Thursday, April 29, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 29: 

I really needed the laughs I got from this. It's a real E-bay item, but the funniest item description I've ever read! Thanks to Marci for e-mailing me this:


Saturday, April 24, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 24: 

In the words of Monty Python......And now for something completely different (courtesy of Ducky, of course)...

A day in the life at the etch-a-sketch help desk...

1 Q: My Etch-A-Sketch has all of these funny little lines all over the screen.
A: Pick it up and shake it.

2 Q: How do I turn my Etch-A-Sketch off?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

3 Q: What's the shortcut for Undo?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

4 Q: How do I create a New Document window?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

5 Q: How do I set the background and foreground to the same color?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

6 Q: What is the proper procedure for rebooting my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

7 Q: How do I delete a document on my Etch-A-Sketch?
A: Pick it up and shake it.

8 Q: How do I save my Etch-A-Sketch document?
A: Don't shake it.

Fibromyalgia "anniversary".... 

Four years ago today, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. At that point, I had been sick for a little over three years and had been told everything from MS to lupus to psychosomatic illness. I had seen neurologists and shrinks, but none of them ever suspected fibromyalgia. Even the primary care doc who sent me to the rheumatologist was stumped.

When the rheumatologist came into the room during my first appointment with him, he did the tender point test right away. Wouldn't you know I had all 18 of the derned things, and the area at the base of my collar bone was so sensitive that it hurt for two weeks after he pressed it. I had to ask him what fibromyalgia was, and I got a very vague answer in reply. I asked what I could do about it and the answer was, "very little". He prescribed Trazodone and an anti-inflammatory (which didn't work), handed me a small pamphlet from the Arthritis Foundation, and sent me on my merry way.

What a difference four years makes! Now I probably know almost as much as a rheumatologist does. There is so much more to this illness than was contained in that little pamphlet, which focused mainly on attitude, exercise and anti-depressants. I had no interest in researching chronic illness before I got sick....now I am surrounded by books on managing fibromyalgia, and my web browser has dozens of health and medical links bookmarked. Since diagnosis, I have lost over 50 pounds, have learned to eat and take supplements for maximum nutrition, have made great strides in improving my sleep troubles, have learned not to stress over unimportant things, and have even found an emergency pain medication that I can tolerate. Best of all, I can give and receive encouragement, both in person at my local support group and online at Fibrougs.com.

I am trying to remind myself lately that I HAVE made progress, no matter how awful I feel right now. Such things help in times when it feels like I am swimming against the tide. I don't ALWAYS dog-paddle in circles.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 9

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 21: 

Watched "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" tonight. I admit it's the only current show I watch. What I particularly liked about the episode tonight was that they took the makeover candidate to a health-food store. His wife had a gluten intolerance, and they wanted to show him the gluten-free products so the two of them could eat together. The cooking expert had him make his wife a raspberry parfait....the guy messed it up some, but his wife really appreciated the effort.

I feel like an idiot.... 

Ok, I WAS warned, by Dan, by my friends. They all expressed concern that I had too much activity scheduled over the weekend. But I was sooooo hoping the tide had turned and that I would be able to do one or two extras for a change. And I planned a whole day of rest on Sunday, figuring that would help. It used to be that when my pain level was low, as long as I got enough sleep, the fatigue would recede. I guess my body no longer plays by that rule.

When I awoke on Friday, a path was cleared in the house for the delivery of the new bookcase, but I'd still not dusted anywhere, and there was still some clutter and dirty kitchen countertops to take care of before my in-laws arrived. Dan had to get some work done on the car and wait around most of the afternoon until it was ready (we only have one car) and then go to work, so I was pretty much on my own. The bookcase delivery went smoothly, and I got to work on putting away some CDs in the living room. I'd forgotten, though, that the couch had been moved to make room for the delivery guys, and I caught my heel on the wooden frame. OUCH! I lost a lot of skin, and it began to swell, so I had to stop what I was doing and ice the derned thing. That took up time I didn't have to spare....next thing I knew, it was time to start making some chili so Dan's parents would have something to eat when they arrived. Well, what I thought was a three-hour recipe turned out to be four. I somehow found the energy to hastily dust the downstairs and organize all the receipts, catalogs, newspapers, etc. that had been lying around. But I had only just started dusting the upstairs when I heard the door slam of an SUV. Dan's parents had arrived....an HOUR AND A HALF before I was expecting them! I was all sweaty with my hair coming out of my ponytail, and I smelled like dust and cleaning products because I hadn't gotten to shower yet. So I threw the rags and the furniture polish in my bedroom and answered the door. I was able to sneakily clean the kitchen after they arrived under the guise of cooking the chili, which was nowhere near finished yet. Then I excused myself and took a shower while Dan's parents brought in their stuff from the truck. We had a late supper and watched "Seabiscuit" on DVD. Went to bed early for me so I could get up for the big day Saturday.

The alarm went off at 7am, almost unheard of for me. Dan had generously offered to participate in the Sjogren's Walkabout with me, so he had to get up too. Suprisingly, Dan's parents decided to go too. The walk/fundraiser took place in a mall across town. After I registered, I talked with several of the people I recognized from support group meetings. The turnout wasn't too bad....I think a hundred or so? Not bad for the first-ever such event in the US. We had a DJ and a mascot, and the Sjogren's Foundation CEO was there from Washington, DC. A local TV reporter told us how, after attending a support group meeting for a story, she realized the symptoms described applied to her mom, who had been ill for several years. After she told her mom about it, the woman went to the doc and got tested, and low and behold, she did have Sjogren's. Anyway, the walk began at 9:30. It was two miles, which was two laps around the mall, but you could stop after one lap if you thought it was too far. I took my time, talking with some of the other walkers, and discovered that one mile was much easier and shorter than I thought. I decided that since this was a special occasion and I wasn't hurting much, I'd go for two. Halfway through the second lap, I suddenly got hit by the sledgehammer of fatigue, but I was already at the opposite end of the mall, so I had to finish the distance. I was the last one to complete the walk. The fundraising goal for the event was $5000, but we generated $15,000 that day! Is that awesome or what?

I tried to take a nap after I got home, but the phone woke me up twice, the dog woke me up twice, and Dan woke me up once. I finally gave up about 3:30 and got up to make something for lunch. Went over to my sister's around 7pm, and she generously offered to drive us to the comedy club. Had to stand in line for quite awhile because many of us had tickets for the show that had been cancelled and had to exchange them at the will call desk. We got pretty decent seats, to the left of the stage on an elevated wing in the front row. There were some people smoking, but it was fairly far off from where I was sitting, and I wore my air purifier, which helped. The opening act was pretty cool....I think his name is Bruce Daniels? Anyway, his routine is fairly low-key to start and just gets funnier and funnier. And Margaret Cho kicked ass! She looked great! Her material was all very current, straight out of the headlines and the events of her own life in the past few weeks. She must update her routine every single day...not everyone can be that spontaneous. Amazing how she is able to say a lot of the things I think and still make it all hilarious. She got the most enthusiastic standing ovation I have ever seen at that comedy club. I was soooo happy I went, but to say I was exhausted when I got home would be a gross understatement. I had a bowl of leftover chili and fell asleep on the couch almost before I finished it.

Sunday I was awakened by the phone again. I was an utter zombie, and I knew better than to even attempt to go shopping with Dan and his parents. I asked them to go without me and to come back in time for me to make dinner for everyone. I made chicken Parmesan, chicken-flavored brown rice and salad with home-made dressing. Then Dan's parents wanted me to see "Passion of the Christ" at the theatre. I complied. I may be one of the wordiest people in the world, but I don't know what to say about that movie. I don't know what to think, either. Maybe I never will. I don't regret having seen it, but I do know that I will never watch it again. I don't feel I need to receive its message more than once. After we got home, I arranged my new bookcase and went to bed about an hour and a half earlier than usual.

Yesterday, I was still dragging but went to aquacise anyway. Got another nasty attack of vertigo in the pool which lasted about an hour after the class ended. Wanted desperately to go back to bed, but Dan's parents wanted to take me to lunch, and I knew if I lay down I wouldn't be able to get up in time. We went to Boston Market because I knew what I could eat there. I went straight to work from there. I must have looked just as dead as I felt because my co-workers were asking if I was really tired or something. I fell asleep while proofreading.

Today, I had a somewhat early gyno appointment. It took much longer than I expected. I was so tired I nearly began to cry at the appointment. Dan's parents headed to their religious conference shortly after I got home. I had to go back to bed after that....I had no choice. I set the alarm, but absolutely could not get back up. I struggled for half an hour before finally dragging my nearly comatose self downstairs. Dan got back from his doc appointment, took one look at me and asked if I would be going to work, and I just started sobbing. Even though I was exhausted prior to this weekend, I felt guilty for making myself worse. I really wanted to go to work, but there was just no way. I went back to bed and don't remember much of anything until 8pm. I got up feeling pretty decent and had leftovers for supper and watched "Four Weddings and a Funeral" on TV. But by 10:30, I started feeling wiped out and weepy again.

I don't know what to do. I need to be active to preserve my mobility, but every little action exhausts me. I'm starting to think this is not just the post-prednisone blues and maybe not just a flare either. I felt just like this last fall before I started the prednisone. Unfortunately, no doc can tell me whether the fatigue is permanent or not....Sjogren's can be progressive in some people and variable in others. Maybe starting my shift an hour earlier next month will be helpful....I'll get an hour more sleep before aquacise. All I know is that I cannot continue to work this way indefinitely. I will express my concerns to the rheumatologist at my appointment next week even though he has already told me there is nothing to be done for the fatigue. I am bitterly disappointed that I am unable to do more now that my pain level is down. I guess all I can do is give my upcoming new shift a chance before giving up on being able to work.

Need to go hug my hubby and my pup.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 10

Friday, April 16, 2004

Rave of the day for April 16: 

This is cute! Ducky gets the kudos....

New Breeds of Dogs

Crossbred Dogs:

Pichoneise + Poodle
Peek-a-poo, this dog plays peek-a-boo with... well, you get the picture.

Pointer + Setter
Poinsetter, a traditional Christmas pet.

Kerry Blue Terrier + Skye Terrier
Blue Skye, a dog for visionaries.

Great Pyrenees + Dachshund
Pyradachs, a puzzling breed.

Pekingnese + Lhasa Apso
Peekasso, an abstract dog.

Irish Water Spaniel + English Springer
Spaniel Irish Springer, a dog fresh and clean as a whistle.

Labrador Retriever + Curly Coated Retriever
Lab Coat Retriever, the choice of research scientists.

Newfoundland + Basset Hound
Newfound Asset Hound, a dog for financial advisors.

Terrier + Bulldog
Terribull, a dog that makes awful mistakes.

Bloodhound + Labrador
Blabador, a dog that barks incessantly.

Malamute + Pointer
Moot Point, owned by....oh, well, it doesn't matter anyway.

Collie + Malamute
Commute, a dog that travels to work.

Cocker Spaniel + Rottweiller
Cockrot, the perfect puppy for that philandering ex-husband.

Deerhouse + Terrier
Derriere, a dog that's true to the end.

Busy days ahead.... 

Friday will be unusually busy: the new bookcase will be ready, the car has to go in the shop, AND Dan's parents will be coming in from South Dakota. Fortunately, I'm taking tomorrow night off work, or I'd have a real energy crisis on my hands.Our landscaping project was also supposed to be starting on Friday, but some unexpected delays are pushing it back to next week.

Saturday, I'm participating in the first ever Sjogren's fundraising walk. I have no idea if I can walk a mile or not, but I'm mainly there to show support. It is sooooo early in the morning for me. Then that night, I'll be going to the local comedy club to see Margaret Cho....the show was re-scheduled from a prior time.

Sunday, I'm going to try to rest, even if that means staying home while Dan and his parents go do something. I'm exhausted right now, so by Sunday, I probably won't be worth much at all.

The house is nowhere close to clean. I managed to de-clutter the upstairs somewhat, meaning that I ended up taking all the unsorted papers and putting them in a towering pile. I will perhaps do the same with the stuff downstairs if I can. Dan's not feeling well, either, so it's a tossup as to whether either of us will find the energy to wipe the inch-thick dust off the TV.

Right now, I'm going to balance the checkbook and then see if I can muster the energy to do any de-cluttering downstairs....

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 13: 

People who know me well are not surprised by my strong support for freedom of speech in the US. As a former talk radio sidekick, I am appalled at the FCC's recent crackdowns. Ducky e-mailed me a link to a site that contained an article that explains much better than I ever could why the hefty fines lobbed at Howard Stern set a dangerous precedent....

Shock Jock Gets Shocked

Shifting shifts..... 

Had to agree to a new work shift to begin in three weeks as my current shift has been eliminated. The new hours will be 4pm to 11:50pm Monday through Friday. I guess tomorrow we'll have to check into whether we will be allowed to change our parking contract to come in earlier. Doubtful as most of the day shift people are still there when we would want to park at 3:30.

Have had a headache for two days now. Kinda put a damper on Easter for me, but I went ahead with what I had planned, which was to go to my dad's for dinner. Had trouble discerning just what I could and couldn't eat....had to keep asking what ingredients were in a particular dish. Finally decided to gamble and eat tiny amounts of the foods that I knew were gluten-free but contained sugar or fat. I think I still had too much sugar, though....had an upset stomach this morning. After dinner, we played a few games....Rummi-kub and Pit. Tuned out my headache the best I could, but by the time we left, I felt like my brain was going to explode.

Tonight, a co-worker asked me if I'd ever had a spinal tap. Seems her neurologist has told her she might have MS. She had an MRI showing some possible plaques, and now she needs to have a spinal tap done. I think she's pretty scared. I told her what I could remember about MS from the research I did in 1998 when I was tested for it. It's sad, but I've gotten so accustomed to being sick that I'd sort of forgotten how frightening it is to be told for the first time that you might have a serious illness.

Trying to decide if I'm going to start on that hutch tonight or just wait until tomorrow. I'm leaning toward tomorrow.....

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 10: 

Got this in an e-mail from Robert. Hip-hoppy Easter!

Rap Easter Bunny

Odds and bookends.... 

My attitude is better finally, but I still feel like I'm fighting against my own body. I think it's my extreme sensitivity to meds kicking me in the ass again. I doubt most people would have such a dramatic reaction. I just love being special.

Got a new bookcase yesterday. It will be available next Friday, the same day the in-laws arrive. This will make a total of FIVE bookcases in the house, not counting the shelves in the command center. I need to finish de-cluttering the book room so there will be enough space for the new arrival. The case has shelves a foot deep and is 48 inches wide and 72 inches tall. Not too shabby. The shelves are adjustable. I must have been a librarian in a past life.

I also need to make some space in my china hutch for a beautiful ancient nautilus shell Dan's uncle had displayed in his house. The man was a paleontologist as a hobby and had collected some amazing artifacts. I'll put it next to all the shells I've collected from Florida. And I've promised to go through his slides of his vacations and put some albums together or even a few web galleries. Dan's uncle had thousands of slides, so this will be no small task.

Better put on some tunes and get back to the book room.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Friday, April 09, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 7: 

Here are some hilarious Easter cartoons, straight from Ducky. Be sure to check out her Daily Grin under my "Links" list. Enjoy!



Back to work I go.... 

To be honest, I don't feel any better yet. But I risk problems with the boss if I miss two days in a row. Besides, I figure since staying home didn't help yesterday, staying home tonight probably won't improve things either, so I might as well earn some money if I can.

My mood at least has improved a tiny bit. I made myself sort through a few books last night so I could at least claim a small sense of accomplishment. I have determined that I have exactly as much shelf space as I have books in the house. That would be fine, except the in-laws will be bringing three huge boxes of books with them next week, which leaves me with no place to put them. So I think we will get another bookcase. I am of the philosophy that one can never have too many shelves.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 9

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Rock bottom.... 

I know it's bad when I don't even have the energy to cry. No way in Hades was I able to go to work tonight. I got over 10 hours of sleep and it still wasn't enough. I've been completely off the prednisone since Monday and feeling worse every day. I'm having trouble impressing on people just how awful I really feel.

Tried doing stretches this afternoon, and all it did was make me dizzy, nauseous and tired. I feel awful enough to not care if my boss tries to discipline me for unearned time missed. And, as if it weren't obvious, my mood is also suffering from the lack of prednisone.

I can practically guarantee my next entry will be more positive because I don't see how I can get any worse and stay sane. Anyone who thinks fibro and my parade of other ailments is not disabling is sorely mistaken. The worst part is knowing there is nothing to be done for this.

The white flag is at my feet, but I haven't the energy to wave it.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 10

Tell USA Today what you think.... 

I got an e-mail from a friend today containing this link to a USA Today survey about whether Congress should enact a ban on gay marriage. Now, the e-mail urged me to vote in favor of the ban, and I'm adamantly opposed to a ban, but I thought giving everyone a chance to vote was a good idea. So decide what YOU think, and go here to vote:

Gay Marriage Survey

At this moment, the vote is running about 54 percent in favor of the ban, and about 45 percent against the ban, which of course disappoints me, but at least it's close.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 7: 

Speaking of managers (see post below this one), I just couldn't resist including this funny from Ducky's Daily Grin....

Once upon a time, in a nice little forest, there lived a blind little bunny and a blind little snake.

One day, the bunny was hopping through the forest, and the snake was slithering through the forest, when the bunny tripped over the snake and fell down. This, of course, knocked the snake about quite a bit.

"Oh, my," said the bunny, "I'm terribly sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I've been blind since birth, so, I can't see where I'm going. In fact, I don't even know what I am."

"It's quite okay," replied the snake. "Actually, my story is much the same as yours. I, too, have been blind since birth. Tell you what, maybe I could kinda slither over you, and figure out what you are, so at least you'll have that going for you."

"Oh, that would be wonderful," replied the bunny.

So the snake slithered all over the bunny, and said, "Well, you're covered with soft fur; you have really long ears; your nose twitches; and you have a soft cottony tail. I'd say that you must be a bunny."

"Oh, thank you! Thank you," cried the bunny in obvious excitement.

The bunny suggested to the snake, "Maybe I could feel you with my paw, and help you the same way you've helped me."

So the bunny felt the snake all over, and remarked, "Well, you're scaly and smooth, and you have a forked tongue, and no backbone. I'd say you must be either a politician, a lawyer, or possibly someone in upper management."

Eventful day.... 

Went to get my hair done today...at first I was just going to darken it, then at the last minute, I decided to go red! Not orange-red....more like wine red. It also has brown/black in it. I like it! Leave it to me to be unusual!

Tried a new recipe for Parmesan chicken today, and it turned out very well. Made brown rice cooked in chicken broth to go with it. Now I'll have a dinner possibility in mind for when the in-laws arrive.

Got a call from the local comedy club this afternoon....the show we were going to see on the 17th was cancelled, which was the only non-smoking show available for Margaret Cho. I really want to see her, so I'm taking a gamble and going to one of the regular shows. They will do their best to seat me in a non-smoking area....I'll bring lots of eye drops just in case. Hopefully if there is any smoke, it won't bother my throat. I also found out that my name was picked in a drawing for 20 free tix to a show in May at that club! The May schedule will be available next week so I can pick whom I want to see. I'm not sure I can find 19 other people to go with me....I have a rather small social circle (in person, anyway).

Got to work and found out that it is unlikely that the department manager will change his mind about re-arranging the work schedules, so Dan and I will likely be stuck with a different shift. Was talking to the union rep about it when the foreman came over (the one who doesn't like me) and told me to get to work. I complied, but the union rep got very angry and asked the foreman who made him the conversation police! Well, they went into the office with the union VP and slammed the door and had a rather heated debate. I don't know what was said....I was too embarrassed by the whole thing to bring it up again.

Also found out tonight that a co-worker may have had a stroke. The docs aren't sure exactly what happened or what could have caused it, so they're doing the usual battery of tests. I sure hope Tom is ok.

Was soooo tired tonight that I couldn't keep my eyes open. Went to the break room to get a plain iced tea to pep me up a bit, but they only had stuff with sugar in it. Against my better judgement, I bought one with sugar and drank it. Mistake. It's now four hours later and my stomach is still upset. Ouch.

Anybody else having trouble with the time change? I'm amazed at what one piddly hour can do to screw me up. That's one of the reasons I'm not thrilled at the prospect of changing shifts....that's only one hour difference too, but my sleep schedule has become fairly set in the past nine years I've worked 5pm to 1am. And to think my previous jobs had shifts that changed weekly....I sure don't miss that.

Better see if my tummy will let me sleep.....

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 9

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 6: 

Funny, but I can see this happening to Dan and me NOW, never mind what we'll be like in 40 years. Ducky is to thank for this gem....

An 80-year-old couple were having problems remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to get checked out to make sure nothing was wrong with them.

When they arrived at the doctor's, they explained to the doctor about the problems they were having with their memory. After checking the couple out, the doctor told them that they were physically okay but might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them remember things. The couple thanked the doctor and left.

Later that night while watching TV, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asked, "Where are you going?"

He replied, "To the kitchen."

She asked, "Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?"

He replied, "Sure."

She then asked him, "Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?"

He said, "No, I can remember that."

She then said, "Well, I also would like some strawberries on top. You had better write that down 'cause I know you'll forget that."

He said, "I can remember that! You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries."

She replied, "Well, I'd also like whipped cream on top. I know you'll forget that so you'd better write it down."

With irritation in his voice, he said, "I don't need to write that down! I can remember that."

He then went fuming into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes he returned from the kitchen and handed her a plate of bacon and eggs.

She stared at the plate for a moment and said, "You forgot my toast."

Oops, I (over)did it again.... 

Created a monster last night....started digging stuff out of that room that hasn't been cleaned in five years. Had to put things in the hall because you couldn't walk through to get to the closet or book cases. Of course, with frequent breaks and occasionally getting distracted (i.e., sitting down and reading rather than cleaning), I've barely made a dent in the clutter. I had Dan move things up and down the stairs, but I still overdid it a bit just dusting and stacking books and sliding boxes around. Activated that derned trigger point in the right teres major/minor area again (base of shoulder in back). When I move my arm the wrong way, the hand goes to sleep...not good when your job involves using a computer. And when I sat too long last night to clean off the bottom book shelf, I couldn't get back up by myself. I have a feeling I'm going to end up with more books than shelves for books. Dan's already talking about building those bedroom shelves this year rather than next. Good thing Dan's parents aren't going to be here until the 16th so I have a fighting chance at getting everything sorted.

Have an appointment to get my hair colored Tuesday morning. I do this at least once a year when funds allow....it's about the only attempt I make anymore to improve my appearance as I no longer have the energy to hassle about makeup, nails or dressing up. I think I'll go dark again. I have been asked what the true color of my hair is....I think it's some boring shade of medium brown? Right after my 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I found a white hair.....not a little scraggly grey one like I see occasionally on my head, but a huge SNOW WHITE one! I yanked it out.....I'm not ready to look like a skunk just yet.

Time to haul my owie butt to bed.

Pain level: 8
Fatigue level: 8

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 4: 

An oldie but a goodie. This version courtesy of Ducky:

A State Police officer was sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers.

He sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself, "This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!" So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over. Approaching the car, he notices that there are five old ladies -- two in the front seat and three in the back - eyes wide open and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says to him, "Officer, I don't understand. I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?"

"Ma'am," the officer replies, "You weren't speeding. But you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers."

"Slower than the speed limit?" she says. "No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly...Twenty-two miles an hour!" the old woman says a bit proudly.

The State Police officer, trying to contain a chuckle, explains to her that "22" was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

"But before I let you go, Ma'am, I have to ask... Is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken. They haven't muttered a single peep this whole time." the officer says.

"Oh, they'll be all right in a minute, officer. We just got off Route 119."

My "get up and go" has left the building.... 

It's only one hour of time change, but already it's messing me up. Overslept and arrived at my union's executive committee meeting five minutes late. The first meeting ran right into the second general union meeting. Total running time of meetings was three hours. Left there drained as if I'd worked a 12-hour shift. Got some lunch because I didn't think I'd make it home without any. It helped a little, and I picked up a DVD of female comedians on the way home.

Now I'm trying to get motivated to clear a path in the room I've been promising Dan I would clean for the past five years now. The in-laws are coming for a visit in a week and a half, and they're bringing three huge boxes full of books from Dan's uncle. I have to make some room on my shelves for the books, or at least a place to set down the boxes if there isn't room on the shelves. We plan someday to build shelves into the bedroom wall to take care of my enormous collection of reading material.

To get motivated, I've had a glass of ginseng and ginger tea, and I'm listening to some danceable music. If George Clinton won't get my butt out of this chair, nothing will! "Do Fries Come with that Shake?"

Shakin' my groove thang to "Atomic Dog".....

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 9

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 3: 

Got this in an e-mail from Joan. It is practically guaranteed to make you laugh out loud! Enjoy!

Have you ever spoken and wished that you could immediately take the words back...or that you could crawl into a hole? Here are the testimonials of a few people who did....

* I walked into a hair salon with my husband and three kids in tow and asked loudly, "How much do you charge for a shampoo and a blow job?" I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My husband didn't say a word...he knew better.

* I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls."

* My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As we were looking at the display case, the boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, "No, I'm just looking at your nuts." My sister started to laugh hysterically, the boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To this day, my sister has never let me forget.

* While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler decided to release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving "right now" she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I will tell Grandma  that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!" The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the tellers stopped what they were doing.  I mustered up the last of my dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last thing I heard when the door closed behind me were screams of laughter.

* Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch in between errands. It was very busy, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my seven-month-old daughter, and she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not asked to go potty in a while, so I asked him if he needed to go, and he said "No." I kept thinking, "Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I  don't have any clothes with me." Then I said, "Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?" "No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked one more time, "Danny, did you have an accident?" This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over and spread his cheeks and yelled. "SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!!" While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos laughing! He calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had!

* This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for 2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any....a true story...We had a female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard!

Adventures in health store shopping... 

Finally got my butt out to a new-ish health store called Whole Foods that has been highly recommended to me by several people. It is pretty far from my house, so I waited until my day off work to venture out there. When Dan and I arrived, the parking lot was jam packed and we got the last available space. I couldn't imagine what could possibly be that great about a natural food store....then we went in. Fresh flowers of all kinds near the door. A produce section larger than the regular grocery store, all organic. A whole aisle of cut fruits, salads, cheeses etc. in single-serving sizes. Fresh shrimp as large as your hand. Whole crabs on ice. Soup bar. Salad bar. An OLIVE bar, for heaven's sake. More kinds of cheese than you could name. And a deli with every ingredient in every dish printed out for all to read. Dan ordered fire-baked pizza by the slice and fresh baked bread. I ogled the marinated salmon and feta cheese salad and vowed to get some on my next trip there. It would be an excellent place to grab lunch on the run.

What I was actually there for was some all-natural soap for my ultra-sensitive, dry, itchy skin. I was hoping to find something containing both goat's milk and shea butter....I found some with one or the other but nothing with both. I finally settled on the store brand soap that has shea butter and lavendar. I bought a small bar with the idea that if I like it, I'll come back to stock up. I also took note of the shea butter and lavendar lotion by a company called Kiss My Face (I think). I will try it when I run out of my Eucerin lotion.

All this talk about food...time for me to go make some rice pasta salad.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Friday, April 02, 2004

Bonus Rave of the Day for April 2: 

Got this in an e-mail from my cousin. Some of it I've seen before, but certain parts of it are really funny....

A Few Funny Thoughts

I've seen two shows lately that went on and on about how mid-life is a great time for women. Just last week Oprah had a whole show on how great menopause will be....


I've had a few thoughts of my own and would like to share them with you.
Whether you are pushing 40, 50, 60 (or maybe even just pushing your luck) you'll probably relate.

Mid-life is when the growth of hair on our legs slows down. This gives us plenty of time to care for our newly acquired mustache.

In mid-life women no longer have upper arms, we have wingspans. We are no longer women in sleeveless shirts, we are flying squirrels in drag.

Mid-life is when you can stand naked in front of a mirror and you can see your rear without turning around.

Mid-life is when you go for a mammogram and you realize that this is the only time someone will ask you to appear topless.

Mid-life is when you want to grab every firm young lovely in a tube top and scream, "Listen honey, even the Roman empire fell and those will too."

Mid-life brings wisdom to know that life throws us curves and we're sitting on our biggest ones.

Mid-life is when you look at your-know-it-all, beeper-wearing teenager and think: "For this I have stretch marks?"

In mid-life your memory starts to go. In fact the only thing we can retain is water.

Mid-life means that your Body By Jake now includes Legs By Rand McNally -- more red and blue lines than an accurately scaled map of Wisconsin.

Mid-life means that you become more reflective...You start pondering the "big" questions. What is life? Why am I here? How much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it's no longer a healthy choice?

But mid-life also brings with it an appreciation for what is important.

We realize that breasts sag, hips expand and chins double, but our loved ones make the journey worthwhile. Would any of you trade the knowledge that you have now for the body you had way back when?

Maybe our bodies simply have to expand to hold all the wisdom and love we've acquired.

Crash and burn, part 2... 

Having a repeat of last week's episode of the "weaning off the prednisone" ickies. Since yesterday, I've been very weak and somewhat nauseous and dizzy. I feel fairly faint but do not think I would actually pass out (haven't so far). I am calling in sick to work tonight even though I am out of paid sick time. If my boss has a problem with that, she can bite me. Sometimes the only way to feel better is to spend a day in bed.

This is the last week I'm taking prednisone, so I think next week may be a little rough too. I don't know how long it takes to fully recover. I just hope I do eventually feel stronger and more energetic. If I don't, then I will just have to figure out how to deal with that.

My eyes are still bugging me some from having plugs put in them yesterday. Getting some bed rest will probably be good for that too.

Good news....Dan found out he DOESN'T have mono. Bad news....we still don't know what's causing the infected lymph node. He hasn't gotten all the bloodwork results yet, so it still might be autoimmune disease. Hope not. He's not particularly thrilled about the idea of having the lump on his neck biopsied....can't say I blame him.

Need to call work to let them know I'm not coming in tonight.

Pain level: 5
Fatigue level: 9

Rave of the Day for April 2: 

How about one last installment of "Basic Laws"? These really crack me up. Credit goes once again to Ducky....


If you want to get along, go along.

If you keep anything long enough you can throw it away.
If you throw anything away, you will need it as soon as it is no longer accessible.
If you have thrown it away, it will immediately increase in value.

Judgement comes from experience;
Experience comes from poor judgement.

In crises that force people to choose among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst possible one.

When your cat has fallen asleep on your lap and looks utterly content and adorable you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.

When somebody you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep thoughts, they probably are thinking about lunch.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.

It works better if you plug it in.

If you mess with a thing long enough, it'll break.

No matter what goes wrong, it will probably look right.

When an error has been detected and corrected, it will be found to have been correct in the first place.

A man with one watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.

Build something that even a fool could use, and only a fool will use it.

Everything put together falls apart sooner or later.

That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to or subtracted from the answer you get, gives you the answer you should have gotten.

1. An object or bit of information most needed will be least available.
2. Any device requiring service or adjustment will be least accessible.
3. Interchangeable devices won't.
4. Badness comes in waves.
5. In any human endeavor, once you have exhausted all possibilities and fail, there will be one solution, simple and obvious, highly visible to everyone else.

When a person attempts a task, they will be thwarted in that task by the unconscious intervention of some other presence (animate or inanimate).

Some tasks are completed since the intervening presence is itself attempting a task and is, of course, subject to interference.

Sooner or later, the worst possible set of circumstances is bound to occur.

If I looks easy, it's tough. If it looks tough, it's damn well impossible.

Unexpected eye procedure.... 

Went to the opthalmologist for my annual checkup today. Was my first visit since being diagnosed with Sjogren's. My actual vision is still 20/15, so no worries there. The glaucoma test was fine. My eyes did show signs of excessive dryness, but no damage as of yet. The doc decided I should have permanent plugs put in my upper eyelids to help keep the tears from draining out so fast. I'd had plugs done in the lower lids last year, so I pretty much knew what to expect. They numb your eye, so it doesn't hurt exactly...but it IS unnerving to know your eyelid is being cut open. The doc told me it will be a couple of days before I am completely used to the plugs, so I might not spend a lot of time on the computer until my eyes are more comfortable. I am to return to the doc's office if the plugs don't help, but otherwise, I don't have to come back for another year. At next year's visit, they will be checking my retinas.

Brought the garage sale items to my stepbrother's in-laws' house this afternoon. On the way there, I got that same sudden weakness I had last Thursday. This is the last week I'm on any prednisone, so it wasn't totally unexpected to feel awful. It is dam*ed inconvenient all the same. There was no time for me to go back home after dropping off the items...we had to go straight to work. It is extremely difficult to get through a shift feeling like you're going to pass out and/or hurl, but I pulled it off somehow. If I feel like this again tomorrow, though, I should probably stay home.

Pain level: 6
Fatigue level: 8

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Rave of the Day for April 1: 

I'm in the mood for some more "basic laws". These also come from Ducky....


When the plane you are on is late, the plane you want to transfer to is on time.

Don't force it; get a larger hammer.

Any tool, when dropped, will roll into the least accessible corner.

On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first always strike your toes.

No books are lost by lending except those you particularly wanted to keep.

There are two types of people, those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.

There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it over.

Established technology tends to persist in spite of new technology.

If you're feeling good don't worry, you'll get over it.

You ALWAYS find something in the last place you look.

Possible shift change... 

he powers that be at my job in their not-so-infinite wisdom have decided to re-arrange everyone's work schedules again. I've had the same shift for the better part of the past nine years and have no interest in changing. The last time they tried to move us, Dan and I had to take a later shift. We warned them that we could not meet deadline that way, but no one listened...until we very nearly missed deadline a few times in the first week. By the end of the second week, they sent us back to our old shift. This time they want us to work earlier. Two problems with this....we have a parking contract that won't allow us to use the parking garage before a certain time. Also, our shift would start an hour before the others who use our workstations end their shift. Some brilliant boss really didn't think this through. Oh, and I have made doctor appointments over the next several months with the current shift in mind. I did point out the discrepancies in the schedule to my union rep, so perhaps he can convince the managers to put things back they way they were.

I do believe it will snow here on Friday....I've got extra achies tonight.

I'd better get some sleep...I have an opthalmologist appointment tomorrow, and we're supposed to drop off our stuff for the garage sale. Hope the weather doesn't spoil the sale.

Pain level: 7
Fatigue level: 8

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