that sort of thing (even in the dream I didn't have much physical strength), so I got a pen and got to work. I then noticed that my sister's appearance had changed....she now resembled the woman who played Elaine in "Seinfeld". When I got done with the forms and the funeral guys still hadn't showed, we made ourselves some lunch in the kitchen of the guy who died. Then I woke up.

Not really sure what all this means...right now my head hurts too much to do any psychoanalysis anyway. Another migraine courtesy of Bextra. I am curious, though, as to whether I'll pick up where I left off when I go to sleep tonight? Not likely, but it certainly would be interesting if it happened.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 8

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Bonus Rave of the Day for March 28: 

This funny comes from SilverWing....

A Child's Eye View of Marriage


( 1 ) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. -- Alan, age 10

( 2 ) No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. -- Kirsten, age 10


( 1 ) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. -- Camille, age 10

( 2 ) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married. -- Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)


( 1 ) You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. -- Derrick, age 8


( 1 ) Both don't want any more kids. -- Lori, age 8


( 1 ) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. -- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)

( 2 ) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date. -- Martin, age 10


( 1 ) I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns. -- Craig, age 9


( 1 ) When they're rich. -- Pam, age 7

( 2 ) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that. -- Curt, age 7

( 3 ) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do. -- Howard, age 8


( 1 ) I don't know which is better, but I'll tell you one thing. I'm never going to have sex with my wife. I don't want to be all grossed out. -- Theodore, age 8

( 2 ) It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. -- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)


( 1 ) There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? -- Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is........


( 1 ) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck. -- Ricky, age 10

Hit and miss day.... 

Went on a rare shopping excursion today. My stepbrother and his wife are having a garage sale next weekend, and last night, I started going through my clothes so I could include the ones that don't fit in the sale. There are more that are too big for me than I expected, so I decided to make use of a gift card I have from Target to fill in the new gaps in my wardrobe.

Before I got to the clothes, I got distracted by the purses. I'm a one-purse kind of woman for the most part, so I tend to wear them out, and my current one has gotten really ratty. I found a new one in microfiber black with an extra long shoulder strap and lots of pockets for organizing. Not as nice as my current one, but lightweight, and I can put the strap crosswise from one shoulder to the opposite hip to distribute the weight evenly and keep my aching hands free.

Then it was onto the bras. Completely struck out there....tried on six different styles and none of them fit! Seems I'm too wide for a 36 and too narrow for a 38, too flat for a C and too busty for a B.

Next it was undies, but they were out of my size in the style that fit me best. Rats.

Then I tried on dresses and skirt sets. I was pleasantly surprised that the ones I picked were running large....that meant I could go down a size where there were more choices. I bought three skirt sets, one with long sleeves and the other two with sleeveless tops. All three were floral designs on black, perfect for the tropical vacation I'll be taking in the fall.

Nada on shorts....size 12 was too big and 10 was too small. That was it for Target.

I asked Dan to take me to a place called Mervyn's so I could get a new swimsuit for aquacise. That's the only thing I ever buy there. I was disappointed to discover they no longer carry Speedo suits, the only brand I've ever found that fits me right.

Next thing I knew, it was time for church. After we got there and I had sat awhile, I suddenly got very shaky and foggy. I couldn't imagine why until I realized I had FORGOTTEN to eat all day! Not very smart for someone who is borderline diabetic. It was kind of funny in a way, though, because Dan likes to tease me that I eat all the time. Went right home after church and took my pills and ate.

Oh, and the weather was hit and miss too. When I went to Target, it was snowing hard. When I left there, the sun was out and no clouds. Typical March where I live.

Now I need to put price tags on the stuff I'm selling at the garage sale and make up a master list so it will be easier to remember which stuff was mine.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 8

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Bonus Rave of the Day for March 27: 

Here are quotes by another famous funny lady, Erma Bombeck. Thanks to Ducky's Daily Grin....

Quotes From Erma Bombeck

My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.

I don't know why no one ever thought to paste a label on the toilet-tissue spindle giving 1-2-3 directions for replacing the tissue on it. Then everyone in the house would know what Mom knows.

Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery.

Why is it when you want a nice souvenir, you find a great shell in a gift shop, but some yo-yo has affixed a ten-cent thermometer to it?

Kids have little computer bodies with disks that store information. They remember who had to do the dishes the last time you had spaghetti, who lost the knob off the TV set six years ago, who got punished for teasing the dog when he wasn't teasing the dog and who had to wear girl's boots the last time it snowed.

I remember buying a set of black plastic dishes once, after I saw an ad on television where they actually put a blowtorch to them and they emerged unscathed. Exactly one week after I bought them, one of the kids brought a dinner plate to me with a large crack in it. When I asked what happened to it, he said it hit a tree. I don't want to talk about it.

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch on fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you?

Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. "Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?" "Don't you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?" "Wasn't there any change?"

The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you are served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, "Could I get you your check?" and we answered, "How about the menu first?"

When your mother asks, "Do you want a piece of advice?" it's a mere formality. It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no. You're going to get it anyway.

Somewhat odd evening.... 

Tonight Dan and I had tix to see Brett Butler at the comedy club downtown. We had trouble finding the underground parking garage we were going to use (the directions to it were wrong), so we chose a nearby street level lot that cost over twice as much. I just wasn't up to a long walk....I wanted to save my energy for standing in line.

We ended up sitting in the front row...I was no more than five feet from the microphone. The two opening acts were good, local guys in fact, but someone in the audience chose to heckle them. This person said something racist, which is not a common problem where I live. The guy on stage handled it very well I thought. The opening acts had to stall a bit....they said Brett Butler was having throat problems.

They weren't kidding. The poor woman had almost complete laryngitis! She went onstage anyway with a bottle of Chloraseptic. The wait staff tried to help her out by bringing her herbal tea and ice water to sip on. Then, no more than five minutes into her act, the person who had caused a disturbance before started drowning her out by making barking noises! The show had to be stopped while the heckler was thrown out.

Brett Butler was still very funny. Her character portrait of the criminals on the show "Cops" was hysterical! But after about half an hour, her voice gave out completely, and she had to go offstage. There were supposed to be two more shows after ours tonight, so I'm not sure what happened there. The staff at the comedy club gave us all free passes for a future show, which was pretty cool. I will try to catch her the next time she is in town.

We walked back to the car and discovered that the owners of the lot had double parked cars everywhere! They obviously weren't expecting the show to be cut short. Several people including us couldn't get out. We were blocked in our space by a huge SUV. Even after someone moved it, we could barely squeeze our way out with only an inch or two to spare. Of course, after we got back onto the street, I found the garage where we had intended to park. Oh, well, now I know where to go the next time we visit the comedy club.

Probably just as well the evening ended early....I am exhausted even though I got nine hours of sleep. Well, like Scarlett O'Hara says, tomorrow is another day!

Time to change clothes and figure out where I left my glass of tea.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 8

Rave of the Day for March 27: 

I've seen a few of these before, but they are worth repeating. Thanks to SilverWing for e-mailing me this gem....

Why We Love Kids

NUDITY: I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mom! That lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"

HONESTY: My son Zachary, 4, came screaming out of the bathroom to tell me he'd dropped his toothbrush in the toilet. So I fished it out and threw it in the garbage. Zachary stood there thinking for a moment, then ran to my bathroom and came out with my toothbrush. He held it up and said with a charming little smile, "We better throw this one out too then, 'cause it fell in the toilet a few days ago."

OPINIONS: On the first day of school, a first-grader handed his teacher a note from his mother. The note read, "The opinions expressed by this child are not necessarily those of his parents."

KETCHUP: A woman was trying to get the ketchup to come out of the jar. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her 4-year-old daughter to answer the phone. "It's the minister, Mommy," the child said to her mother. Then she added, "Mommy can't come to the phone right now. She's hitting the bottle."

MORE NUDITY: A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter with you guys, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"

POLICE # 1: While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, "Are you a cop?" "Yes," I answered and continued writing the report. "My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?" "Yes, that's right," I told her. "Well, then," she said as she extended her foot toward me, "would you please tie my shoe?"

POLICE # 2: It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. "Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked. "It sure is," I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, "What'd he do?"

ELDERLY: While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

DRESS-UP: A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, "Daddy, you shouldn't wear that suit." "Why not, darling?" "You know that it always gives you a headache the next morning."

DEATH: While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said: "Glory be unto the Faaaather, and unto the Sonnn ..... and into the hole he gooooes."

SCHOOL: A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write and they won't let me talk!"

BIBLE: A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. "Mama , look what I found", the boy called out. "What have you got there, dear?" With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"

3rd place in chili cookoff! 

Ok, so there were only nine entries, but the competition was fierce! My department at work does this about once a year. Last year's winner voted for mine!

This was only my second attempt at making chili, ever. Last weekend I tried a green chili recipe that I didn't like too much. This one was much better: I modified a recipe I found on the internet. It had extra lean turkey breast, chunks of tomato, red bell peppers, white onions, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, garlic, and, believe it or not, cinnamon in it. I brought a crock pot to work full to the top, and it was entirely gone before lunch break! I've been trying very hard to learn how to cook, so it looks like I'm starting to catch on.

My in-laws are coming to visit in a few weeks, so I'll probably try making this for them. I'm also going to try a few chicken recipes a little bird told me about. I've been eating plain broiled chicken breasts for months and have gotten very bored. There aren't a lot of gluten-free prepared sauces available for chicken, so homemade is best.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 7

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 25: 

Definitely need something funny today. Thanks to bejo for this....

A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs.
She gave each kid in her class the first half of a proverb, and had them come up with the rest.

Don't Bite The Hand That... Looks Dirty.

No News Is... Impossible.

A Miss Is As Good As A... Mr.

It's Always Darkest Before... Daylight Savings Time.

Better To Be Safe Than. .. Punch A 5th Grader.

Never Under Estimate The Power Of.. Termites.

Strike While The... Bug Is Close.

You Can Lead A Horse To Water But.. How?

The Pen Is Mightier Than The... Pigs.

If You Lie Down With The Dogs, You'll... Stink In The Morning.

You Cant Teach An Old Dog New... Math.

Love All, Trust... Me!

Where There's Smoke, There is... Pollution.

Don't Put Off Tomorrow What... You Put On To Go To Bed.

An Idle Mind Is... The Best Way To Relax.

Children Should Be Seen And Not... Spanked Or Grounded.

A Penny Saved Is... Not Much.

Laugh & The Whole World Laughs With You, Cry & You... Have To Blow Your Nose.

Happy The Bride Who... Gets All The Presents!

Two's Company, Three's... The Musketeers.

If At First You Don't Succeed... Get New Batteries.

You Get Out Of Something What You... See Pictured On The Box.

There Is No Fool Like... Aunt Eddie.

When The Blind Leadeth The Blind... Get Out Of The Way.

Crash and burned out... 

This did not come without warning. I have been tapering off of prednisone since November and am down to a 2mg dose. The primary care doc had expressed concern that even with the slow taper I could crash hard. She was right.

Today, I was only out of bed for half an hour when I got very weak, fairly dizzy and even a bit disoriented. I tried doing what I usually do when I feel like crap...just go on about my business. I started some stretches to get the blood flowing and maybe perk me up a bit, but I experienced vertigo even lying on the floor, so I had to stop. I tried eating something but only felt better for maybe an hour afterward. I had no choice but to call in sick to work as I felt ill enough to faint (even though I never do actually pass out).

I'm 99 percent sure this is the result of weaning off the prednisone as I have felt this way in less severe form with every decrease in dose since I hit 5mg a month ago. Also, this very closely resembles how I was back when I had a confirmed adrenal insufficiency. But it still sucks.

In addition to the weak and wobbly, I can't think my way out of a paper bag, and I am EXTEMELY sad. It's the chemical kind of sad, not the kind derived by circumstances, if that makes any sense. I would normally be pretty cheerful because my pain level is down to a 5 out of 10, I just had a nice birthday, and the weather has been wonderful. But I feel so bleak.

I know this will pass, but I'm having a hard time seeing my way around it right now.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 9

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 24: 

I think a good funny is in order right now....how about this one about notes left to the milkman? Courtesy of Ducky...

Are you old enough to remember having your milk delivered by the milkman?
Here are some funny notes left to those trusty men.
"Dear Milkman, I've just had a baby, please leave another one."

"Please leave an extra pint of paralysed milk."

"Please don't leave any more milk. All they do is drink it."

"Milkman please close the gate behind you because the birds keep pecking the tops off the milk."

"Sorry not to have paid your bill before, but my wife had a baby and I've been carrying it around in my pocket for weeks."

"Sorry about yesterday's note. I didn't mean one egg and a dozen pints, but the other way round."

"When you leave my milk knock on my bedroom window and wake me because I want you to give me a hand to turn the mattress."

"Please knock. My TV's broken down and I missed last nights 'Perry Mason' . If you saw it, will you tell me what happened?"

"My daughter says she wants a milkshake. Do you do it before you deliver or do I have to shake the bottle?"

"Please send me a form for cheap milk, for I have a baby two months old and did not know about it until a neighbour told me."

"Milk is needed for the baby. Father is unable to supply it."

"From now on please leave two pints every other day and one pint on the days in between, except Wednesdays and Saturdays when I don't want any milk."

My back door is open. Please put milk in 'fridge, get money out of cup in drawer and leave change on kitchen table, because we want to play bingo tonight."

"Please leave no milk today. When I say today, I mean tomorrow, for I wrote this note yesterday...or is it today ?"

"When you come with the milk please put the coal on the boiler, let dog out and put newspaper inside the screen door. PS. Don't leave any milk."

"No milk. Please do not leave milk at No. 14 either as he is dead until further notice."

Mixed feelings about job opening.... 

Came home from my massage/chiropractor appointment to find Dan waving the classified section of the newspaper at me. Seems he'd found an ad for a graphic designer placed by the company that built our house. The company's new headquarters opened a few months ago not two miles from us (our current jobs are 20 miles away). Sounds like the perfect opportunity, right?

While Dan and I are both qualified for it, I would actually be more suited for it as it also involves marketing, writing newsletters and working on their website. I spent two years of my current job building ads for home builders, including this one. Problem is, I am too ill to risk going to a job with more hours, more responsiblity and more stress, no matter how much I'd enjoy it. I am barely functioning at my current job and still haven't been able to rule out the necessity of going on disability. So, even though I want the job a lot more than Dan does, I helped him put together a cover letter so he could apply. He was nervous about it, but I assured him that the worst that could happen was that they could say no.

So I'm excited for Dan and sorry for myself.

Dan and I were able to take a single vacation day off from work tonight. I went shopping for some new tennis shoes because the incision from my foot surgery in November has FINALLY healed! I am going to participate in an awareness walk for Sjogren's next month and want to break in some shoes before then. Wouldn't you know, the pair that fit best was the pair NOT on sale....sometimes it works out that way. After I got the shoes, we went to see a movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". I enjoyed it, but Dan didn't....he complained that it made him have to think too much! The movie is about trying to get over a breakup by erasing the memory of the other person from your mind. The plot does not move in a linear fashion and makes fibrofog seem like child's play.

Yesterday was the big day...I got very generous birthday wishes on Fibrohugs, some e-mail cards and snail mail from my aunt. Dan got me a boxed set of Metallica....how cool is that? We also went to Tower Records and wandered through the bargain bins. I found Billy Joel, George Clinton and Donny Iris. And since I can no longer have birthday cake, I treated myself to a Three Musketeers bar, which of course was delicious.

Right now I've got another headache and am way tired and a little nauseous. Didn't sleep at all well last night...my eyes are itchy, red and painful, so I kept waking up. I'm calling the opthalmologist tomorrow because I suspect this is Sjogren's related. Maybe I'll head to bed early tonight, early for me meaning before 3am.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 9

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Bonus Bonus Rave of the Day for March 21: 

Another funny from Ducky's Daily Grin (check under "Links" to go there)....

What would you do? You are one of *two* people on a malfunctioning airplane with only one parachute. How would you react?
Pessimist: you refuse the parachute because you might die on the jump anyway.

Optimist: you refuse the parachute because people have survived crashes just like this before.

Procrastinator: you play a game of Monopoly for the parachute.

Bureaucrat: you order them to conduct a feasibility study on parachute use in multi-engine aircraft under code red conditions.

Lawyer: you charge one parachute for helping them sue the airline.

Doctor: you tell them you need to run more tests, then take the parachute in order to make your next appointment.

Sales executive: you sell them the parachute at top retail rates and get the names of their friends and relatives who might like one too.

Internal Revenue Service: you confiscate the parachute along with their luggage, wallet, and gold fillings.

Advertiser: you strip-tease while singing that what they need is a neon parachute with computer altimeter for only $39.99.

Engineer: you make them another parachute out of aisle curtains and dental floss.

Scientist: you give them the parachute and ask them to send you a report on how well it worked.

Mathematician: you refuse to accept the parachute without proof that it will work in all cases.

Philosopher: you ask how they know the parachute actually exists.

English major: you explicate simile and metaphor in the parachute instructions.

Comparative Literature: you read the parachute instructions in all four languages.

Computer Science: you design a machine capable of operating a parachute as well as a human being could.

Economics: you plot a demand curve by asking them, at regular intervals, how much they would pay for a parachute.

Psychoanalysis: you ask them what the shape of a parachute reminds them of.

Drama: you tie them down so they can watch you develop the character of a person stuck on a falling plane without a parachute.

Art: you hang the parachute on the wall and sign it.

Republican: as you jump out with the parachute, you tell them to work hard and not expect handouts.

Democrat: you ask them for a dollar to buy scissors so you can cut the parachute into two equal pieces.

Libertarian: after reminding them of their constitutional right to have a parachute, you take it and jump out.

National Rifle Association: you shoot them and take the parachute.

Police Bigot: you beat them unconscious with the parachute.

Environmentalist: you refuse to use the parachute unless it is biodegradable.

Objectivist: your only rational and moral choice is to take the parachute, as the free market will take care of the other person.

Sports Fan: you start betting on how long it will take to crash.

Auto Mechanic: as long as you are looking at the plane engine, it works fine.

Ross Perot: you tell them not to worry, since it won't take you long to learn how to fix a plane.

Surgeon General: you issue a warning that skydiving can be hazardous to your health.

Association of Tobacco Growers: you explain very patiently that despite a number of remarkable coincidences, studies have shown no link whatsoever between airplane crashes and death.

Trying to catch up to myself... 

This past week has been so busy, I don't even remember all it was that I did. I'll try to recall a few highlights here....

Monday, I went to aquacise, the first day of a new 10-week session. I'm pretty much committed to staying with this mode of exercise for as long as it's offered. I have resolved to look into adding Pilates on some of the other days of the week, but so far, I haven't even kept up with my stretches. I'll probably start going back to some of my old stretching routines first. I had modified my routine to keep my weight off my feet after I had the surgery in November. Even though the incision is still not fully closed (no thanks to prednisone!), the foot is fully healed on the inside now, so I can go back to stair climbing and standing stretches.

Dan went to his primary care Monday about the infected lymph node. The doc put him on a five-day course of prednisone! I guess the stuff is both a blessing and a curse.

Tuesday, I got my allergy shot and went to the health food store. Why does gluten-free food have to cost more than twice what the unhealthy food does?? Ack.

Wednesday, acquacise and picking up prescriptions. I fell asleep in the car while reading an article in "Arthritis Today" magazine about, of all things, sleep deprivation!

Thursday, I went to a Sjogren's support group meeting. The national executive director of the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation was the speaker. We talked about how to promote awareness, to encourage research and about the first ever foundation fundraiser taking place next month. I learned that Sjogren's is the second most common autoimmune rheumatic disease....it's actually four times more common than lupus, even though lupus gets most of the publicity.

Friday, I went to get my driver's license renewed. The DMV place was packed because the state has laid off so many employees. To cut back on the crowds, they no longer give you a new license at the DMV....they just give you a piece of paper and then mail you the license in 30 days. So when I go to the comedy club next weekend and have to present ID, I get to wave a piece of paper at them.

Yesterday, I went to my fibromyalgia support group. We talked individually about how we were doing, then a man talked about using biofeedback as therapy, a woman who had gone into remission discussed what had worked for her, and one of the group leaders went over what she had learned at a conference on chronic illness. I like getting to compare notes on local docs and therapies. Then last night, Dan and I watched "Christine" on the dish.

Today, I went to Red Lobster with Dan, my dad, my stepmother, my stepbrother and his wife, and my sister and her boyfriend. I had two small broiled lobster tails, a bit of salad, some baked potato (I don't eat the skin anymore), a few steamed veggies and iced tea. My tummy was completely agreeable the whole time....I think I have really made a success out of my limited diet. I got birthday presents today... three movies including the extended release of "The Two Towers"! Wooo hooo! Now I just need to dedicate a weekend or two to watch all of it! Also went to church tonight.

Oh, and sometime during the course of the week (I don't remember exactly when), I made a poster on the computer promoting Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (May 12). It was for the Fibrohugs website (they are on my "Links" list). I thought it came out fairly well...it's purple with butterflies on it. Go figure.

Now I'm almost too exhausted to move. I promised myself I'd do a bit of tidying up tonight, but my butt seems to be glued to this chair. Bummer I've got to work tomorrow....normally I can take my birthday as a holiday off, but I used it for Dan's uncle's funeral last month instead.

I need to get up and go make some brown rice...anyone got a forklift?

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 9

Bonus Rave of the Day for March 21... 

Speaking of age (see post immediately below this one), wanna find out what famous people had accomplished at your age? Just go to this site and type in an age. It's up to you whether this inspires you or bums you out:

What Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age

Tomorrow I'll Be Forty...  

...I really will. I was thinking about this today, and remembered that my mom had written a poem with this title 21 years ago. I found it, so without further ado:

Tomorrow I'll Be Forty

I want to drive a foreign car,
I want to kiss a movie star,
I want to do something quite bizarre,
Tomorrow I'll be forty.

I want to go to Paris, France,
Want to learn to sing and dance,
Wear my clothes without underpants,
Tomorrow I'll be forty.

I want to party every night,
Kiss all the men just for spite,
Want to be beautiful instead of bright,
Tomorrow I'll be forty.

Instead I'll go to bed at nine,
Smile and say I'm really fine,
Leave those silly dreams behind,
Tomorrow I'll be forty.

Rave of the Day for March 21st.... 

My friend Robert must have read my mind (see my post immediately below this one), because he e-mailed me this little gem that made me feel a whole lot better:

Food for thought:

Ronald Reagan: divorced the mother of two of his children to marry Nancy Reagan: who bore him a daughter only 7 months after the marriage.

Bob Dole: divorced the mother of his child, who had nursed him through the long recovery from his war wounds.

Newt Gingrich:divorced his wife who was dying of cancer.

Dick Armey - House Majority Leader: divorced

Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas: divorced

Gov. John Engler of Michigan: divorced

Gov. Pete Wilson of California: divorced

George Will: divorced

Sen. Lauch Faircloth: divorced

Rush Limbaugh: Rush and his current wife Marta have six (6) marriages and four (4) divorces between them.

Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia: Barr, not yet 50 years old, has been married three times.
Barr had the audacity to author and push the "Defense of Marriage Act."
The current joke making the rounds on Capitol Hill is "Bob Barr...WHICH marriage are you defending?!?"

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York: divorced

Sen. John Warner of Virginia: divorced (once married to Liz Taylor)

Gov. George Allen of Virginia: divorced

Henry Kissinger: divorced

Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho: divorced

Sen. John McCain of Arizona: divorced

Rep. John Kasich of Ohio: divorced

Rep. Susan Molinari of New York, Republican National Convention Keynote Speaker: - divorced -

Don't let homosexuals destroy the institution of marriage?!?!

The Christian Republicans are doing a fine job without anyone's help!!

Political nightmare.... 

Even my dreams seem to be mired in the state of current events. A few nights ago, I dreamed that following the passage of the ban on same-sex marriage, the fundamentalists had gone one step further and invalidated all divorce. Therefore, everyone had to return to their first spouse. So there I was, trying to put on a brave face as my pup Chip and I moved in with my ex. Chip didn't like my ex much and chewed up everything the man owned. My ex, meanwhile, had gone back to his old real-life habit of asking me if I was going to sleep all day. He said I was a big baby, a whiner and that I wasn't really sick. He also said I was fat (another thing he had done in real life) and a slob. Even though it was only a dream, it did little to boost my self-esteem that day.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 20.... 

I've been in the mood for celebrity blogs lately. Here's one by Brett Butler the comedian. I'm going to see her at my local comedy club next Saturday.

This link may take you to the home page of her site rather than the blog. If it does, just click on "Missives" at the top of the page.

Brett Butler

If at first you don't succeed... 

Well, I tried my hand at cooking again today. I made turkey green chili from a recipe I found on the internet. We are having a chili cook-off at work on Friday...I've never made chili before, so I thought I'd better test it at home. Knowing my limited ability, I chose the simplest and least time-consuming recipe, something you could make in one pan.

The results? Well, I didn't mess it up in any way, but I found out I'm not terribly fond of green chili! It tasted good enough for me to eat, but I don't think I'll be making a batch for work.

So...back to the drawing board. I already know I like tomato-based chili, so I've selected another recipe that uses beans, tomato and turkey. I just hope it isn't too hot for me. It's more complicated than the first recipe and takes about three hours to make. I'll either make it on Thursday and refrigerate it overnight or make it Friday afternoon and bring it straight in to work.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Bonus Rave of the Day for March 14:  

Ok, if you've survived the shock of my post below, maybe you'll be ready for this. Margaret Cho (whom I will be seeing at a local comedy club next month) has created a website about the fight against the proposed ban on same-sex marriage. If you are so inclined, I urge you to get involved. I have signed Ms. Cho's petition, the HRC one and the one via People For the American Way. If you feel the proposed amendment is unacceptable, don't hestitate to let your elected officals know it.
Love is Love is Love

Sunday, March 14, 2004

This will offend some people.... 

There. All readers have been warned. This post marks a departure for me.

I've left hints here and there about my true feelings on certain controversial issues. Haven't been able to help it because it's part of who I am. On the flat-out taboo subjects, though, I've been for the most part silent. I'm the sort who will fall mute in the presence of a more conservative viewpoint held by someone else. Call it wimpy if you want....I call it self-preservation, especially if the person I want to get along with happens to be related to me. I'd rather keep my mouth shut than be disowned.

But a few things have happened recently that have made me reconsider the wisdom of my silence. One incident I still decline to discuss publicly because it has the real possibility of causing a rift that might never heal. The other, however, is public knowledge, so I think it is fair game.

I've been thinking about this for a long time and have finally come to the conclusion that I would cause more harm pretending this issue didn't exist than risk the offense of those who read my blog. Just remember as you see this that I didn't start the fire. The US government did.

Don't get me wrong. I have always had views about politics and religion. But I've also always had a paranoid fear of someone hating me for expressing those views. So I've reserved most of my diatribes for those I felt were like-minded or at least not argumentative. Right now I feel like I'm jumping off a diving board blindfolded, not knowing if there is any water in the pool.

I am disturbed by the Bush administration's endorsement of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. I believe very strongly that not only is it wrong but also dangerous to amend our constitution to deny anyone their civil rights. And bringing religion into it is even more wrong. In case everyone has forgotten, our founding fathers for the most part were NOT Christian, they were deist. The US is supposed to be about freedom OF religion, not the establishment of it, yet some of our elected officials are trying to tell us what constitutes a holy union. I did not elect anyone to tell me who my creator wants me to marry. We are not a Christian nation. If I wanted to live in one, I'd move somewhere else.

Proponents of this amendment say that same-sex unions will undermine the institution of marriage. How exactly is this a threat to heterosexuals? Are there really that many straight people afraid that they or their children are going to be kidnapped and brainwashed into "going gay" like it was some religious cult? Homosexuality is not a disease or a cult. There is nothing to be afraid of. My femininity is not threatened in any way by a woman who is attracted to other women. My marriage will not suffer whatsoever if a gay couple is also allowed to marry. If one is in a committed love relationship with another consenting adult and wishes to take on the responsibility that comes with marriage, why deny it just because the two adults happen to be the same gender? Happily married couples live longer, provide a more stable home life for their children and even help stabilize the economy by making joint purchases of those big ticket items such as houses. I'm just not seeing where same-sex marriage makes a mockery of matrimony.

I keep getting told that God meant for marriage to be between one man and one woman, that anything else is unholy. I am not convinced of this. The Bible is full of stories of men who had many wives. Were they unholy? Traditionally, this one man, one woman arrangement was one of practicality for the means of creating children. It had little to do with love. Was that sinful? Now we marry for love, ideally anyway. Love can occur just as easily with two people of the same gender as two people of the opposite gender. Where is the blasphemy here? Am I more holy just because I married a man? Absolutely not.

And I keep hearing these vague references to the "gay lifestyle". What is that supposed to mean? I've never been told that my heterosexual lifestyle is a threat to anyone. No one knows what I do or don't do in the privacy of my own home except my husband. The "gay lifestyle" reference makes about as much sense as saying that me being childless is a slap in the face to everyone who has kids. And this business about all homosexuals flaunting their "alternative" lifestyle is a myth. Face it...some people do march in parades, but most do not. Most have lives that don't sound that glamorous....they work for a living, pay their taxes, some go to church, some have kids. Most you would never know if they were gay or straight. They just want to be happy, find love, pay their bills. That makes them human, not alternative. I want to hold hands in public with the person I love. I would expect no less of a same sex couple.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. It is not my place to start tossing boulders into other people's lives. It is not the business of my government, either. We are ALL precious in our creator's sight. It is up to our creator, not us, to judge morality. Don't legislate love.

Rave of the Day for March 14: 

All I can say is that Chip must have read this set of rules before we adopted him. From the Queen of Quack (Ducky)....

Pup's Games To Play With Humans

After your humans give you a bath, DON'T LET THEM TOWEL DRY YOU! Instead, run to their bed, jump up and dry yourself off on the sheets. This is especially good if it's right before your humans' bedtime.

Let the humans teach you a new trick. Learn it perfectly. When the humans try to demonstrate it to someone else, stare blankly back at the humans. Pretend you have no idea what they're talking about.

Act like a convicted criminal. When the humans come home, put your ears back, tail between your legs, chin down and act as if you have done something really bad. Then, watch as the humans frantically search the house for the damage they think you have caused. Note: (This only works when you have done absolutely nothing wrong).

Make your humans be patient. When you go outside to go 'pee', sniff around the entire yard as your humans wait. Act as if the spot you choose to go pee will ultimately decide the fate of the earth.

Draw attention to the human. When out for a walk always pick the busiest, most visible spot to go 'poo'. Take your time and make sure everyone watches. This works particularly well if your humans have forgotten to bring a plastic bag.

When out for a walk, alternate between choking and coughing every time a strange human walks by.

Make your own rules. Don't always bring back the stick when playing fetch with the humans. Make the human go fetch the stick or frisbee once in a while.

Hide from your humans. When your humans come home, don't greet them at the door. Instead, hide from them, and make them think something terrible has happened to you. (Don't reappear until one of your humans is panic-stricken and close to tears).

When your human calls you to come back in, always take your time. Walk as slowly as possible back to the door.

Wake up two hours before the alarm clock is set to go off, and make the humans take you out for your morning pee. As soon as you get back inside, fall asleep. Note: (Humans can rarely fall back asleep after going outside, so this will drive them nuts)!

No chef's hat for me... 

Ok, when I say I don't cook, I really mean it. Someone recently suggested I make soup in a crock pot, and I couldn't remember if I had one. Went through the cabinets and did find one, unused since I bought this house in 1998. Oh, and the day after I got married, my new mother-in-law was rifling through my cabinets and called out, "Where do you keep your corn starch?" I had to laugh because I didn't even know what corn starch was.

Anyway, going gluten-free in November has often proved to be an exercise in frustration. The most aggravating thing is that when I go to family gatherings, I can almost never eat dessert because everyone brings the usual cookies, cake, pie. Not that I ever ate much of that stuff anyway, but I used to at least have a bite or two. For some reason, I decided recently that the best solution would be to bring my own dessert so I'd know I could have some. Trouble is, the last time I made a dessert was eight years ago when I attempted to make Dan a birthday cake. During that particular adventure, I couldn't spread the frosting without the cake crumbling underneath it. Ended up with crumb-y frosting and an even crummier outlook.

I guess enough time had passed to give me amnesia because I decided I wanted to make a dessert to bring to the potluck at work next week. Knowing how out of practice I was, I thought I'd better give it a trial run this weekend. A little birdy told me about a recipe for cheesecake cupcakes that doesn't use flour, so I thought I'd start with that. Bought actual white sugar for the first time in ten years...felt so weird. Hauled out the Kitchen-aid mixer I inherited from my mom, who made wedding cakes with it. I'd only used it once before, during a disastrous attempt at making mashed potatoes. I have to admit it made softening the cream cheese really easy. After so many years of trying to keep white sugar out of my diet, I actually felt guilty pouring a whole cup of the stuff into the batter and than another entire cup into the frosting. I guess I thought the diet police were going to arrest me or something.

Even though I followed the recipe to the letter, it was a bit like a person who only drives an automatic transmission suddenly trying to maneuver a stick shift....I kept thinking I would wreck the car, or in my case, the kitchen. It wasn't quite that bad, but before I was done, I had sticky hands, batter on my pjs and cream cheese in my hair! I got impatient using a spoon to put the batter in the cup holders, so I used a ladle. I didn't dare pour the batter in with my shaky hands. I thought I'd overfilled the cups at first because they were nearly overflowing as they baked. I didn't know they would sink after I took them out to cool. Good thing they did, so I had a place to put the frosting. I have no idea if they cooked the right amount of time...I can never remember how to convert for high altitude. All I know is that it takes five minutes to cook a three minute egg here.

Interesting result...moist like cheesecake, but almost solid enough to pass as cake. I liked it ok, but I have no idea if the average person would eat it. Can't decide if I'm going to make a second batch for the pot luck or not. Maybe I should just be grateful I didn't burn the house down and go back to what I know: nuking, broiling and boiling.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Bonus Rave of the Day for March 13.... 

With as much time as I spend at the computer, Dan likes to complain that he has to make an appointment just to send a friend an e-mail. So when I saw this "letter" on Ducky's Daily Grin (which is on my Links list), I just had to show it to him. This is for all you computer widows and widowers:

To My Darling Wife

I'm sending you this letter in a bogus software company envelope so you'll be sure to read it. Please forgive the deception, but I thought you should know what's been going on since your computer entered our lives two years ago.

The children are doing well. Kevin is 7 now and is a bright, handsome boy. He has developed quite an interest in the arts. He drew a family portrait for a school project. All the figures were good, but yours was excellent! The chair and back of your head are very realistic. You would be proud of him.

Little Nikki turned 3 in September. She looks a lot like you did at that age. She is an attractive child and quite smart. She still remembers that you spent the whole afternoon with us on her birthday. What a grand day for Nikki, despite the fact that it was stormy and the electricity was out.

I discovered that the household chores are much easier since I realised that you didn't mind being vacuumed and that the feather duster made you sneeze.

The house is in good shape. I had the living room painted last spring. I'm not sure if you noticed it. I asked the painters to cut air holes in the drop cloths so you wouldn't be disturbed.

Well dear, I must be going. The family is leaving on a ski trip and there is much packing to do. I've hired a house-keeper to take care of things while we are away. She'll keep things in order, fill your coffee cup and bring your meals to the computer room just the way you like it.

I hope you and the computer have a lovely time while we are gone. Kevin, Nikki and I think of you often. Try to remember us while your hard-disk is booting.


Telling something good.... 

Even though I was awakened today by the aching in my hands, I decided not to think about that and see instead if I could think about something good. For once the negatives weren't crowding me quite so much, and I was actually able to come up with a few.

One is that I am still able to find entertaining things to do when I am too sick to leave the house. My command center (ok, the computer desk) is overflowing with articles, books, cute quotes, projects, etc. There are few occasions in my life when I complain of being bored.

I have an amazing support system, both online and in person. I belong to local groups for Sjogren's and fibro. My church is as open and accepting as one could imagine. My closest friends did not desert me when I got sick. My hubby continues to put up with my tantrums and still seems to like me. Even my dog "hugs" me on my down days and endures such indignities as when I insist on kissing the top of his furry little head.

So far, I have remained gainfully employed and make enough money to pay the medical bills.

Even with all my sensitivities to medication, I seem to have found a workable combo. My current staff of docs (I like referring to them that way...it makes me sound like I'm in control) is competant, and some of them are actually extremely good. I found a mode of exercise I can do (aquacise) and am considering adding some Pilates in the coming weeks. My supplements, while expensive, go a long way toward making up for the prescription medications I can't tolerate. Contrary to what I feared when I first went gluten-free in November, I did NOT starve to death (I have lost 25 pounds, though) and actually have a lot of food in the house.

Somewhere behind all the fog, I still have a brain.

Lastly, even though I frequently feel like a whiner at the losing end of my ailments, I am not perceived that way by everyone. Three people in as many weeks have told me that they find it encouraging that I continue to get out of bed every day when possible. What I see as stubbornness is seen by some as positive in that I haven't given up. I made sure I told these people that I really appreciated these statements, as they came at a time that I needed them most.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 6

Rave of the Day for March 13.... 

Not for the easily offended, the Onion is the best parody newspaper in the biz. This week's cover story was especially hilarious. Thanks to Robert for alerting me to it:
Jesus Demands Creative Control Over His Next Movie

Better mood.... 

My headache finally subsided after three days. Don't know if that will be the end of them with the anti-inflammatory or not. Guess I'll wait and see as it is at least helping somewhat with the arthritis stiffness. That in turn takes down the fibromyalgia pain a few notches.

Decreased the amount of fish oil I am taking, and the tummy seems to be accepting this so far. Unfortunately, the pain increased as the dose decreased, but it's still better than it was before I started this supplement, so I'll hang in there for awhile longer and see what happens.

Still tapering down the prednisone (was prescribed it for Sjogren's). I'm down to 4mg per day, and will decrease it by 1mg per week until I'm off completely. The side effects are starting to lessen thanks to this, but at the same time, a lot of my Sjogren's symptoms are returning. Started getting a rash a month ago when the dose went down to 7mg, and every time I decrease the dose, the rash shows up in more places. The tinnitus and eye problems also get worse with every decrease. The tinnitus I can't do much about, but I've been putting hot compresses on my eyes every night before bed, and it helps. The good news is that the incision from the foot surgery I had last November is ALMOST healed over. Whew.

The best news, though, is that in spite of all these little annoyances, I woke up yesterday feeling almost pleasant emotionally. It's not like I was depressed before, but it is difficult to not be overwhelmed mentally by this illness. I felt better able to cope than usual. This probably sounds crazy, but I think the fish oil may have something to do with this. Whatever the cause, I must be doing something right.

Thought I'd share something positive for once.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 6

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Why I hate hockey.... 

You've all heard the joke about going to a fight and a hockey game broke out. Well, one of those fights nearly cost a player his life. Monday night during a game, Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche was hit from behind by Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks. Moore fell to the ice under the weight of the other player. It didn't stop there. Moore was held to the ice while he bled from deep lacerations to his face. Worst of all, Moore's neck was broken....in two places. The Vancouver crowd cheered initially, then fell silent when it became apparent that a serious injury had taken place. The hit was retaliation for Moore injuring a Canuck a month earlier.

To be honest, I'm surprised something this serious hasn't happened before. Why do we cheer violence in the form of a game? Reward men with millions of dollars for what amounts to legalized assault? The three worst offenders that come to mind in the US are football, hockey and boxing. Especially boxing. What is entertaining about men hitting each other in the face until one is unconscious?? And the harder someone is hit, the louder we cheer. In football, I keep hearing about whether or not someone was knocked to the ground with a "clean hit". Isn't life dangerous and fragile enough without intentionally inducing concussions, broken bones and worse? And when I complain about this to the sports nuts, they always shrug and say, "It's only a game." Sure. A game with millions of dollars at stake, and careers becoming increasingly shortened by injury.

Kids are raised to believe that knocking each other to the ground is more important than learning how to read or write. You can make a lot more money being a bully than you can becoming a mathematical genius. And we wonder why many of these players can't seem to stop being aggressive when they're off the field, away from the ice or out of the ring. They hit their wives or girlfriends, engage in drunken brawls, and some have committed murder or rape. They've been so well rewarded for violence that it carries over into their personal lives. But it's only a game.

I don't hate all sports. I will admit to being a baseball fan, although I believe the players are overpaid there too. Baseball doesn't encourage its players to hit each other in the face with their fists. In fact, doing so is the fastest way to be thrown out of the game. All sports have certain dangers inherent in them. I once saw a baseball player hit in the head with a 90mph fastball, and it was terrifying. He went down so fast, and while he was unconscious, I feared for a moment that he had died. But no one, NO ONE cheered.

Call me a hypocrite, or even a Scrooge. I don't care. There's a 25-year-old man with two fractured vertebrae in his neck who may never indulge in a fight or hockey again. Is it really only a game?

Rave of the Day for March 10: 

Margaret Cho is going to be at my local comedy club next month, and I'm going to try to go. While on the comedy club's website, I found a link to her site, which had a link to her blog. Even if you don't agree with her politics (I do, for the most part), take a peek at her blog....it's very well written. I was especially moved by the tribute she wrote to Spalding Gray....
Margaret Cho's BLOG

Rats. Had a setback. 

Second night in a row for the headache. Now I know it's not from overdoing anything, because I didn't DO anything physical today. I even overslept so late I couldn't get my hair cut (I think I'll try for Thursday). This feels suspiciously like the headaches I got the first two days I started the new anti-inflammatory medication. I don't understand why an anti-inflammatory would cause headaches when most people use them to get rid of headaches. I'm not due to see the rheumatologist again for another two months, so I'll give this some time to settle out before I call him to ask if I should switch medications. I've already tried so many....

The fish oil caused a bit of digestive distress today, so I'll cut back on it some more. I hope it will still provide relief at a lower dose. I wish I knew why I'm so sensitive to everything.

My eyes have been driving me crazy the past two days. The left one feels like something is stuck in it. It's red, but I don't see anything foreign in there. I've used about a gallon of eyedrops. Nothing has helped for more than a half hour. I'm not sure what the deal is.

The worst part, though, is that I fell asleep at work again tonight, even though I got nine hours of sleep last night. What's it gonna take to keep me alert? I know nobody has the answer to that....if I did, I'd be declaring it to the whole world in between shouts of "Halleluiah!"

I am trying not to be discouraged. I've just had so many setbacks the past few years that I'm almost afraid to get my hopes up. I know better than to look for a cure....I just want to get functional and stay that way. My goal is a pain level consistently less than 5 out of 10 and a fatigue level consistently less than 7.

Before I go to bed, I'm going to try to publish some pix I edited over the weekend. If I can get it to work this time, I'll have a sense of accomplishment. Easier to go to sleep feeling something was accomplished.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 9: 

From the mighty Duck....

Oh boy, these are nasty... but FUNNY too! (don't try this at home)
These are entries to a Washington Post competition asking for a rhyme with the most romantic first line but ... the least romantic second line:

Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss
But I only slept with you, because I was pissed.

I thought that I could love no other
Until, that is, I met your brother.

Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl's empty and so is your head.

Of loving beauty you float with grace!
If only you could hide your face.

Kind, intelligent, loving and hot;
This describes everything you are not.

I want to feel your sweet embrace
But don't take that paper bag off of your face.

I love your smile, your face, and your eyes-
Damn, I'm good at telling lies!

My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife:
Marrying you screwed up my life.

I see your face when I am dreaming.
That's why I always wake up screaming.

My love, you take my breath away.
What have you stepped in to smell this way?

My feelings for you no words can tell,
Except for maybe "go to he!!"

What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.

I can MOVE! 

Got up this morning and went to aquacise. We do one exercise where we walk around the pool, stretching each knee to the opposite elbow. I usually can't get my knees very high. Today, though, I was able to lift my knees fully waist-high for the first time in at least six months. What a pleasant surprise! I'm getting a rotten headache now, though...perhaps in my excitement at being able to move freely again, I overdid it a bit?

I noticed today, too, that I seem to be a bit less fibro-foggy. I really needed a break because it has been pretty bad for a solid year now. Hard to explain....today it seemed like it was less of an effort to successfully complete a thought.

I'm thinking of getting my hair cut tomorrow...or, as Ducky says, I might as well get ALL my hairs cut. There's a new place that just opened up near the house offering a grand opening discount on hair cuts. Haven't even had a trim since August. It has gotten so long that when I braid it, I run out of arm and still have hair left over!

Looks like it's my bedtime. I'm off to go see if I can get some of that elusive quality sleep.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Monday, March 08, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 8: 

Speaking of technical glitches (as I was in the post below this one), there is a site that has some pretty funny ideas for new, improved error messages. Laughs courtesy of Ducky....

Comical Computer Errors


Took Dan to the ER Friday night for an infected lymph node on the left side of his neck. It was pressing on nerves and muscle, causing pain to radiate down into his chest. Tonight, Dan's still hurting quite a bit. He's not had swollen lymph nodes before and now can appreciate when I get ear infections and/or bronchitis, which makes the nodes on BOTH sides swell up. He has promised to call his primary care doc in the morning. The ER doc gave him a lot of crap for not contacting his primary care last Wednesday, which is when this whole thing started. We were told to watch for fever and any worsening, neither of which has happened, BUT the swelling hasn't started going down yet. I've read enough about lymphoma in Sjogren's to know better than to ignore stuff like this.

The editors of the book sections of the newspapers I work for get all kinds of advance copies from publishers so they can be read and reviewed before the books hit the stores. The editors don't keep most of the stuff they read, so four times a year, these books are sold to the employees to raise money for scholarships. This quarter's sale was Wednesday and Thursday. I bought ten books for myself this time. One is called "Let Them Eat Prozac" by David Healy. It's about how the drug companies covered up evidence of their SSRI's causing patients to commit suicide. I was VERY impressed with it. It will come out in June. Another is called "The Etiquette of Illness" by Susan Halpern. It's for healthy people who don't know what to say around one who is chronically ill, and for the ill people who want to make others more comfortable around them. I'm happy I bought it because I could see it being useful in many situations, and the author (who had cancer) is very compassionate. It publishes next month. Let's see....the other stuff....oh, a huge coffee table book about how Cleopatra was depicted through the ages with some 400 photos of coins, statues, pottery, paintings, hieroglyphics, etc. Would retail for $90, but I got it for $10. Also, books about the Beatles, J.R.R. Tolkien, Katherine Hepburn, Shakespeare, and the art of writing. I'm such a geek.

I bought a Linkin Park CD. Best description would be heavy metal meets emo music. Very popular with teens, but I think they are teens with good taste.

Tonight, I made polenta pizza. I will have to adjust it next time....the recipe says seven minutes at 350 degrees, but that didn't even heat it all the way through, and I ended up nuking it. The leftovers will be good, though....what is it about Italian food that make it taste so much better the second time you heat it? Maybe that's just me.

Had a heck of a migraine for a few days last week from my new anti-inflammatory. Thought for awhile I would have to discontinue it, but awoke on Tuesday feeling much better. Haven't had any more problems, so I'll stick with it. The medication is helping.....gets rid of about half of the joint pain and stiffness.

Tuesday, I went to my primary care doc about the rash on my bad heel and elsewhere. She said it was dermatitis, probably aggravated by having to keep my open incision bandaged all the time (I'm still applying the Panafil daily). She prescribed a new cream for the rash. It's called Elidel, which sounds more like a Tolkien character than a medication, if you ask me. Anyway, she told me to put it on the rash twice a day, alternating with Benedryl cream. Took three days, but the itching finally did subside for the most part. The bumps haven't gone away yet, though, so I'll keep using the cream for awhile longer.

Started a new supplement on Thursday....pharmeceutical-grade fish oil. This is oil that has had the impurities removed from it. It is a natural anti-inflammatory. The idea is to complement the prescription medication rather than replace it. I am pleased to report that my pain level is greatly reduced, now down to about a 4 where it was 8-10 most of the time before I switched medications. I had to cut back a bit on the dose of the fish oil, though, as it was upsetting my digestion some.

So now my biggest remaining hurdle is the fatigue. It has decreased slightly since I started the fish oil, I think because my pain level is down. Stands to reason that hurting a lot would be tiring. I still need quite a lot of sleep, though, and wear out much faster than the average person. I hope that after I've been sleeping better for awhile (due to reduced pain), I will get more energy back. I would really love to stop being knocked on my butt by the sledgehammer of fatigue.

Finally got my holiday pix edited, but now I'm having trouble getting them on a web page due to some technical glitch. First I didn't have enough available web space, but I fixed that after doing some updates. Wonder if one of the updates changed something vital. You'd think I'd know more about this derned computer with all the time I spend on it. Rats.

For those of you who haven't visited Fibrohugs lately, it has a new look. Same addy, though. You can find it on my Links list. It has new forums for fibromyalgia, Sjogren's, friends and family, and chronic illness in general. I spent an inordinate amount of time this week getting the hang of the new boards. Was worth it, though.

Another weekend where I don't feel I accomplished much. Maybe I'll get a fire lit under my butt next weekend. Maybe.

Pain level: 4
Fatigue level: 7

Rave of the Day for March 7: 

Speaking of literacy (see post immediately below this one), these are a few years old, but still crack me up...

These are real notices spotted around the world and written by....well....let's just say "people whose first language is not English".

In a Tokyo hotel:
"Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If your are not a person to do such a thing please not to read notis."

In an Athens hotel:
"Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11am daily."

In a Japanese hotel:
"You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
"You are welcome to visit the cemetary where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday."

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
"Ladies may have a fit upstairs."

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
"Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation."

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
"It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose."

In a Rome laundry:
"Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time."

In a Budapest zoo:
"Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty."

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Temporary insanity? 

Lots of stupid politics going on, both with my employer and my union. My employer has umpteen managers giving us umpteen different instructions, and they want to lay off eight more workers when we still haven't resolved the suit over the 10 who were laid off last year. My union has a couple of members upset over the outcome of an election from A YEAR AGO, and they pick fights no matter what the issue is. Dan and I are on the executive committee of the union, which means we help make decisions on whether someone was wrongly fired or whether someone is violating union policy. A disgruntled co-worker decided the union president was violating our by-laws, so the executive committe was asked to rule on it. We decided the by-laws are too vague in several areas including the one in question, and they need to be updated. Today, the committee came up with new wording for the section causing the controversy, with the recommendation that a new committee be formed to update all the by-laws. Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Wait, it gets better.

At the union meeting that immediately followed the exec committee decision, they asked for three volunteers for re-writing the by-laws. One was the ex-wife of the president, and another was the disgruntled guy who wants to oust the president. No one else wanted to do it. I've been a member for nine years, long enough to know that leaving the job to these two people would cause more problems than it would solve. So I verrrrrry reluctantly held up my hand. Sigh.

So now who's crazy, them or me? I barely have the energy to work, much less be on two committees. And I know I'm in for endless hours of arguing with the disgruntled guy. But I also know the other two people aren't particularly good writers and could make a bad situation worse without someone fairly literate to help them.

Hmmmm....the more I think about it, the more sure I am that I'm the nutty one...

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 6: 

This came in an e-mail from my friend Robert. Hilarious!

Music Industry Unveils New Piracy-Proof Format

Truly revolutionary!!

Music bosses have unveiled a revolutionary new recording format that they hope will help win the war on illegal file sharing which is thought to be costing the industry millions of dollars in lost revenue. Nicknamed the 'Record', the new format takes the form of a black, vinyl disc measuring 12 inches in diameter, which must be played on a specially designed 'turntable'.

"We can state with absolute certainty that no computer in the world can access the data on this disc," said spokesman Brett Campbell. "We are also confident that no-one is going to be able to produce pirate copies in this format without going to a heck of a lot of trouble. This is without doubt the best anti-piracy invention the music industry has ever seen."

As part of the invention's rigorous testing process, the designers gave some discs to a group of teenage computer experts who regularly use file swapping software such as Limewire and gnutella and who admit to pirating music CDs. Despite several days of trying, none of them were able to hack into the disc's code or access any of the music files contained within it. "It's like, really big and stuff," said Doug Flamboise, one of the testers. "I couldn't get it into any of my drives. I mean, what format is it? Is it, like, from France or something?"

In the new format, raw audio data in the form of music is encoded by physically etching grooves onto the vinyl disc. The sound is thus translated into variations on the disc's surface in a process that industry insiders are describing as 'completely revolutionary' and 'stunningly clever.' To decode the data stored on the disc, the listener must use a special player which contains a 'needle' that runs along the grooves on the record surface, reading the indentations and transforming the movements back into audio that can be fed through loudspeakers.

Even Shawn Fanning, the man who invented Napster, admits the new format will make file swapping much more difficult. "I've never seen anything like this," he told reporters. "How does it work?"

As rumors that a Taiwanese company has been secretly developing a 12 inch wide, turntable-driven, needle-based, firewire drive remain unconfirmed, it would appear that the music industry may, at last, have found the pirate-proof format it has long been searching for.

Weird week at work... 

Actually, I guess the weirdness started last week. A rumor was going around that there would be more layoffs, then Dan and I started training in the page output area. That training stopped after just one night...no explanation.

Then on Monday, it was decided that we should start learning InDesign, an application that will be used when we switch ad production systems. But I didn't go back to train...I guess we were too busy with work.

On Wednesday, the president of the union met with us and informed us that the company does indeed want to lay off eight more people, but my employer's hands are sort of tied because they already have one suit against them for illegally laying off 10 people last year. So they can lay off, but only if they want another suit. We were also informed that the plan now is to have us working side by side with the department who has been stealing our work for the past seven years. I don't know what to think about that.

Then Thursday, I saw why the company wants to cut back even more....the plans for their new building were announced. The project is estimated to cost $83 million!! I don't think eliminating eight people from our department is going to save them that much money, though. How about trimming off a few of the execs that get $500,000 bonuses? I guess that would be too easy. Anyway, that night, I was first told to train on InDesign, then it was decided to bring ads from the other paper for us to work on. As far as I know, our contract forbids removing work from any facility...the can fax us work orders, but the original has to stay there. Our illustrious foreman either didn't know or didn't care about this and did it anyway. We got the extra ads done early, though, so the foreman changed his mind again and had me go train. Luckily, the course is in book form, so we can go at our own pace without an instructor present, and it is very easy to learn.

I think the problem is too many bosses and not enough regular workers. The peons are definitely an endangered species. If they get rid of eight more of us, who the heck is gonna do the work? Are they all just gonna stand there and boss each other around?

Oh, and to top it all off, we have a union meeting tomorrow. I certainly wish that the people who were whining the loudest at the work meeting on Wednesday would show up at the union hall and find out for themselves what's going on. But they'd rather complain about the decisions that are made in their absence. For the executive committee meeting tomorrow (right before the union meeting), I have to write up a proposal for a change in the by-laws. Not looking forward to it because when it goes before the rest of the union members, there will be the inevitable bickering. Oh, well.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Rave of the Day for March 1.... 

Some of these I've seen before, but all are absolutely hilarious! Thanks to bejo at Fibrohugs for this contribution...

These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

2. Announcement in a church bulletin for a national PRAYER & FASTING Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals."

3. The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water. " The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."

4. Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

5. "Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands."

6. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you.

8. Don't let worry kill you off -- let the Church help.

9. Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

10. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

11. Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

12. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons.

13. During the absence of our Pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J. F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.

14. The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing "Break Forth into Joy."

15. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

16. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

17. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

18. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

19. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

20. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

21. Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

22. The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.

23. Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 P.M. - prayer and medication to follow.

24. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

25. This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

26. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

27. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

28. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

29. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

30. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

31. The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours."

32. Our next song is "Angels We Have Heard Get High."

Now I'm really cookin'..... 

Yes, I finally got brave and made my own soup yesterday. I used a recipe I found in a box of quinoa to make quinoa corn chowder. It's basically corn, potatoes, carrots, onions, quinoa, parsley, milk and water with just a little seasoning. It didn't take all day to make, it tasted ok, and most importantly, the smoke alarm didn't go off. Dan and I polished it off today.

Another night of poor sleep last night....this time, it was the triple whammy of itching from the rash on my foot, alternating fever and chills, and of course the revered foot cramps. If I can't get good sleep on a Sunday when I have nothing to, I'm in trouble. I tried to make up for it by staying home all day, but the fatigue hit hard again about an hour ago. Rats. If I had any sense, I'd try to go to bed early tonight so tomorrow's aquacise might not knock me out so much.

Looked up my new anti-inflammatory online last night....the info said it takes about four days to become fully effective. I took my first pill before bed last night and woke up slightly less stiff today. It was a little easier to do my stretches than it has been lately. It seems to have worn off now though. At least no stomach upset or anything else in the way of side effects (yet).

Watched the Academy Awards tonight. Dan and I had a bit of a competition going to see who could pick the most winners....we ended up with a tie at 12 correct picks apiece. LOTR "Return of the King" swept all 11 awards it was nominated for, which was way cool. Now I want to run out and buy the extended release of "The Two Towers"....I have to do something to tide me over until part 3 comes out on DVD. My pick for best dress went to Catherine Zeta Jones....she should wear red all the time. Worst dress by far was on Uma Thurman....looked like she was trying to be a taffeta milkmaid in disco heels. And not an unclad boob in sight. Tim Robbins went for the black on black on black, which I rather liked. Joan Rivers, eat your heart out, ha ha.

Pain level: 8
Fatigue level: 9

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