Tuesday, November 29, 2005

At long last, the "Lost" reunion! 

Last week on "Lost", we picked up at the point where Ana Lucia shot Shannon. Sayid, who caught Shannon as she died, realizes what has happened, puts Shannon down and heads for Ana Lucia, drawing his own gun. Ana Lucia's gun (actually the one she stole from Sawyer), however, is now empty, so she can't shoot back. Eko stops Sayid before he can fire, and the two get into an impressive mud wrestling match. Sayid actually does fairly well considering that Eko is roughly the size of Mt. Everest. But the gun gets away from him, and Ana Lucia, true to form, grabs the weapon and smacks Sayid in the head and knocks him out.

Michael, Jin, Bernard and Libby are watching all this in amazement. But when Ana Lucia begins brandishing Sayid's gun, Michael steps forward in protest. Ana Lucia responds by shooting right over his head! She orders Eko to tie Sayid up. Eko refuses, and she acts like she'll shoot at him too, but Eko won't be swayed. Libby, however, is coerced by Ana Lucia into tying Sayid to a tree using rope from the stretcher Sawyer is on. Sawyer was right several episodes ago when he called her a bitch.

Michael gets up to give Sayid some water, and Ana Lucia threatens him again. But this time, enboldened by Eko standing up to her, he tells her to go ahead and shoot him, which she does not. Then Eko picks up Sawyer, who is unconscious, and slings him over his shoulder like a rifle. Ana Lucia pleads with him not to leave, but he insists on getting Sawyer back to his camp. He says, "I'm doing it for me".

At the fuselage survivor's camp, Jack challenges Kate to some golf. She kicks his butt, which is rather amusing. Jack ends up chasing his ball into the woods and is about to take a swing when he notices Kate has a horrified expression and looking past him. He turns just in time to see Eko carrying Sawyer. He asks where the doctor is.

Jack takes Sawyer into the hatch because it contains a shower and Sawyer needs to be immersed in cold water to break his fever. Kate asks what she can do. Jack instructs her to get antibiotics and to get the bed in the hatch ready. She doesn't move at first, so shocked is she by Sawyer's condition, but Jack manages to get through to her.

Eko begins to check out the hatch. Locke, a bit cautiously, greets him. Eko also chooses his words carefully, particularly after noting the rifles on the wall of the hatch. Locke wants to know what happened. Eko states that there was an accident and that a tall blonde girl was killed. Locke figures out that it is Shannon, and he has a pained expression. Locke wants to know where everyone else is and whether Eko can take him to them. Eko, glancing at the rifles, says no.

Kate helps Jack care for Sawyer by propping him up in her arms and convincing him to take some antibiotics. She seems an unlikely nurse, but she cradles him like a lover and tells him that he's going to get better.

Michael, Jin, Libby and Bernard are upset that Ana Lucia is keeping them all at gunpoint, but no one is able to dissuade her from untying Sayid and ending the standoff. Bernard pleads with her, saying that all he wants to do is see his wife. She won't budge, however. Libby wants to know what her plan is. Sayid responds that Ana Lucia has no plan. He says, "All she has is a gun and her guilt". She then decides that if Michael will get her ammo and supplies from the fuselage camp, she will untie Sayid. Michael is reluctant to leave Sayid where he is, but Jin indicates he will keep an eye on things, and he makes for the camp. The first person he runs into is Sun, who of course is quite shocked. She leads him to the hatch. Jack, who now knows that Shannon is dead, wants Michael to lead him back to the camp. He grabs one of the rifles and gives one to Michael. Eko tells Jack that Ana Lucia made a mistake. Jack is startled when he hears the name because he remembers Ana Lucia. He puts down the rifle.

Meanwhile, Bernard has had enough of the standoff. He gathers up his gear, and, with apologies to Ana Lucia, announces he is leaving. Libby follows suit. Ana Lucia tells Jin to go ahead and leave also. So it is just Ana Lucia and Sayid. She toys with the gun as if she can't decide whether to shoot Sayid or herself. She begins conversing with Sayid. He tells her that he had tortured many people in the past and that maybe she should shoot him, that maybe she was meant to. She reveals that she was a cop who was shot by a burglar. She says that she thought she was dead that day, and that she still feels dead. Then she releases Sayid, tossing the gun at his feet. He picks the gun up, and for a moment I hoped he would shoot her, but he does not. Instead, he goes to Shannon's body.

Michael heads to the beach, where he sees his son's dog, Vincent. The dog is overjoyed to see Michael and runs over to him. It's sort of a bittersweet meeting since the dog has now lost two owners. Bernard, Libby and Jin show up on a different section of beach together at the fuselage survivors' camp. Charlie recognizes Jin and comes over to greet him. Then Bernard and Rose see each other for the first time since the crash. Beautiful moment as they hug and kiss. Sun, who is doing laundry on the beach, looks to see what the commotion is about and spies Jin in the distance. Since she and her husband had their differences before Jin left, Sun is unsure how to react at first, but Jin comes running toward her, and she jumps into his arms.

Jack goes out to where Ana Lucia remains, minus any weapons. On the way there, Sayid passes him going the other direction, carrying Shannon and looking absolutely devastated. Then Jack sees Ana Lucia; neither say a word, but simply stare at each other from a distance.

This was my favorite episode of the season because of the long-awaited reunions. I still don't like Ana Lucia's way of dealing with the world, but now I understand her a little better. Tomorrow's episode is supposed to finally reveal what Kate originally did to get in trouble with the law. Yayyyyy!

Monday, November 28, 2005

How it took me all day to put up the Christmas tree.... 

Got up at noon. Dan was at the mechanic's with the car, spending $500 we didn't have on repairs we couldn't do without. I surveyed the "bonus" room to figure out where the tree would go. The reason it's called a bonus room is that it was an optional part of the floor plan. We paid extra to have this room added when the house was built.

Anyway, since the command center (my computer desk) can only be moved by Hercules, that, the entertainment center and the loveseat/chair/ottoman set stayed put. But everything else was subject to re-arrangement. Luckily, except for the command center, the room is reasonably tidy, so there wasn't a great deal of clutter to remove. I did finally take my four framed keepsakes from the StarFest and put them up on the wall because they had been sitting in a pile on a trunk since summer. One signed William Shatner, one signed Elijah Wood, one signed Sean Astin, and a photo of Shatner and me. Yeah, they look a little out of place amongst Dan's tennis memorabilia, but, oh well.

My first major obstacle was the Gazelle glider in the center of the room. It's lightweight enough for the average adult to fold up and carry, but I am not the average adult apparently. I knew I couldn't lift it, so I planned simply to fold it and push it a few feet to the edge of the room. Not so fast! I somehow got all tangled up in it, and the weight of it caused it to fall on me and cut my foot. For a person with fibromyalgia, this feels roughly similar to having a foot amputated. While I'm busy screaming in agony, the dog comes running up to see if he can help and smacks his head on my mouth! That was sufficient to bring tears to my eyes and a remarkable torrent of profanity to my hurting mouth.

So I've barely begun and already I have to take a break to get a Band-aid. It was one of those strips made of some new stretchy material that unfortunately doesn't stick to skin at all, so five minutes later, I had to find some paper medical tape to wind around the flapping Band-aid. Then I had to rest from the effort of bandaging myself. Then it was time to drink a Boost high protein meal replacement because I was already feeling hypoglycemic.

About half an hour after I dinged up my foot, I was ready to tackle something else. I left the Gazellle in the middle of the room and turned my attention to the cablinets that would have to be moved. The tall cabinet was easy to deal with because it only holds memorabilia, so I just cleared off the shelves and dragged it over next to the command center. The video cabinet, however, holds about a million VHS tapes and Playstation stuff (ok, maybe I'm overstating it a little), so it took a fair amount of time to remove the contents so the cabinet would be lightweight enough for me to move. Even empty, though, that sucker put up quite a fight. I managed to corral it across the heat vent from the command center, but I got so wiped out from the effort that I couldn't put all the tapes back in. I decided that Dan would have to relocate the trunk for me. Even though it has wheels and a handle, it contains part of a coin collection and lots of books once belonging to my mom, and I would have to empty it pretty much completely before attempting to move it.

Fortunately, Dan came home while I was sitting at the command center swearing at how exhausted I was already. He refilled the video cabinet, moved the Gazelle to the book room, wheeled the trunk to the other end of the bonus room, removed the zebra print rug, hauled the Christmas tree out of the garage, brought in the ornaments and decorations, and assembled the tree. Embarrassed that it had taken me two hours to do less than he had In fifteen minutes, I decided it was time to take a break for lunch.

Made some gluten free mac and cheese and heated up some leftover turkey and had a few bites of cranberry sauce. I was still too fatigued after lunch to go back to work on the tree, so I worked on some presents I'm making. I won't go into detail here in case the recipients read this entry, heh heh, but suffice to say I was occupied for a few hours with tasks that weren't physically demanding. Eventually I felt up to "fluffing" the tree, which amounts to moving the pipe cleaner branches around until they look more like a natural tree and less like a collection of pipe cleaners. This endeavor is getting less successful with each subsequent year as the tree appears to have developed mange. The pipe cleaners are actually starting to fall out. It reminds me of "A Charlie Brown Christmas". But it will have to do as we haven't money for a new tree at present.

After I finished fluffing and took another rest break, I started opening some boxes in search of the lights. I think it's some sort of Murphy's Law that every year they are in the last box I open. What we have are short strands of the tiny bulbs, and if you use only one string it just seems to call attention to the mangy-ness of the tree, so I went for two. It still wasn't quite enough, so I dug out one last strand that was clumped up in the bottom of the box. I soon found out why. MAJOR tangles! Luckily, I am an excellent de-tangler, so I plopped down on the ottoman and got to work. Then when I plugged in the successfully de-tangled strand, I discovered it was half burnt out! So I got to hunt for the culprit bulb....luckily I'd had the foresight to keep the replacement bulbs in the same box with the rest of the lights. By then an HOUR had passed and I was already getting muscle spasms in my arms every time I raised them, so Dan had to help me finish stringing the lights around the tree. What a difference lights make! Suddenly, the tree didn't look mangy at all. But I needed to rest my arms for awhile, so I took another meal break and worked on my gift project some more.

It was 8pm before I started hanging ornaments. You'd think this would be the easiest part of the whole deal, but it's not. Problem is, I have enough ornaments for at least two trees. What happened was that when Dan and I met, he had some ornaments and I had some ornaments, so we combined them. Then the year after we got married, my mom died, and I kept half her ornaments (my sister has the other half) because most of them were handmade by her, very beautiful and special. The main reason I even bother putting up a tree is so that I can look at her ornaments. So after those are up, I have to pick and choose among the rest what I want to use. I make it different every year, but usually include my horse collectible ornaments and stuff that Dan and I have acquired together that have meaning. I can live with no longer decorating the house interior or exterior, but the tree is special, and I just don't feel festive without it.

I think what I like about the tree is that once it's done, it's unique. From my mom, I have eggshells with lace and beads and little treasures inside, felt and cardboard shapes with sequins and images from recycled Christmas cards, styrofoam shapes covered in sparkling fake jewels, and a hand-drawn Santa face with cotton for a beard. I have a few Disney and Lenox items to commemorate the first Christmases Dan and I spent together. I have hand carved wooden ornaments from a local artisan I've received as gifts. I have reindeer and unicorns and penguins (for Dan) and manger scenes and angels and teddy bears. I have a handpainted Russian horse I bought in September. I have plain white translucent bulbs that reflect the lights and icicles in a very pleasing way. I even have an ornament featuring Chip D. Dog with Santa. It's a combination of whimsical and sentimental and cheesy and elegant that seems to completely sum up my feelings about the season.

And so it took me two hours to select and hang the ornaments and place the icicles. It was gorgeous when it was done, but I was toast. Dan had to put all the various ornament boxes away because I could not lift another finger. My brain was fried and every body part was hurting, but I had a sense of accomplishment I seldom get to enjoy anymore. And I have a month before it's time to dismantle the tree, which is pretty cool.

Rockin' around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday.....

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How I spent my Thanksgiving..... 

Actually, the preparation started Wednesday night when I made my first-ever pie. Here's the recipe:

Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Unfortunately, I had already put several ingredients in a bowl when I realized I'd left the mixer in the cabinet. Normally, I let Dan retireve it for me because it's a behemoth Kitchenaide I inherited from my mom. But rather than wait until 2am for Dan to get home from work, I did the superwoman thing and fished it out myself. Discovered that while it IS possible for me to heft the thing, it's NOT a good idea to do so because I injured my back. Sigh.

Anyway, I overfilled the pie plate a bit and singed the edges. I cooked it exactly the amount of time stated on the recipe, so next time, I'll take it out a few minutes early.

Thanksgiving day, I got up at noon and then watched a little bit of a dog show since I'm not into football. Nice to be able to sleep in because I wasn't going anywhere. I'd been invited to my stepbrother's in-laws', but I'd declined....too many digestive issues and too sick to feel sociable. Dan and I had never had a Thanksgiving dinner just to ourselves, so we gave it a shot. I kept it simple: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and the pie.

The turkey was the only thing not on my restricted diet, but it's lower fat than most meats, and I figured I could handle it if I kept the portion reasonable. I'd bought a 5 pound breast. Had planned to cook it in the rotiserrie, but when I got it out of the package, I discovered it was too large to put in the basket and too narrow to secure with the skewers, which posed a real problem. The only other thing I could think to do was to roast it, but I didn't have a roasting pan (having never roasted a turkey in my life), so I improvised by putting it in the bottom have of a broiler pan. Severely underestimated how much a cooking turkey spatters! Made a godawful mess in the bottom of the oven, which left me feeling guilty as Dan had just cleaned it. Luckily, since it was fairly small, it only took a bit over two hours to cook. Made a mental note to acquire a roasting pan before doing another turkey. Discovered also that I didn't have a proper knife with which to slice the bird. Only large serrated one I had was a bread knife, which ain't nearly sharp enough. After a considerable amount of time sawing away at the meat, I developed lots of pain and cramps in my hands. Made another mental note to acquire a carving knife someday.

While the turkey was cooking, I watched part of the 1947 version of "Miracle on 34th Street" that was showing on TV. Such a great movie.....I'm shocked I never acquired my own copy of that one. I'm guessing it's out on DVD somewhere.

The potatoes came out well. I just finally learned to make mashed potatoes a few weeks ago. Dan peeled and sliced the spuds for me, which helped quite a bit.

Decided it was at last time to use the good china. Dan inherited a set of his grandmother's china before we got married, and we'd been waiting to use it when company came. After we moved into our own house, I figured we'd have my family over for a holiday, but the first time I suggested it to certain relatives, I was scoffed at, and I never did have them over and forgot all about the china. I meant to use it when we had Dan's family or our friends over, but again, I forgot. So earlier this week, I was hunting around for a platter that we would use for the turkey, and I saw that china in the cabinet gathering dust. I took it out and washed it. It's kinda pretty...I think it might be hand painted? Anyway, our little dinner looked particularly appetizing with the floral print and gold trim on the china.

Anyway, in spite of Dan's help, I realized why I seldom make full meals: by the time I finished carving the rest of the turkey and cleaning up the kitchen, my legs, low back and feet were killing me. So I guess I won't be hosting a dinner party anytime soon. Sorry, folks.

Dan had to work at 6pm, so I had the evening to myself. Decided to work on a scrapbook. Yes, I'm FINALLY working on my photo albums! After several months of editing the images on the computer, getting prints made, putting everything in chronological order, gathering stickers and colored paper and such, I began putting the album for 2002 together last weekend. This is going to be a rather massive undertaking as I have four vacations, a wedding, a reunion, three holiday seasons and two nieces to document between then and now.

One cool thing about scrapbooking is that it is conducive to tv watching. The first thing I watched was the bonus disc from my "Harry Potter Azkaban" DVD. Then I watched "Finding Nemo" on the network. I hadn't seen it before and really enjoyed it. Then, to get me in the holiday mood, I watched my DVD of "A Christmas Story". It's one of my favorites! "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

Before I knew it, Thanksgiving was over, and it was time for bed. I slept 12 hours and awoke today feeling pretty decent. I'm fairly certain that now I can handle the busy holiday season if I pace myself. I have three birthdays and an anniversary to celebrate before Christmas. I'm probably going to allow myself to attend one holiday party as well. Haven't done any shopping yet, but that's because I haven't any income yet. I think I will attempt to put up the tree tomorrow because I don't have anything else planned this weekend. Usually, I wait until December, but I've discovered the effort of that plus the celebrations too close together is one of the things that puts me into a flare, so I'll try putting up the tree early and see if that helps. Dan's already way ahead of me....he's been listening to Christmas music all week.

'tis the season, and I'm very nearly jolly.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

American Music: rewards and rip-offs 

Normally on Tuesday nights, I watch "Commander in Chief" and "Boston Legal", but the American Music Awards were on instead. The network was hyping Gwen Stefani as a performer, so I thought I'd tune in.

The opening of the show was unintentionally hilarious. Mariah Carey appeared, wearing her usual next to nothing. I noticed right away that not only was her dress cut all the way up to the hip, the rest of the right side of her costume was see through ala Britney Spears. Her entire right leg was exposed. Nothing new, right? Except when she was supposed to be walking across stage, the back of her dress started to flap, and you could see her ass! And then she had to sort of duck walk in her high heels to keep the front part of her dress from exposing her crotch! This was very nearly a wardrobe malfunction that would have made Janet Jackson's boob look mighty tame! I laughed my ass off. Later, when she was handed an award, she appeared in a boob-popping black dress and apologized for the previous outfit.

Unfortunately, after that, things started to go downhill. Lindsey Lohan made her live network singing debut. That girl needs to stick with acting! Hilary Duff isn't a much better singer either. And Gwen Stefani did appear on stage, but only as backup for someone I'd never heard of. She only sang ONE line! But I thought she looked more attractive fully dressed than Mariah Carey did nearly naked.

I very nearly turned it off until I found out Carlos Santana was going to perform. He was on stage with Los Lonely Boys. At last, some talent! The vocals fit perfectly with the music, and I LOVED the dual guitars! Fantastic! More than made up for the first crappy hour and a half of the show.

There were some other musical moments that I liked. Cindy Lauper and Sarah McLaughlin together were pretty good. I really enjoyed the Eurythmics reunion and Sheryl Crow's performance. I don't follow much country music and had never heard of Rascal Flats, but I enjoyed the song they performed. Tim McGraw was good too.

But I was not that impressed by any of the hip hop performances. A lot of the performers that I liked didn't win, and several of the ones who did win weren't even in attendance. A nice exception was Missy Elliott, who was in a cast and needed help getting up on the stage.

One segment I was looking forward to was the result of the viewers' pick for best artist, with choices from various genres. Green Day was a choice, as was Gwen Stefani. And the viewers voted for Kelly Clarkson?? Ack!

And the highlight of the night was supposed to be the Rolling Stones playing live from Salt Lake City. The timing was off, and they weren't even ready when the feed cut to them. They did two songs, but I just don't think their performance lived up to the hype. Glad I'm not gonna be paying a couple hundred bucks to see them.

Well, I guess with live TV catering to a mainstream audience, you takes your chances. Good thing I don't mind gambling most of the time.

Catching up with the "tailies".... 

First, to get caught up on last week's episode of "Lost": I think it should be subtitled "Lost: the Tailies"....

It starts out innocently enough. A beautiful shot of the beach and the peaceful waves. Then, off camera, an odd sound, and then suddenly, pieces of the tail section of an aircraft pierce the perfect skyline and tumble toward the camera...

Next, an underwater shot, a brief rise to the surface punctuated by screams and chaos, then underwater again. Then Ana Lucia gasping for air. She stumbles to the beach, trying to comprehend what where she is and what's going on. Eko appears, nicely dressed, and begins pulling people out of the water. Ana Lucia gets her wits about her and starts helping out. Confused, injured people running around. Eko grabs a boy with a teddy bear, who is yelling for his sister. The girl is fished out of the water, but she is unconscious. Ana Lucia begins CPR, and Eko leads the boy away to not make him watch. The girl is revived, and Ana Lucia smiles uncharicteristically. The girl wants to know where her mom is. Ana Lucia at first fears the woman is still in the ocean, then relaxes a bit when the girl says she's supposed to meet in L.A. She says simply, "We're not there yet".

Eko takes the revived girl and her brother to Cindy, who was a flight attendant on the plane. Eko asks Cindy to look after the kids because he has something to do. He goes back in the ocean and starts bringing dead bodies to shore.

There's a man in pain from a broken leg. Libby starts chattering away about how she broke a leg skiing, which seems oddly incongruous until she sees she has distracted the man, and with a vicious yank, she snaps the man's leg back in place. Ana Lucia is impressed and asks Libby if she's a doctor. Libby says no, that she just had a year of med school before she became a clinical psychologist. Libby asks Ana Lucia if she's a doctor because she witnessed the CPR on the girl. Ana Lucia says no, but doesn't elaborate.

A new guy, Goodwin, comes in from the jungle, yelling about someone needing help. Ana Lucia follows him into the forest, from where a man is screaming. It's Bernard, still strapped in an airline seat (wasn't he in the BATHROOM at the time of the crash??) at the top of a tall tree next to a dead body. The seat is tilting dangerously, about to fall. Ana Lucia is able to talk Bernard into releasing the seat belt and grabbing the nearest tree branch. He does so, and the seat comes flying to the ground on top of the dead guy. Close call for Bernard, now clinging terrified to the tree.

The survivors gather on the beach at the end of the first day around a signal fire. Bernard asks Eko if any of the bodies he pulled out of the water were African American. He says no. Bernard says he can't find his wife. Eko says he'll pray for his wife. Bernard asks where the rescue planes are. Eko says he'll pray for them too.

That night, the survivors awake to the sound of a scuffle. Ana Lucia finds Eko standing over the bodies of two strangers, a bloody rock in his hand. Three of the survivors are missing. The dead strangers have no identification on them, but one does have an Army knife, which Ana Lucia pockets. Eko is so traumatized by having to kill to defend himself that he stops speaking.

Because the survivors from the tail section don't have the luxuries that the survivors of the fuselage had, like a doctor, an engineer, a hunter, a techie and supplies, they must scrounge however they can to live. The man with the broken leg dies from infection. They find a single chicken for meat. Eko fashions a large club for protection.

But they still are not prepared for another raid on their camp. The children and seven others are kidnapped right off the beach. No one even heard the Others sneaking up on them. Ana Lucia manages to kill one of the strangers. She finds on the body a list of the people who were taken. The survivors decide the signal fire is calling too much attention to them and head inland.

The survivors begin to suspect one in their midst is giving information about them to the Others. When the survivors make a new camp in the jungle, Ana Lucia begins digging a large pit. When she has finished it, she attacks a man named Nathan, knocks him unconscious and throws him in the pit. She begins questioning him when he comes to, asking him who he is and where the kids are. Nathan swears he doesn't know, that he was just another passenger on the plane, but none of the rest of the survivors seem to remember seeing him on the plane. Days pass, and he doesn't change his story. Then one night when the other survivors are sleeping, Goodwin helps Nathan out of the pit, supposedly so he can escape. But before Nathan can run, Goodwin kills him.

The survivors stumble upon a metal door in some overgrowth. On the inside of the door is a "quarantine" stamp just like the one on the hatch Locke and Boone found. Inside this hatch is a slightly different Dharma symbol. They also find a Bible, a glass eye, and a radio. Bernard tries the radio out, but the signal is blocked by mountains. Goodwin volunteers to take the radio to higher ground. Ana Lucia gives him an odd look and insists on going with him.

While they are hiking, Ana Lucia asks Goodwin his opinion on why certain people were kidnapped. Goodwin suggests they stop and rest for awhile. He finds a piece of fruit and asks Ana Lucia for her knife. She eyes him warily and hands it to him. He slices the fruit and offers her a piece, which she accepts. She comments how odd it was that one of the Others had an Army knife on him. Goodwin doesn't follow her. She asks for the knife back, and he hesitates before complying. She shows him the Army inscription. Then she lets on that she knows he's the one who has been ratting them out. A scuffle ensues, and she spears him right through the chest and leaves him to die. She returns with the radio to the rest of the tailies and offers a vague explanation regarding Goodwin.

Bernard continues to try to pick up a signal on the radio. One day, there is a response! It's Boone, using the radio he found on the Nigerian plane, stating that he's a survivor of Flight 815. Ana Lucia decides it's a trick concocted by the Others and switches the radio off. How terribly sad. But you can see the light of hope in Bernard's eyes that maybe his wife is alive after all.

Cindy and Libby are working on a net on the beach, and Cindy sees the body of a man washing up on the beach. It's Jin! They pull him out of the water. Eko tries to question him, but of course Jin only speaks Korean. Eko thinks Jin is probably all right, but Ana Lucia doesn't trust him because of the handcuff still attached to his wrist. While they are discussing this, Jin takes off, finding Michael and Sawyer on the beach as shown earlier this season.

The rest of the story was edited in short segments in rapid succession. At the end, they show the shooting from Ana Lucia's point of view....she couldn't see Shannon clearly at all, and just shot at something she saw moving in the jungle. It still doesn't quite justify what she did....after all, it could have been Cindy in those woods.

The choppy pace of this episode annoyed the hell out of me. And this was touted as an "extended" episode by the network....it was maybe all of five minutes longer! I would rather they had left the past few minutes out where we already know what happens, and fill that time with more about Eko and maybe some about Bernard and Libby. I am fond of Bernard, and fascinated by Eko. But if I am supposed to like Ana Lucia better now because she cries in this episode, it doesn't work for me. The actress who portrays her really doesn't have much of a range, so she just looks sullen most of the time. I wish Sayid would kick her ass, I have a feeling the reverse will end up being true.

What I AM looking forward to, though, is this week's episode, where both groups finally meet. We will FINALLY see Bernard and Rose together, which will be sweet. And I'm wondering what Sun and Jin's reunion will be like because Jin has really changed for the better since he left. And I bet Kate will totally flip out when she sees what has become of Sawyer.

Bring it on!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Harry Potter's on fire! 

Wooo hoooo! Got to see "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" last night! SPOILER WARNING: if you plan to see the movie and haven't read the book, you may want to skip this entry.

The guy who directed "Four Weddings and a Funeral" directed this one. I was suitably impressed. This was a massive undertaking, condensing a 700 plus page book into a two and a half hour film without totally mangling the story. As much as I really enjoyed Part 3, it fell apart during the Whomping Willow scene because they left too much of the story out, and unless you had read the book, you would have no idea what was going on. So naturally I feared this would happen again. It didn't. Amazingly, they were able to leave out some characters, consolidate several events but produce the same outcome, and still have a story emerge out of it. Major props for that.

They completely left the Dursleys out of the movie. It would have been good for some comic relief, but the story really didn't suffer with their removal. It was a little unsettling at first to have Hermione waking Harry up at the beginning until you realize she and Harry are visiting the Weasleys on the eve of the Quidditch World Cup. They left in the part where they use an old boot as a portkey because it is important to the story later on.

The World Cup stadium was a fantastic piece of CG, regrettably brief. Reminded me a bit of my local football stadium (similar odd shape), but the stands curve outward and then upward so that the upper seats seem practically on top of the field. The inside of the stadium functioned like a Jumbotron, flashing Viktor Krum's picture when he flies in. They left out the leprechans and the veelas for brevity's sake, and they completely excised the whole business of the house elves, so when the Mark of Voldemort is launched after the game, they show who actually did it but made sure Harry didn't know who it was.

The setup of the Triwizard Tournament was shortened considerably. They did show the other schools' modes of transportation but kept the rest of the fanfare pretty short. Mad-Eye Moody was pretty much exactly as I envisioned him except he had a metallic leg instead of a wooden one. He's seen sipping from a flask containing what everyone assumes is booze. His introductory Defense Against the Dark Arts class scene was pretty much intact, demonstrating three unforgivable curses on a spider, much to the dismay of Ron of course.

The primary storyline in the movie is the Triwizard Tournament. One champion from each of the three competing schools is selected by an enchanted goblet. The entrants must be 17 years old, which should exclude Harry as he's only 14. Yet the goblet selects Harry as a fourth competitor. This causes an uproar amongst the younger students who are jealous (especially Ron) and amongst the teachers who fear for Harry's safety. Yet they abide by the bidding of the goblet and allow Harry to compete. Ron rejects Harry's friendship, and most of the rest of the school rejects Harry too. There is one great moment, however, when Draco Malfoy, Harry's classmate and enemy, gets exactly what he deserves. He is turned into a ferret and bounced around the schoolyard. I was almost sorry to see him return to human form.

Harry finds out ahead of time that his first challenge will be to evade a dragon. Each competitor in the tournament draws which specific dragon he/she will face, and of course Harry gets the fiercest one, a Hungarian ridgeback. He looks very small as he goes in search of a golden egg he must steal from the spiky, ill-tempered dragon. His only weapon is his wand, which he uses to call his broomstick to him. He then attempts to outrun the dragon, which inflicts quite a lot of damage on the school and the surrounding area and at one point sets Harry's broomstick on fire. But after several scary moments, he does succeed in capturing the egg. Ron, who witnesses Harry's narrow victory, decides he would rather not be in Harry's place after all.

What a challenge it must have been to keep the three principal characters looking only 14 when I believe they are actually 16. The kid who plays Ron luckily didn't change very much. Harry does look older, but not excessively so, because when he's in the tournament with the 17 year olds, they made sure the other boys were taller. Hermione was probably the biggest challenge. She was supposed to look more grown up for the Yule dance, but not as mature as the 17 year olds, so they put Hermione in a purple dress with sleeves with her hair pinned up slightly and the "older" girls in strapless or spaghetti strap evening gowns with more mature hairstyles. It worked.

The other thing that made the characters' ages more believable is the romance angle. When the Yule Ball is announced, the 14 year old girls are thrilled, but the 14 year old boys are mortified. Harry and Ron are old enough to notice girls, but not mature enough to know that waiting until the last minute to ask one to a dance is a very bad idea. They don't realize how important the dance is to the girls and are totally shocked that not only does Hermione want to go, she accepts Viktor Krum's invitation. Harry finally gathers the guts to ask the beautiful Cho Chang to the dance, but Cedric Diggory, the other Triwizard competitor from Harry's school, beat him to it. Harry and Ron get dates with two beautiful sisters but insult them by not dancing with them. It is their eternally clumsy classmate Neville who is the savvy one. He asks Ron's little sister to the ball and dances all night. As an interesting sideline, Hagrid meets his match in the statuesque Madam Maxime, who is at least 10 feet tall.

The golden egg that Harry captured from the dragon contains the clue to the second challenge. But every time Harry opens the egg, it merely shrieks. Finally, Cedric helps him out because Harry had given him a heads up about the dragons. Harry is instructed to take a bath and bring the egg with him. Harry gets further assistance from Myrtle, a teenaged ghost who haunts the bathrooms (and who seems most anxious to peek at Harry under the water). Harry discovers that the egg contains a mermaid song and that the next trial will be underwater in the lake on the school grounds. Neville helps him to an herb called gillyweed, which basically turns Harry into a fish underwater. But he is not prepared for the "treasure" he is supposed to retrieve from the lake. Turns out the PERSON each competitor values most has been enchanted and bound underwater! Hermione is in the lake for Viktor to rescue, Cho for Cedric, the French girl Fleur's little sister is there, and Harry is supposed to rescue Ron. Harry wants to save them all because he believes they will drown if he doesn't. Viktor and Cedric do show up and retrieve Hermione and Cho, but Fleur is injured and doesn't reach her sister, so Harry tries to bring both Ron and the girl to the surface as the gillyweed is wearing off. He nearly drowns in the process.

I think I need a Pensieve. The headmaster of the school owns a device where he stores old memories so his brain doesn't get overwhelmed with too many thoughts. Harry could use one of his own as well, with all he has had to endure.

The last challenge differs greatly from the book. It is a huge maze with the Triwizard Cup hidden in the center. In the book, there are various creatures and other obstacles to get around, but for brevity's sake, in the movie, it is the maze itself that is the obstacle. It bewitches Viktor, devours Fleur and nearly swallows Cedric until Harry has a change of heart and rescues him. By rights, Harry has won and can claim the Cup for himself, but being the decent fellow he is, he agrees to share the victory with Cedric, and they both reach for the Cup at the same time. Unbeknownst to them, the Cup is a portkey like the boot was earlier. This transports them to a graveyard that Cedric has never seen but Harry has dreamed about. They are not alone. Cedric is struck with an undoable death curse. Harry is captured and bound to a gravestone. Voldemort now receives what he needs to regain human form: a bone from his ancestor, the right hand from his right hand man, and blood from Harry. But even his human form somewhat resembles a snake. He calls his old followers back to him. One of them is Lucius Malfoy, Draco's dad. Voldemort is all set to finish Harry off and challenges the boy to a wizard's duel. But Voldemort doesn't know that Harry's wand has a bond with his own, and when they try to cast simultaneous spells, the ghosts of the people Voldemort killed come to Harry's aid. Harry is given a chance to escape. He grabs Cedric's body and the Cup and is teleported back to the Triwizard Tournament.

The most agonizing part of the movie is when Harry returns. The crowd watching the Tournament is cheering wildly, not realizing Harry is guarding the body of a dead boy. And then cheering turns to screams as it is discovered that something is horribly wrong. Professor Moody drags the grieving Harry back to the school, supposedly to console him. But actually it is not Moody at all, but a supporter of Voldemort who had been drinking Polyjuice Potion out of a flask all school year to impersonate the professor. He's all set to kill Harry, but the headmaster intervenes.

There's a somber end to the movie as the result of Cedric's murder, but it seems appropriate. Harry and Hermione are realizing that growing up is both frightening and exciting (Ron's a little slow in catching on). A fitting conclusion to the best of the Potter series of movies so far.

Anyone know where I can find a Pensieve??

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Mission accomplished.... 

Yayyyyy! I got the Social Security forms completed and sent out today. I spread out doing the questionnaires over a couple of days because it REALLY hurt my hand holding a pen long enough to fill them out! I decided not to freak out about them too much. I mean, they give you ONE line to explain all the things you can no longer do because of your disability! Puh-leez! So I just put down whatever popped into my head and didn't write more than what they gave me room for. I figure if they're only gonna give me ten days to fill them out and get them back to the office of Disability Determination Services, they're not gonna get a novel outta me. I did, however, make full use of the "remarks" section of the function form because it was there. Made sure they understood that while I can still cook and drive, there are definite limits to my ability...they had these things down as yes or no questions. I can make eggs and cream of rice for myself, but I can't do homemade soup without help. I can drive myself to aquacise (15 minutes away), but I can't drive as far as my dad's house (about a 40 minute drive). I found it difficult to fill out the pain questionnaire because I have so many kinds of pain in so many places. I can think of all kinds of things I should have mentioned, but it's done and over with and any changes probably wouldn't have made a difference anyway. I sent the forms certified mail return receipt requested so I know they got them. I also sent in a separate envelope all the medical records I've obtained over the past three months.

It's a bit of a relief to know that Social Security has finally started processing my claim. My therapist told me yesterday that she had received their request for information. I hadn't gotten records from her because mental illness is not a big part of my claim, but I don't suppose it would hurt for Social Security to know I'm getting therapy for depression caused by not being able to work.

So what happens now is that Social Security gathers information for the next two months. If at the end of that time they don't have enough information to make a decision, they will require me to undergo consultative exams. In other words, I'll have to go to a doctor paid by Social Security to evaluate my physical or mental status. You can bet these are NOT impartial docs. The vast majority will state that the applicant is not disabled, paving the way for Social Security to deny the claim. I have been told that all the fibromyalgia claims in my area go to the same doctor, who does not believe in the existence of fibromyalgia. I do have other more serious ailments besides fibromyalgia, but it is likely the claim will go to this doc anyway. I've also found out that where I live, the approval rate for fibromyalgia claims is a mere 20 percent.

I think I've forgotten to mention that I did speak briefly with a lawyer on Tuesday. I haven't officially retained him yet, but I wanted to give him a heads up that I will likely be needing his services in the next few weeks or months. He is a local lawyer with experience representing fibromyalgia patients for both Social Security and LTD insurance cases. He told me that my LTD company is pushing the legal limits as far as putting off a decision on my claim goes. I will be calling him back if I am denied, if the company fails to reach a decision in the next few weeks, or if they try to force me to undergo an evaluation by an "independent" medical examiner.

I've got lots more to chat about, but my hands hurt, so later.

Rave of the Day for November 18, 2005: 

I haven't put much in this blog about the fighting in Iraq. Most people who know me already know that I'm one of those tree-hugging peace loving types. But I thought the statement made recently by John Murtha deserved some attention that wasn't negative. Murtha is a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, it's true, but he's also a combat veteran and retired Marine Corps colonel. He spent 37 years in the Marine Corps, earned the Bronze Star, two purple hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. So when he spoke up, I listened. I will reprint here his speech so that all may decide for themselves what to think:

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

"General Casey said in a September 2005 hearing, 'the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency.' General Abizaid said on the same date, 'Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is part of our counterinsurgency strategy.'

"For two and a half years, I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait - the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction - but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

"We spend more money on Intelligence that all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

"I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.

"The threat posed by terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.

"Much of our ground transportation is worn out and in need of either serous overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, 'To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.' We must rebuild our Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office recently admitted to being 'terrified' about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.

"Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.

"I just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the condition on the ground. Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included to Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have not received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects have been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American causalities have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.

"I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won 'militarily.' I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are untied against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraq security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United Stated occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a 'free' Iraq.

"My plan calls:
• To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
• To create a quick reaction force in the region.
• To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.
• To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

"This war needs to be personalized. As I said before, I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

"Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation, to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Updates and explanations..... 

The pain med adventure is over. Found out that any narcotic, not just methadone, will shut down my entire digestive system. The gastroenterologist had no further solutions for me at this time.

So I'm back to daily pain for awhile. Have an appointment with my primary care in two weeks to figure out a pain management specialist that would be appropriate in my situation. I'll probably need to focus on reducing pain in a specific area (like trigger point therapy for my hips) rather than a pill to fix it all.

Chip had to wear the funnel collar for longer than expected because he chewed on a couple of his incisions and opened them up. They finally started healing Sunday, so we took off the collar yesterday. He's doing fine now and enjoying going in and out of the dog door as much as he likes.

Got ANOTHER letter from my LTD insurance company last week on the claim I filed in August requiring a 30 day extension! If I don't have an answer within the next few weeks, I'm going to retain a lawyer. This company it seems will do anything, legal or not, to avoid paying a claim.

My SSDI claim has finally gotten to the DDS office. Today, I got the function form, the work history form and the personal pain questionnaire. Eighteen pages to fill out with arthritic hands and have back at their office in 10 days, yippie. I'm gonna start filling it out tomorrow, so I won't likely be blogging until it's finished.

Believe it or not, I DID finish the 4th Harry Potter book. The movie for "Goblet of Fire" comes out on Friday, and I may try to see it with a friend then. My friend did come to my house tonight, helped me cook dinner and GAVE me a copy of "Prisoner of Azkaban"! We watched it tonight. VERY well done. Emma Thompson plays the Divination professor....toooo funny! The dementors were appropriately spooky, I loved the crazy bus ride, and they did a great job with the effects on the animagus. My only quibble is that they left too much of the story out of the Whomping Willow scene. Sirius, Lupin and Pettigrew all know about the Marauder's Map, but it is never explained why they know about it, or why Harry saw a ghost in the form of a stag and knew it was his father. But other than that I enjoyed it very much. I think they should base an amusement park ride on that bus, heh heh. I am way psyched for "Goblet of Fire" now.

Will check back in when I can.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Rest in peace, Shannon Rutherford?? 

At the start of this episode, Sayid has a surprise for Shannon, everyone's fave diva bitch. Seems he's built a sweet hut for her. She expresses her gratitude in the usual way. She discovers the gun Sayid's been carrying, and while it's tempting to make a dirty pun about that, I'll let the reader do that. After the inevitable lovemaking (amazing that they're the only ones on the island getting any), Shannon wants to go out and get some water, but gallant Sayid volunteers. I don't mind a bit, because it gave me a chance to see Sayid for a while longer with his shirt off, heh heh.

No sooner has Sayid left the hut, however, when Walt suddenly appears, dripping wet and saying something unintelligible. Shannon screams. Of course, he disappears when Sayid comes running, and since no one else saw Walt, Sayid tells Shannon she must have been dreaming. Of course this didn't go over well. Charlie comes to see what the noise was about, as does Claire with Turnip-head in tow. Then Charlie gets mad at Claire for waking the baby, and they have a tiff as well. Ah, those lover's quarrels.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, the "tailies" debate about whether to wait for Mr. Eko to return or just to take off to find the other survivors without him. He appears with Michael and Jin right as Sawyer is saying something rather unflattering about Michael. Eko mentions that he saw the "others", which stirs everyone up. They decide it is time to head out. Sawyer, whose gunshot wound from when he was on the raft was never treated, looks like hell but proceeds anyway.

Shannon gets it into her head that she needs to prove she saw Walt. She finds one of Walt's shirts, has his dog Vincent sniff it, and informs the dog to go find Walt. Vincent takes off into the woods, but instead of leading Shannon to Walt, he leads her to Boone's grave. Sayid catches up with her, but she is still angry that no one believes her, and she goes stumbling off into the woods again, dressed in a lace top with some gossamer shirt over it, a skirt that barely covers her butt and sandals. Yeah, that's what I wear on all my hikes.

Aaron, the amazing turnip-headed baby, exacts his revenge on Claire for waking him by refusing to go back to sleep. Locke notices Claire's distress and shows her how to swaddle the baby so it will be more comfortable. Naturally, the kid stops fussing at once. Claire mentions to Locke how Charlie is carrying around a statue of the Virgin Mary. Locke, who knows the statue is filled with bags of heroin, says nothing to Claire, but later makes a casual statement to Charlie about him being a heroin addict. Charlie snaps at him, saying, "Recovering!" Locke smiles his mysterious smile and doesn't dig any further.

The "tailies" trek along the coastline for awhile, but it becomes too rocky for them to make much progress. Eko decides they should head inland. Ana Lucia doesn't like this, but she's perpetually ticked anyway, so no surprise there. Apparently, if they go into the woods, they risk running into the "others", who have kidnapped 12 members of the tail section survivors. Ana Lucia says that the "others" are smart and that one bullet in one gun (the one she stole from Sawyer) isn't going to stop them. Sawyer collapses. Michael finally does something sensible for the first time this season and asks for help devising a makeshift stretcher to carry Sawyer. Ana Lucia protests that this will slow them all down, but no one else seems very willing to leave Sawyer behind. After hauling Sawyer over some very tough terrain, Cindy disappears. The rest of the party begins to panic when they hear whispers coming from every direction. Ana Lucia yells at them to run.

Sayid again catches up to Shannon, this time in the woods in the pouring rain. He begs her to go back, but she won't, saying he doesn't believe in her and that he'll just leave her like everyone else in her life has. He surprises her by not only saying he believes in her, but that he loves her and will never leave her. They embrace, but then they hear whispering all around them too. While looking for the source of the whispering, Sayid sees something off in the distance. It's Walt, gesturing to them to be quiet. Shannon, however, freaks out and goes running after the apparition. Sayid is a bit stunned by what he just saw, but then shakes it off and goes after Shannon. He trips over something....I'm not sure if it was natural or manmade. Before he can catch up, there is a gunshot! And here comes Shannon staggering toward him, bleeding from her gut. Sayid catches her in utter disbelief. Then we see an equally disbelieving Ana Lucia standing there with the gun in her hand! Jin and Michael are there too, looking utterly horrified. Sayid's face changes from shock to rage.

And of course, we're all dying to know what happens next, but next week, they go back to the beginning to tell the whole story of what happened to the "tailies". I do want to know more about Bernard....maybe they'll do a flashback about him and Rose? And Libby, who has revealed herself as a clinical psychologist, maybe we'll find out why she has trust issues? I will say it's gonna take a hell of a lot of convincing to make me like Ana Lucia, or the actress that portrays her.

So at this point, one, two or three people could be dead: Shannon, Cindy or Sawyer. I doubt they'll bump off Sawyer because then most of the women would stop watching, heh heh. Besides, I'm really hoping for a Kate/Sawyer reunion. And a Sun/Jin reunion, now that Jin has evolved into a decent human being. Probably the sweetest reunion, though, would be Bernard and Rose.

Um, is it Wednesday yet??

Rave of the Day for November 12, 2005: 

My November article for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted. It has a Thanksgiving theme:

The Blessings of Chronic Illness

So even after all my whining about how much it sucks to be sick, if I try really hard, I can think of things that actually are going well in my life. I probably need to be reminded of this from time to time.....

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rave of the Day for November 11, 2005: 

Some musings from the world of SolemnDragon:

Faeries Forgotten by Grimm

Be sure to check out the rest of her journal while you're there.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dubious progress..... 

Well, the dietary reform and motility medication was for naught. Tried the methadone again and had exactly the same result: my stomach completely shut down. Hurling is not my favorite way to lose weight. At least the Miralax does its job, so there is a small victory within the whole mess. Will be seeing the gastroenterologist tomorrow. I don't think she'll have anything else up her sleeve, so I may have to kiss the methadone goodbye. The primary care doc will probably send me to a pain management specialist, but I'm not feeling confident that there are any pain relief methods left that I haven't already tried.

Chip is now stitchless, but not yet collarless. He needs to let the incisions heal for a few more days, so the Elizabethan collar must stay on until probably the weekend. He doesn't seem any more thrilled about his situation than I am with mine. At least I don't have to wear a collar.

Called my LTD company yesterday to see if they had gotten the notes from the doctor they wanted. They had not. I informed them that my calls to the doc's office went through an automated system, so I had very little control over the situation, but the lady on the other end of the phone was unimpressed. So I called the sleep specialist's medical records department again. This time I did get a call back. Seems that the reason the LTD company had not gotten the records is that they wouldn't pay for them. Funny, they didn't mention that to me at all.....just made it seem as if the doc was blowing them off. The medical records lady said they finally got payment earlier in the day and that she would be sending the records ASAP. So THAT'S why the LTD has been able to drag out approving my benefits claim!! They've been requesting records but not paying for them, and then when they don't get what they want for free, they send ME a letter stating the doc didn't respond and demand a 30 day extension on deciding my claim!! They also demand that I call the doc to put pressure on him/her to comply, as if it's MY fault that my docs charge a fee for records! Grrrrr....that burns me up! That's unethical, misleading and should be illegal. I'm going to call the LTD company next week to make sure they've gotten the records. If they use any more delay tactics, I'm calling a lawyer. I shouldn't have to wait three months for a decision on a claim that they paid for the prior six months. It's not like I miraculously was cured in the interim.

Seems that a brand new Wally World (Wal-Mart) is opening tomorrow in my neighborhood. I have mixed feelings about this. Local Wal-Marts have gotten a bad rap because of their bullying tactics in discouraging unionization. And of course I don't like the way the employees are treated or paid. But on the other hand, this is very near my home, and it would take a lot less energy for me to shop there than it would for me to drive to my neighboring town to shop the nearest Target. If they have elecric carts, that is. And face it, with no income at the moment, I can't afford to shop at the more expensive places. So I am gonna take a peek at the new store tomorrow, mainly out of curiosity. This is one of only two Wal-Marts in the world made primarily of recycled materials. It has solar panels and wind machines, and is heated with vegetable oil. I probably will not shop there regularly, especially once the LTD company starts paying. But I hope no one will see me as the devil for setting foot in there.

One place that I am more happy about is the Walgreens being built up the street from the Wal-Mart. As Dan will attest, the pharmacy is practically my second home, so it would really be great to have one just two miles from the house. I don't know what the projected completion date is, but it does seem to be going up fast, so maybe soon?

Right now, I'm trying to download an episode of "Lost", believe it or not. You can access them on iTunes, and a friend purchased the "Everybody Hates Hugo" one for me, which is way cool. Now, if my computer would just stay dialed up long enough to complete the download.....

Speaking of "Lost", I guess there are podcasts available too? Haven't checked it out yet, but you can bet I will.

And of course I'm looking forward to the new episode airing tomorrow night, FINALLY! Supposedly, someone's gonna get bumped off. The previews make it look like it's gonna be Sawyer, but I'm predicting a more minor character, like the blonde lady who was in the back of the plane?

Well, seeing as how I have no food in my tummy, I guess I can go to bed early if I like.....

Monday, November 07, 2005

Notes on coping and (pineapple) tidbits.... 

My Fibrohugs newsletter had a new article about how fibromyalgia complicates one's ability to cope with stress. Check it out:

Vicious Cycle of Fibromyalgia and Emotional Impact: What to Do?

Guess my emotional outbursts on this blog are normal, then, heh heh.

Update on Chip D. Dog: he gets his stitches out tomorrow! Yayyyyyyyy! He has been driving us CRAZY with the funnel head thing! I have bruises on my shins from where he has continually run into me; he has even swung into me so hard a few times that he knocked me down. Some of the walls have marks on them. We've tried taking the collar off occasionally and just watching him really closely, but the minute your eyes leave him, he starts chewing on the stitches on his back! Two of the incisions got infected; Dan had to put Neosporin on them several times. The big incision on Chip's chest where they removed the tumor has been itching him like mad; he couldn't reach it to lick it, but he could scratch it with his back leg when the collar wasn't on. And then Chip would get so mad at having to wear the Elizabethan collar that he would just stare at me and lick the inside of the collar. I'm really hoping that after the stitches are out we can get back to normal and he can play with his toys and fit through the dog door again.

I'm having adventures in figuring out what the hell to eat. As I mentioned last week, because my gastroparesis escalated to the point of not being able to keep anything down, the gastroenterologist wants me to go back to a restrictive diet with no meat, very little fruit, and no veggies unless they're pureed. The basic gastroparesis diet consists of broth and saltines. Well, because of the celiac disease, I can't eat wheat, rye, barley or oats, and most broth and saltines contain wheat. So I must make reasonable substitutions like rice-based items. My other problem with the restrictions is that I have to keep my glucose levels stable because of the diabetes. I must have protein, and with meat being a no no, that leaves me with eggs, dairy (THANK GOD I'm not lactose intolerant on top of everything else!!) and peanut butter. Of course, what am I gonna put peanut butter on? If I ever get some money coming in, I will venture out to the (highly expensive) health food store and look into some gluten free bread I might like and see if there is such a thing as gluten free pitas or something to put hummus and feta cheese on. The other big diabetic issue is carbs. Rice is very high carb, so I can't eat much without raising my glucose levels. That's why diabetics are told to eat lots of fruits and veggies, to pad their meals with more food and fewer carbs. So I'm gonna have to drink V-8 at least once a day to get some veggies.

In spite of all my whining, though, I did venture out to the grocery store and bought white and sweet potatoes (I can have them if they're mashed), low fat cheeses and milk, lots of High Protein Boost and rice snacks. And I'm going back to the foods I got sooooo burned out on when I was first diagnosed with gastroparesis: cottage cheese and nonfat plain yogurt. I did find some gluten free graham crackers that taste only vaguely of sawdust. I'm having to go back to doing the math to figure out the protein and carbs for a proper diabetic meal. For example, I just finished eating a half cup of lowfat cottage cheese, a half cup of canned pineapple tidbits, and a serving and a half of the pseudo grahams. And I WILL at long last learn how to make decent mashed potatoes! For some reason, I've never gotten the hang of it. Once I master the basics, I may try to move up the gourmet scale and make garlic mashed. And I e-mailed my sister and asked her for a recipe she has for a crustless pumpkin pie, which I will make for Dan and me for Thanksgiving. So I AM trying, I'm just kinda grumbly about it, heh heh.

That's all the news for now.

Some stuff about some stuff..... 

Well, at long last, the meds I was given for my digestive issues have started to work. Unfortunately, one of them is causing ANOTHER side effect, one too personal to mention specifically in a family blog. Ewwwwwwww! So I'll need to treat that. Ahem. Anyway, the upside of all this is that I can finally try the methadone again. I am nervous since the side effects were so nasty the first time around. I'm gonna take a half dose at bedtime, so if it bothers me, maybe I can sleep through it? If I can get through a trial period of methadone and survive the initial side effects, I'm hoping I can tolerate a full dose eventually and have some semblance of a pain-reduced life. I know that's a tall order, but I'm desperate.

Gonna be honest: since I had to stop the initial trial of methadone a week ago, the pain has climbed and climbed and today was beyond unbearable. Poor Dan has had to watch me cry and moan and rage about all this. Tried doing some stretches and was practically screaming. Did tennis ball massage on my hips, but it didn't do a lot of good. Even curling up on the couch was an ordeal. I've got a giant Icy Hot patch on my lower back to try to distract me from the worst of it. If only they made whole body wraps, heh heh.

Did manage to get to church tonight. There was a special tribute to everyone we know who has passed away in the past year. The pastor read my grandmother's name aloud. I found out to my surprise that one of my former book group buddies passed away last night. I talked to her over the summer and she was housebound then and soooo lonely. I think it was probably her time to go; she was at least 80. But I'm still gonna miss her. There's gonna be a service for her on Saturday which I will attend. There was also a healing service with the laying on of hands; not the flashy type of stuff you see on TV, but more subdued and personal. I was happy to participate in that because I can't do communion (can't do the bread or the "wine" that has had bread dipped in it). And I did feel better, spiritually speaking. And when I feel better spiritually, the physical problems are easier to endure.

Checked the mailbox on the way home for yesterday's mail; we finally got Dan's benefit information for 2006. Found out his employer is changing both the dental and health insurance plans. The dental covers less than the 2005 plan did, so I sincerely hope I don't need a bunch more crowns next year. The health plan will have higher co-pays for meds, but luckily the doc co-pays will stay the same. My big concern with the new plan is whether my current docs will accept it. So I need to sit down and figure out a ballpark figure for next year's flexible spending account. I am grateful for the benefit, but it's a bit daunting to arrive at an accurate number. If I overestimate costs for 2006 and don't use it all, we lose that money. On the other hand, if I underestimate by a significant amount, the benefit will get used up in just a few months and we'll be paying the rest of the year post-tax. It's not usually a big deal for a healthy person, but since I have major expenses, we're talking thousands of dollars that Dan won't get taxed for. With my income for 2006 being so uncertain, we'll take any little break we can get.

FINALLY updated my operating system this weekend! So now I have iTunes 6! I can download podcasts! I'm excited about that. And once I figure out a little dilemma I'm having with QuickTime, I'll be able to download video! Wooo hooo! I have a new little toy on my screen now....widgets! One mouse click gives me the local weather, time, a calendar and calculator. I still have some application updates to finish. Damned dial-up keeps hanging up in the middle of my downloads.

I think that's enough stuff about stuff.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rave of the Day for November 6, 2005: 

Here's a quick funny courtesy of Joan....

A man and his wife are sitting in the living room and he says to her: "Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state dependent on some machine. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

His wife gets up and unplugs the TV.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Some lighter notes..... 

Well, my two-day rant was good for something.....I got enough negative vibes out of my system so that I was able to finish the article I was writing for But You Don't Look Sick. It, ironically enough, is about the blessings in my life. I will post a link to it if it gets used. And maybe I'll post it here if it doesn't get used. Would make a nice Thanksgiving entry.

I know some people were surprised by my outbursts over the past few days. A lot of the stuff I mentioned was not recent at all....some in fact was a few years old. And I thought I didn't carry grudges. Oops.

Wanted to mention some stuff that has happened lately that didn't suck, just in case anyone's wondering if I'm getting any sort of enjoyment out of life. On Wednesday, a friend came by bearing the first two Harry Potter movies to watch and her copy of the volume 4 book for me to read. I made pseudo Parmesan chicken....actually, it's chicken breast without any breading topped with spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese. I must say that new Prego organic sauce is tasty. The movies were a delight even if they were longer than I was expecting. The boy who plays Ron Weasley has such an expressive face! And the girl who plays Hermione conveys just the right mix of self-righteousness and mischief. The boy that was cast as Harry looks so ordinary at first that you wonder why anyone would pick him to play a wizard-in-training. But that's just the point: an ordinary kid with extraordinary powers. Both movies had impressive effects. I hope to see the third movie and finish the fourth book before "Goblet of Fire" arrives in the theatres in two weeks, but I don't think I'll manage it: the book has about 700 pages, and I'm only on chapter 4.

Got a letter from the company that administers my 401(K). Seems that my employer told them I'd been terminated, so I have to decide what to do with the money. Problem is, as much as I really need the cash, I would incur a 10 percent tax penalty if I touch it, so my best bet is to put it in an IRA. I have just barely enough money in the fund for me to be able to not be charged a fee for the same company to handle the IRA. I was told some good news: I might be able to access the money without the penalty if I am disabled. The catch is that I have to be approved for SSDI first. So if I run out of money waiting around for Social Security to approve me, I guess I swallow my pride and pay the stinkin' penalty. But I really should be grateful I have anything to fall back on. Most disabled people don't have such luxuries. What a weird world I inhabit.

Dan and I have been watching the "Desperate Housewives" season 1 DVD set together a bit at a time on Saturdays. We're most of the way done with disc 3.

Gonna watch SNL tonight. They're featuring the best of their ad parodies. Should be pretty funny, just so long as none of them have Horatio Sanz in them.

Friday, November 04, 2005

There are a few sips of whine left.... 

Sorry. I was gonna throw it all into one post, but I just ran out of energy last night. Promise, though, after I've finished this litany of complaints, I'll be in a much better frame of mind for appreciating all that is right with the world and with my lfie.

Here is a big one with me: that it is difficult to adequately impress upon certain people how life-changing chronic illness can be. You know, the ones who say they know exactly what chronic fatigue syndrome feels like because they've been tired before, or who say they know all about rheumatoid arthritis because they have a trick knee? I can appreciate the ones who are genuinely trying to understand, but all too often, the people who don't get it are the ones who equate illness with moral shortcomings or laziness. Like last night, I won't name any names, but more than one person in my life has either implied or flat out told me to my face that I am sick because I "made" myself that way, or that I'm sick because it's convenient for me to sit on my fat butt and not work. Oh, hell, yeah, it's very convenient for me to take a $30,000 per year pay cut and give Dan premature grey hairs (for those of you unsure, this is me being facetious).

I'm not trying to be cruel to those with minor ailments, but I'd like to try to explain the difference between someone who has quality of life and someone who does not. Someone who has the flu, for example, really feels like hell for that week or two they are sick, to be sure, but this is not a serious compromise of quality of life because most of the time, the person with the flu has a foreseeable end to the crisis at hand and can put their regular activities on hold briefly. In other words, they can usually bounce back good as new. But someone with fibromyalgia feels like they have a severe case of the flu EVERY DAY, and there is no end in sight. So they can't put major life activities on hold indefinitely.... eventully, they must try to get out of bed and figure out how to function despite the body aches, fatigue and brain fog. Part of this learning how to function while ill usually requires scaling back any activity not absolutely essential....in other words, giving up the fun stuff so you still have the energy to take care of yourself. When you must relinquish your favorite activities due to illness, that is adversely affecting your quality of life.

Another example might be that person with minor osteoarthritis in their knee. Yeah, that pain is pretty bothersome, and might keep them from being able to run sometimes. But unless running is a routine activity for them, they probably don't think about their knee more than occasionally and can pop a couple of Aleve for relief. And they will probably still be able to walk on it. So, yes, it does interfere in their life, but not in a major way. Someone with an autoimmune disease causing arthritis, though, may have the same amount of pain in their knee as the osteoarthritis guy, but they ALSO have it in the other knee, and maybe their entire spine, hands, wrists, hips, feet, ankles, shoulders, etc. And it may hurt all the time, not just when they run. If they have rheumatoid arthritis, their joints may become deformed to the point where they won't work properly at all. Have you ever considered spending every single day with hands that you can't straighten, hands that won't button a button, hands that can't hold a pen or type at a keyboard? Or spending every single day unable to walk? When your body becomes impaired to the point that you require the assistance of others to take care of yourself, that is adversely affecting your quality of life.

Yeah, my analogies may be a bit simplistic, but you'd be amazed how many people believe that someone with severe rheumatoid arthritis can still do whatever they like if they really want to. Or the millions of people who believe that someone with CFIDS only needs the right mindset to "get over" their illness. There exists an attitude amongst the healthy that those who become depressed as a result of chronic illness are just sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Part of it is just the sheer exhaustion from dealing with a body that no longer functions optimally. Part of it might be loss of identity with those who must give up a career due to illness. Part of it may be the humiliation of realizing you need help with personal things like using the restroom. Part of it may be the loss of social status when you can no longer leave your home. Part of it may be guilt that you can no longer be the ideal parent or spouse. And part of it is the way the disabled are treated by our government and society at large. How cheerful would someone be waiting years with no income to obtain benefits that they have already earned? Benefits that wouldn't be enough to cover a mortgage or maybe even rent? Poverty due to illness does not a happy camper make.

Wanted to mention right here that I was kinda rough on Dan in last night's post. I'm not mad at him so much as angry at the situation.....angry about having to petition Social Security for money, angry with my LTD company for blowing me off for three months, angry that most of the funds I could access to help me out are only available to me once I'm actually receiving SSDI. Angry that Dan's working his ass off and we have so little to show for it.

And Dan IS working his ass off. In addition to full time work, he has to do all the cleaning, laundry, yard work, shopping, walking the dog, etc. He has to drive me around to appointments and errands at least four days a week on the average. And he is still trying to find another job, one that still provides a living wage. If I were still able to work, at least the pressure to find a certain amount of pay would be a lot less. But all I can do is watch him stress himself to a frazzle and tell him how much I appreciate all he does for me. Ironic that I'm seven years older than he is, yet he is the one with the grey hairs. He's only 34. That definitely falls into the "not fair" category.

Again, I had a nice conclusion to all this, but I'm too tired now to remember what it was.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I thought a little whine was supposed to be good for you..... 

I'm in the mood to complain. If you're looking for something light and uplifting here, please either scroll down until you find something suitable or better yet, go read someone else's blog. Yep, this entry's all about meeeeeee.

I won't name names or anything, but someone made an offhand comment that kinda ticked me off. They said they would be glad when I got back to being my old self because they liked reading my posts then. They probably didn't mean anything by this, but I took that to mean that they don't enjoy reading what I have to say now while things aren't going well in my life. Well, this is the deal: I can only tell tales of fun events when I'm actually experiencing some fun, which ain't exactly happening right now. And pardon me if I bitch and ask for a little support when things really suck. And if I'm stuck in the house with my digestive sytem shut down, my pain levels through the roof and no money coming in, I'm gonna be cranky!

Face it: I was probably a lot more fun when I was able to work and travel and go to the mountains for hikes and photography and go to concerts and hang with friends in restaurants. But most of that is in the past, and I may never be able to do some of that again. That is why the reference to me going back to being my old self really stung, because it's probably not gonna happen. I also used to have enough cognitive function to say very clever and entertaining things, but now I'm doing well to remember what I ate for lunch, let alone being able to describe it in a creative way. I didn't consciously seek to become less interesting, but that is the hand my life has dealt me. So welcome to the new me: you're stuck with it, and so am I.

It kinda reminds me of the thoughtless comments people make when trying to talk to someone who has lost a loved one. You know, standing around at the funeral and making statements like: "He/she would want you to move on". Um, hello? What about the grieving process? The moving on part happens maybe a year later, not before the tombstone is even in place. Well, being ill isn't quite that major, but every time a person loses the ability to do something that they used to enjoy, it's like a small death requiring a bit of time to adjust and deal with it. I'm not saying that I don't accept what has happened to me, it's just that I need maybe a few days to accustom myself to this latest development. Ask a diabetic sometime how they felt right after they were diagnosed. They were surprised, then angry, then maybe didn't believe their doctor, then were depressed about the changes they had to make, and then maybe a month later, they were finally able to accept the diagnosis. So finding out that I will have to overhaul my diet for the fourth time in two years plus try new meds that might not agree with me just so I can take a half dose of a pain med seems like a big deal for me. The past three weeks of the pain med side effect roller coaster have been for the most part hellish. And the fact that I haven't gotten over my latest post-vacation exacerbation hasn't helped a bit.

And while I'm at it, I'm gonna whine about some other people's attitudes that tick me off. Again, I'm not gonna name names. It's this whole need for people to say things like: "You know, if you didn't dwell on your illness, you'd be fine." Again, I'm sure they mean well and feel they're giving you a valuable public service message. But here's a news flash: happy thoughts do NOT cure most autoimmune diseases!!! Yes, there is a lot of power in positive thinking, and I know it is a highly valuable coping skill, but it ain't gonna completely fix me. I spent four solid months in 1998 putting on a happy face, ignoring my fibromyalgia and Sjogren's symptoms and bravely carrying on with my life. Guess what? I only made myself sicker the more I tried to tune the illness out. And now I have so many ailments that I literally have symptoms 24/7. How do you not dwell something that affect every single stinkin' aspect of your life? Pain and muscle twitches affect my sleep. Pain, stiffness and arthritis affect my mobility. I have slow and impaired cognition. My entire digestive process from eating to toileting is affected. In fact, most of my body parts are affected in at least some small way.

And here is one more thing I don't usually comment on publicly: the holidays take a lot out of me. I don't usually mention it because I want to be sociable and not spoil anyone's good time. But Thanksgiving is three weeks away, and I just can't make the rounds this year. Every year, I try to scale back the festivities and just do enough to feel as though I got to celebrate. But I'm at the point where even going to someone else's house and chatting for a few hours is gonna knock me flat on my ass for days. So I've begged off of Thanksgiving, and I'm sorry if this hurts anyone's feelings, but I just can't see me making merry with a plate of mashed potatoes while everyone else gets to eat goodies. Haven't the energy for the forced smiles and polite conversation, trying to think of what to talk about now that I have no job, no income and no social life. Because here's a real problem: I can't discuss my illness openly in certain company without hearing snide comments about it. And how do I not mention certain aspects of my illness when they affect what I can and cannot eat? It's the stress of trying not to tell what's really going on in my life that I think contributes to the utter exhaustion that accompanies the holidays. Those of you who know I'm not faking my illness and are genuinely concerned about my welfare, I apologize for shutting you out along with those around whom I'm uncomfortable. I am hoping that by Christmas, I will have figured out a new diet/med routine and will be able to make some appearances. I hate having to choose between sociability and my health, but that's where I'm at right now.

The last source of stress I'm gonna mention is the financial one. Dan is just starting to fully realize the major changes he's gonna have to make in his life due to my inability to work. Oh, we've been talking about it for several months, but now it is starting to sink in that he will not be able to travel either for fun or to visit family (he is going to Sioux Falls for the holidays this year, but his parents are paying for two-thirds of it). He won't be able to get a new car when the current one wears out. He won't be able to eat out when the mood hits or shop for clothes or any of the other things he has taken for granted since we got married. He's very angry about how unfair this is: he knew on some level that this would adversely affect me, but for some reason, he didn't consider how much he would be deprived as well. I think maybe this is because he's never really done without. I, however, have had rough financial patches in my adult life when I didn't know how I would pay the bills. Still, it is far more difficult to have money and lose it than it is to never have it in the first place. I'm all too aware that we wouldn't be in this bind if I hadn't gotten sick. But it's not like I'm just being a bum and am expecting Dan to provide for me. Where we live, one income just doesn't cut it. I'm also very aware that marriages break up over situations like this. That won't happen to us, but I hope there is some way for Dan not to become too unhappy.

This is not to say that I spend every moment of my life wailing about how awful I have it. Actually, most of the time, I have a fairly balanced view. I know that I have an amazing support system and usually have the mental strength to endure the crummy stuff. But this year has been rough. I'm in therapy trying to emotionally survive the disability process. What is ironic is that for the past four days, I've been trying to write an article for But You Don't Look Sick about what I'm thankful for. I keep writing a couple of paragraphs, deciding it sounds forced and awkward, deleting it and then then getting bummed about the empty screen before me. I do have plenty of blessings in my life, I really do, but I'm too distracted by the crises of the moment to get a good look at them.

And now I'm too fatigued to remember what my point was.

Rave of the Day for November 3, 2005: 

I feel like a vocabulary lesson. How about these new terms? Thanks for Joan for e-mailing them....

New Words for the 2000s

Blamestorming - Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was

Chainsaw Consultant - An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee headcount, leaving the top brass with clean hands.

Percussive Maintenance - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

Uninstalled - Euphemism for being fired. Heard on the voicemail of a vice president at a downsizing computer firm: "You have reached the number of an uninstalled vice president. Please dial our main number and ask the operator for assistance." See also Decruitment.

SITCOMs - What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids. Stands for Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage.

Starter Marriage - A short-lived first marriage that ends in a divorce with no kids, no property and no regrets.

Tourists - People who take training classes just to get a vacation from their jobs. "We had three serious students in the
class; the rest were just tourists."

Alpha Geek - The most knowledgeable, technically proficient person in an office or work group. "Ask Larry, he's the alpha geek around here."

Dancing Baloney - Little animated GIFs and other Web F/X that are useless and serve simply to impress clients. "This page is kinda dull. Maybe a little dancing baloney will help."

Flight Risk - Used to describe employees who are suspected of planning to leave a company or department soon.

Generica - Features of the American landscape that are exactly the same no matter where one is. "We were so lost in generica, I actually forgot what city we were in."

Nyetscape - Nickname for AOL's less-than-full-featured Web browser.

PEBCAK - Tech support shorthand for "Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard." (Techies are a frustrated, often arrogant lot. They've submitted numerous acronyms and terms that poke fun at the clueless users who call them up with frighteningly stupid questions. Another variation on the above is ID10T: "This guy has an ID-Ten-T on his system.")

Square-headed Girlfriend - Another word for a computer. The victim of a square-headed girlfriend is a "computer widow."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I hate my guts! 

I saw the primary care doc today, and I was right....the opioids are shutting down my entire digestive system. What's worse, the fiber supplement I was taking for the constipation was probably not ever making it to the bowels, swelling up in the stomach instead.

The primary care doc called the gastroenterologist while I was there. Between the two of them, they came up with something I can try. I was warned that this may not work, but I promised to give it a shot as it can't be any worse than I am now.

I have do to the opposite of what you might suppose.....switch to a NO fiber diet as right now I'm not able to digest it at all. That means no fruits or veggies unless they're pureed, and then in only small amounts. And no meats, which means I'm gonna be living primarily on eggs and rice.

I'm off the methadone temporarily until we can get my guts to work. I have prescriptions for Erythromycin and Miralax. The first is an antibiotic that stimulates motility in the stomach, the second is for the constipation.

Once my tummy starts functioning again, I am to ease into low dose methadone. I may not be able to take it around the clock at first, but will have to find some sort of balance between pain relief and digestion. It is as complicated as it sounds.

We want to stick with the methadone if possible because it is generally more easily tolerated than the OxyContin. I'm keeping my appointment with the gastroenterologist next week, both to check in and to see if she has any other suggestions should this not work. So now I'm trying to treat celiac disease, diabetes, gastroparesis and this most recent crisis all with diet....yikes.

I'm trying not to be jealous of people with only one illness to treat, but right now, I'm not succeeding very well.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?