Saturday, December 31, 2005

Making 'em up as I go along.... 

Here it is, Friday night, bedtime, and tomorrow I pick up Dan at the airport. I have about a zillion things I want to post, but I'm all fogged out and can barely form a sentence. Probably not the best time to make up some New Year's resolutions, but I don't think I'll get to them before next week, so I'll just go for it. Let's see:

1. Start going to bed at midnight every night and getting up no later than 10am. The sleep doctor wants me to do this anyway.

2. Stay on the moderate gastroparesis diet (no meat, mostly rice and pureed fruits and veggies) at home the majority of the time. Make exceptions only for special occasions.

3. Check glucose levels more often, especially on special occasions.

4. Work on scrapbooks more often.

5. Stay as appreciative as possible of the good things in life.

That's gotta do for now as i'm dozing off for the third (fourth?) time today.

Year-end questionnaire..... 

Got this one from Ricky Buchanan's Not Done Living! site (see my links list) and added my own answers.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
I began contributing articles and reviews for But You Don't Look Sick.
I applied for SSDI.
I went to a science fiction convention, met William Shatner, had my photo taken with him and got his autograph.
I acquired a wheelchair and started using electric carts in stores, which actually gives me the chance to go to a lot of places I couldn't before.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't keep them all, but part of that was not my fault. I simply never got healthy enough to increase the amount of exercise I was doing. Same with helping Dan do housework and attending church more. On the other hand, my poor health WAS responsible for eating out less and taking better care of my teeth (had to get the root canals and crowns and such). And because I've had no income for while now, I have restricted my credit card use and followed a budget pretty closely. So I'd say I was moderately successful on keeping my 2005 resolutions.
Since I just wrote a big ol' article on resolutions, I suppose I'd better make some for 2006, or I'd look like a hypocrite, wouldn't I?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My stepbrother's wife had a girl they named Allie.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandmother died in March. I now have no living grandparents. And a friend from church died in November.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just my own, at least in person. Virtually, I visit Australia and Canada quite often.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
A favorable decision from SSDI and one from the long-term disability insurance company would be a GREAT start. And the money that goes along with that, of course.
I would like to not develop any new medical problems.
It would be way cool if my fatigue would recede enough for me to resume some volunteer work with my church, or at least for me to be able to attend regularly.
A nice long romantic vacation with Dan. Um, the question didn't state that these had to be LIKELY to happen.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
August 17th. That was the date I applied for SSDI. It was like announcing to the world that I was volunteering to become a second-class citizen by applying for money that was mine in the first place.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not succumbing completely to the depression that looms so large all around me.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not saving enough money earlier in the year because I believed I'd be receiving regular income starting in August from the long-term disability insurance company.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Um, pretty much my whole blog covers this question.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A month-long subscription to Netflix.
I also really enjoy the music CDs I bought this year.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Oprah Winfrey. She was serious about helping out the people who had lost their homes to hurricane Katrina, and is going about building brand new houses!
And the Coast Guard kicked ass, rescuing people by the dozens while most of the other agencies waited for instructions.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
FEMA, President Bush.

14. Where did most of your money go?
I won't have specifics until tax time, but besides the mortgage, my biggest expense was health care. Ack.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My sister's wedding.

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
Oddly enough, "1985" by Bowling for Soup, even though it came out last year. The reason is that it reminds me of a little reunion I had in October with friends I hadn't seen in 20 years.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?
Um, both? Definitely sadder about the state of my physical health and the way I am being treated because of it, but happier because I have a great support system and have not allowed my mental health to completely collapse (although sometimes I come awfully close).

ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same. I achieved a normal weight in late 2004 and hope to maintain it indefinitely.

iii. richer or poorer?
Poorer by about $30,000!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Movies in the theatre, comedy clubs, concerts, travelling, hiking, photography, reading, writing.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Going to doctors! Taking pills that made me sicker! Being confined to bed!

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Um, already did that. Declined an invitation to get together with extended family; was too sick to pull that off. But a friend and I went to church and sang carols, made a ham dinner at my house, and played 1980's Trivial Pursuit. And I took a two hour nap on the couch in the middle of it all.

21. Did you fall in love in 2005?
I stayed in love. Does that count?

22. How many one-night stands?
Hilarious question considering that's practically physically impossible for me.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
"Lost" of course.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Not one person in particular, but some groups are currently receiving my wrath. Namely my long-term disability insurance company and the Social Security disability system.

25. What was the best book you read?
I liked Harry Potter 1-4.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
There was some local music by Love.45 and The Fray. I also like Goldfinger. Among the more mainstream stuff, Rise Against, The White Stripes, and The Black Eyed Peas.

27. What did you want and get?
Music CDs, an iTunes gift card, other gift cards so I can buy some much needed clothing and even a card for a scrapbooking place. "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" on DVD. Also the Harry Potter 5 book.

28. What did you want and not get?
Better health, a smoother road on being approved for disability.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Hard to pick. I liked several. "Goblet of Fire" was the one I saw most recently, so I'll pick that one.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 41. I got dental work done. Woo hoo.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A nice long romantic vacation with Dan (and the health to enjoy it of course).

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Remember to put on something besides pjs when leaving the house!

33. What kept you sane?
Well, besides the therapist, heh heh, my friends, my husband, my dog and all the people all over the world who care about me and pray for me. It's really mind boggling how many awesome people there are in this world. Maybe it's because mostly we only hear about the assholes.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Female: Gwen Stefani. I like her because she is unique.
Male: Mmmmm, I like to look at a lot of men, so don't get me started on the ones I just like to look at. I did enjoy Orlando Bloom in "Kingdom of Heaven".

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The slow response to evacuating poor and disabled people stranded by Hurricane Katrina. It broke my heart, people dying waiting to be rescued.

36. Who did you miss?
Some of my co-workers. Sometimes I feel invisible staying home so much.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Ricky Buchanan. At least I THINK it was this year I stumbled upon her site.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you earned in 2005:
To find whatever good I can, no matter how great the suffering.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"It's been so long
It's hard to breathe when the trust is gone
A face of steel
Just melts away in the weather

"You got a lot to weigh so weigh it
If you got a lot to say just say it
Aren't you tired of wastin fuel?
So now I hand the fuse to you

"burn it all
Let's burn it all
Let fire fall
Let fire fall
What's done is done
It's in the past
Its ashes"
--from "Ashes" by Pepper

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Startin' a revolution.... 

Yayyyy! My December article for But You Don't Look Sick has been posted. This one was the toughest for me to write due to my new meds reducing my ability to focus and concentrate and form a meaningful sentence. Between that and preparing some home made gifts for Christmas, I think it took me over a week to write this. But it's up now, and I'm proud of myself for persevering when I really wanted to give up:

New Year Revolutions

Have a consultative exam with a Social Security doctor tomorrow. This usually ends up with a claim being denied. But all I can do is my best, right? I will do my best to convey to this doc the extent of my ailments and how they prevent me from working. I requested that the results of the exam be sent to my rheumatologist because I'm pretty sure I can get his office to send me a copy. Right now the process is moving right on schedule, and I expect an answer on my claim in February.

Got some rather horrific financial news yesterday that I won't detail until later. Ack. Ack. Ack.

So many other things that I want to mention, but I need to get this exam out of the way first.

"You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world".....
--The Beatles

Monday, December 26, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 26, 2005: 

It might still be awhile before I do a regular post here due to some unexpected developments with Social Security. In the meantime, here's a classic goody courtesy of Ducky....

'Twas the Day After Christmas

'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurtin', even the mouse.
The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.
Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while
Upstairs the family continued to snore.
And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
I went into the kitchen and started to clean.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an oversized mirror.
The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said "U.S. POSTMAN."
With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.
Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:
"Now Dillard's, now Broadway's, now Penny's and Sears
Here's Robinson's, Levitz's and Target and Mervyn's.
To the tip of your limit, every store, every mall,
Now charge away--charge away--charge away all!"
He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.
He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.
Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,
"Enjoy what you got. . . . . .you'll be paying all year!"

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 24, 2005: 

Got this one from a couple of people this week. Thanks to my sister and to Joan. Turn up the speakers and enjoy.....

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bonus Rave of the Day for December 23, 2005: 

I got two different versions of this one, so I guess I'll combine them. Thanks to Alicia and Joan for the e-mails....

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed..................................

1. Schizophrenia - Do You Hear What I Hear?
2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are
3. Amnesia - I Don't Remember if I'll be Home for Christmas
4. Narcissistic - Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
5. Manic - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and ...
6. Paranoid - Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me
7. Borderline Personality Disorder - Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire
8. Full Personality Disorder - You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout,  Maybe I'll tell You Why
9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...
10. Agoraphobia - I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House
11. Senile Dementia - Walking in a Winter Wonderland Miles From My House in My Slippers and Robe
12. Oppositional Defiant Disorder - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House!

13. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away? 

Rave of the Day for December 23, 2005: 

Been getting lots of cool stuff in e-mails this week. I will post as many as I get the chance for. This gem arrived courtesy of Deb...

"W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating and even overspending. Yet, still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant". I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise. So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor.
Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas", I didn't expect anything other than fun commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer.

So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row - center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for Christmas, " a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his
portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love." The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed a small, quiet girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down - totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of the 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake, but she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W". Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In an instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And I believe, he still is.
Amazed in His presence...
Humbled by His Love...
Blessings for this Christmas time and for the New Year to Come!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 22, 2005: 

Maxine strikes again! 'tis the season for guests, so here's her take on how to be a happy homemaker, heh heh. Thanks to Ducky for this one.....

Maxine's Top Ten Tips to Entertaining

1. When one hosts a dinner party, it is essential that all the place mats match, or, at the very least, that they all come from the same fast-food restaurant.

2. Entertaining in your backyard? The key to a nice-looking lawn is a good mower. I recommend one who's muscular and shirtless.
3. My favorite party game is "Pin the Cleanup on the Guests."

4. Nothing in the world is quite so entertaining as pouring old milk into new containers before having guests over.

5. A good host must always be a STICKLER for attractive food presentation! I always take the foil COMPLETELY OFF the TV dinner before serving.

6. Getting your home in tiptop shape for a party can be fun if you think of it as kicking dust bunny tail!

7. Take short cuts! I used to offer my guests instant coffee. They kept whining for hot water to go with it.

8. The best way to prepare a roast is to make an aluminum foil tent over your roasting pan. Similarly, the best way to prepare for relatives is to pitch a tent in the backyard and stay there until they leave.

9. When decorating for a party, be creative with regular household items. Some people might just see a moldy shower curtain with torn eyelets. What do I see? A new tablecloth.

10. The better you cook, the more likely your guests will return. Which is why I'm not usually too hot in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Color me blue.... 

Despite my best efforts to be upbeat, sometimes the less pleasant aspects of my life rear their ugly heads and refuse to be ignored. So my feelings are hurt, and I'm a bit resentful of being invisible to people whom I thought mattered. I'm also railing against my medication being more in control of me than I am of it. I feel like I've lost myself, and because I've had to be asleep more hours than awake during the past few days, I'm wondering how the HELL I'm gonna pull off a normal sociable family visit on Saturday that I agreed to weeks ago.

But not to worry....I will pull it off, because I always manage to somehow. I'm boycotting the offending med during the days I absolutely need to be alert, and I will finish pouting about the other stuff probably tonight. I try not to waste too much energy on things I dislike but cannot change, even when they sting.

Still, I'm going to use this occasion to educate a bit. For those of you with chronic illness, the next few articles can confirm for you that it really IS more difficult to get through the holidays than it was when you were healthy. For those of you who are healthy, please let these articles serve as a reminder to please be patient with those who have trouble coping during the holidays due to illness.

Holiday 'Blues'

Coping with Chronic Illness During the Holidays

I think I feel slightly less cranky already.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 20, 2005: 

Been thinking a lot lately about last year's trip to Hawaii. I can't go back, but I can post this little gem sent to me by Ducky....

The 12 Hawaiian Days Of Christmas

For the twelve days of Christmas my Tutu (Grandmother) gave to me

12 missionaries

11 televisions

10 cans of soda

9 Pounds of poi

8 ukuleles

7 shrimps a swimming

6 hula lessons

5 Luau pigs!

4 Flower Leis

3 Dried squid

2 coconuts

and a Mayna bird in one papaya tree

Monday, December 19, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 19, 2005: 

In the mood for some funny? Here are various witticisms by Maxine, the cranky old lady who is the Shoebox Greetings mascot. Thanks to Joan for sending it along....

Maxine on "Driver Safety"
"I can't use the cell phone in the car. I have to keep my hands free for making gestures."

Maxine on "Life"
"Life is like an oven. It burns my ass!"

Maxine on "Housework"
"I do my housework in the nude. It gives me an incentive to clean the mirrors as quickly as possible."

Maxine on "Lawn Care"
"The key to a nice-looking lawn is a good mower. I recommend one who is muscular and shirtless."

Maxine on "The Perfect Man"
"All I'm looking for is a guy who'll do what I want, when I want, for as long as I want, and then go away. Or wait nearby, like a Dust Buster, charged up and ready when needed."

Maxine on "Technology Revolution"
"My idea of rebooting is kicking somebody in the butt twice."

Maxine on "Aging"
"Take every birthday with a grain of salt. This works much better if the salt accompanies a Margarita."

Never read the fine print. There ain't no way you're going to like it.

If you let a smile be your umbrella, then most likely your butt will get soaking wet.

The only two things we do with greater frequency in middle age are urinate and attend funerals.

The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.

To err is human, to forgive - highly unlikely.

Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have millions of old ladies running around with tattoos?

Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than a Kia.

Drinking makes some husbands see double and feel single.

After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching somewhere, you may be dead.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 18, 2005: 

Think your December is busy? Chances are, you've got nothing on Ms. Stewart. Got this one last year from Ducky....

Martha Stewart's Holiday Calendar

December 1
Blanch carcass from Thanksgiving turkey. Spray paint gold, turn upside down and use as a sleigh to hold Christmas Cards.

December 2
Have Mormon Tabernacle Choir record outgoing Christmas message for answering machine.

December 3
Using candlewick and hand-gilded miniature pinecones, fashion cat-o-nine-tails. Flog Gardener.

December 4
Repaint Sistine Chapel ceiling in ecru, with mocha trim.

December 5
Get new eyeglasses. Grind lenses myself.

December 6
Fax family Christmas newsletter to Pulitzer committee for consideration.

December 7
Debug Windows NT 5

December 10
Align carpets to adjust for curvature of Earth.

December 11
Lay Faberge egg.

December 12
Take Dog apart. Disinfect. Reassemble.

December 13
Collect dentures. They make excellent pastry cutters, particularly for decorative pie crusts.

December 14
Install plumbing in gingerbread house.

December 15
Replace air in SUV tires with Glade "holiday scents" in case tires are shot out at mall.

December 17
Childproof the Christmas tree with garland of razor wire.

December 19
Adjust legs of chairs so each Christmas dinner guest will be same height when sitting at his or her assigned seat.

December 20
Dip sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectioner's sugar to add a festive sparkle to the pasture.

December 21
Drain city reservoir; refill with mulled cider, orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

December 22
Float votive candles in toilet tank.

December 23
Seed clouds for white Christmas.

December 24
Do my annual good deed. Go to several stores. Be seen engaged in last minute Christmas shopping, thus making many people feel less inadequate than they really are.

December 25
Bear son. Swaddle. Lay in color coordinated manger scented with homemade potpourri.

December 26
Organize spice racks by genus and phylum.

December 27
Build snowman in exact likeness of God.

December 31
New Year's Eve! Give staff their resolutions. Call a friend in each time zone of the world as the clock strikes midnight in that country.

Twinkle, twinkle, electric stars..... 

Tonight, my husband and I did one of the few holiday traditions we can still afford....we drove around and looked at houses that had been decorated. It's quite a big deal where we live....the addresses that have the best displays are printed in the newspaper along with maps showing how to get to them. Every year, we pick a different part of town to see.

This time, we went back to my childhood neighborhood. One of the houses had greetings in Spanish and English and had holiday music playing. Another had a train running through the front yard and around the back.

We also went further north into some of the fancier, newer neighborhoods. One had a spectacular display of blue and white lights with animated displays in all the windows. The owner greeted the stream of spectators at the front door and handed out candy canes.

And one we happened to see by mistake when we made a wrong turn was especially impressive. Someone had hand-made wooden figures of all the major characters in The Nutcracker Suite. They were painted with great detail and were completely unique.

I also got to have my once-a-year treat of a cafe mocha at Starbucks. It was much-needed this year as the temperature was probably only 10 degrees and it was snowing. I was also glad I had my new hooded coat I received as an early Christmas present.

Dan and I have done this sightseeing bit enough years in a row that we have it down to a science. He drives, and I'm in charge of navigation. We bring maps, a flashlight so we can see the maps, snacks, water and holiday music.

Soooo tired now. But it sure was fun. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 17, 2005: 

I would be remiss not to include this, which I heard on "Oprah" recited by Maya Angelou and Oprah with a choir in the background....

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
By Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth's tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

Bonus Rave of the Day for December 16, 2005: 

Be warned: this joke is a groaner! Hee heee! Thanks to Joan for sending it....

If big-boobed women work at Hooters,
where do one-legged women work?????
        I HOP!!


Friday, December 16, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 16, 2005: 

While looking for nice holiday art, I stumbled across a very nice webpage about the Victorian tradition of Christmas. It's a most pleasant place to take a little break....

Victorian Christmas

I for one am glad I don't need to cook a Victorian feast, heh heh.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bonus Rave of the Day for December 15, 2005: 

This joke is probably in bad taste, but I thought it was funny. Thanks to Feathers for sending it to me.....


After many years, a Jewish mother gets the phone call she never thought she'd get from her openly gay son.

"Mom, I've met a wonderful girl, I'm going straight and we're going to get married."

Mom is overjoyed but asks, "I suppose it's too much to ask that she's Jewish?"

Her son says, "Mom, not only is she Jewish, but she happens to be from a very wealthy and prominent Beverly Hills family."

Mom is beside herself with joy and says, "You don't know how happy you've made me. What's her name?"

The son says, "Monica Lewinsky."

Mom is silent for a moment, and then says,

"Whatever happened to that nice Catholic boy you used to date?"

Top four quiz.... 

Last week, the Journal of SolemnDragon (on my Links list) featured a questionnaire about your top four in various categories. It might not have originated with sol, but it's from her journal I copied the quiz and filled in my own answers. Feel free to blog amongst yourselves....

1. Phone book editor
2. Resume writer
3. Voiceover artist
4. Newspaper production artist

In keeping with the season,
1. "It's a Wonderful Life"
2. "Scrooge" (the version of "A Christmas Carol" with Alistair Sim)
3. "A Christmas Story"
4. "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" (the animated one)

1. Denver, Colorado
2. Topeka, Kansas
3. Baldwin City, Kansas
4. Hampton, Virginia

1. "Lost"
2. "Desperate Housewives"
3. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
4. "Boston Legal"

1. Hawaii
2. Canada
3. California
4. Florida

1. Not Done Living!
2. The Journal of SolemnDragon
3. Captain's Blog
4. Fibrohugs

1. Gluten free pizza (with a soft, Italian seasoned crust)
2. Dark chocolate
3. Cheese
4. Steak

1. Hawaii
2. With friends and/or Dan in person
3. At a concert
4. At a movie

1. Pretty snow
2. My edema goes into hibernation (if I behave and elevate my feet)
3. Pretty lights
4. Hot chocolate

Actually, I prefer fruit spread, but:
1. Grape
2. Cherry
3. Strawberry
4. Blackberry

Um, I'm taking this to mean material things? Not like world peace or better health?
1. A lifetime subscription to Netflix
2. Unlimited iTunes downloads
3. Harry Potter books volumes 4-6
4. A 100 percent gluten free restaurant and grocery within 5 miles of my home

Rave of the Day for December 15, 2005: 

In a much better mood today. Fortunately, I tend not to stay depressed for more than 24 hours. It didn't hurt that I watched "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" with a friend tonight. Excellent movie. Yayyyyy, Netflix!

I found this a year ago, but it's one of my fave Christmas links, so I'm posting it again. It's a flash Christmas card.....just follow the instructions and click where it says to, and watch the magic unfold! Almost makes me want to go out in the front yard and build my own snowdog.....well, maybe if I had some snow.....

The Snowdog


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 14, 2005: 

Saw the primary care doc today, and I'm feeling discouraged tonight. Yep, there are more meds on the horizon, and possibly more side effects and/or permanent alteration of brain chemicals involved. There's a whole lot I'd like to say on the matter, but I'm too tired and depressed to go into it right now.

Instead, I'm gonna post what someone else with chronic illness had to say about a week ago when she was feeling particularly discouraged. While I'm luckily not at her level of impairment, I can definitely identify with the frustration expressed by splodgenoodles. I do not feel this way every day, but I do at the moment.....

The right eyebrow, ever so slightly raised

Will probably post cheerier material as soon as I become more myself again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 13, 2005: 

'tis the time of year for warm fuzzies. Oh, admit it, you love it. This gem is courtesy of Feathers.....

Having Lunch with God

Sometimes it's all in the way we look at things....

I'm funny! 

Having fibromyalgia is not all gloom and doom. Due to whatever neurochemical imbalance is going on, I sometimes either forget what I'm going to say, or when I do speak, it comes out sideways. This can have hilarious results.

Today for example. Dan tells me he's going out shopping for stocking stuffers. I say, "Oh, ok, you can stock my stuffing." Heeee heeeee! I've been giggling most of the afternoon and evening about that one.

Who needs professional comedians when I've got ME???

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 12, 2005: 

This is an oldie but a goodie. It came to mind when I was trying to figure out an age-appropriate, safe gift for my niece today. Thanks to Pete for sending this version....

Amazing! How did we ever do it?

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank koolade made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day and we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! If YOU are one of them . . . CONGRATULATIONS!

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Bonus Rave of the Day for December 11, 2005: 

Still working on my projects. Having side effects from Lyrica and other problems, but I'll get into detail about that later. In the meantime, this article has been sitting on my desktop for a few weeks, so I figure it's time to post it. I originally found it on Greg's blog (see "Captain's Blog" on my links list). Whether you like Rob Zombie or not, it's hard to deny he has a good point here....

Where Have All the Faces Gone?

More jokes, poems and articles coming soon.....

Rave of the Day for December 11, 2005: 

Here's a quick funny courtesy of Dr. Karen......

Symptoms of Bird Flu

The Center for Disease Control has released a list of symptoms of bird flu. If you experience any of the following, please seek medical treatment immediately:

1. High fever
2. Congestion
3. Nausea
4. Fatigue
5. Aching in the joints
6. An irresistible urge to shit on someone's windshield.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rave of the Day for December 9, 2005: 

Wanted readers of my blog to see the wonderful poem sol wrote a few days ago. And please take the time to read the rest of her journal (listed in the links on the right, see "solemndragon"). This poem contains many sentiments I share.....


Too quiet now, in the empty house of the year,
and my hair still wet
  from throwing snow
out in the cold
not an hour ago,
and i'm tired, too tired for play-

and too cold for snow.
This is the season where shadows go
to recover their welcome of spring.

After six nights of freedom, the warmth went home,
leaving us with the empty room.
Crumbs of conversations,
half-glasses of joy;
the sky looking paler than ever,
danced thread-bare.

I never was
on good terms
  with the winter-
nor with warmth, too common for my crowd-
but old age waits in the centre of all bones,
and finds new charm in the youthful grace
i never carried, young.

The young remind me of summer,
bare-shouldered and brave,
and i remember uses for youth
that i didn't before.
How easy it was to get up to get the door!
How easy to speak without hearing, to laugh without truth-
Unlike laughter,
  warmth is the trinket of youth,
and the grown have only one another
to wear,
as the world gets dark.

How hard, to sleep, to rest,
when the world and i were young
and so much together-
How little i cared, when i had the eye
of summer days upon days,
a dance card full
with hours in gold and temperate charm,
the flattering silver tongue of spring
(who insists how young we are
no matter how old knees creak out objections
or how a shoulder might thrum out
dull warnings of dignity, offered in vain)
to keep me careless,
keep me cruel.

Now the winter comes, and with it,
i re-learn
to welcome those who wander to my door,
to smile on those who later might be gone,
and to miss the warmth and light of the awkward sun.
I treasure what i miss, and miss the light,
gathering what i can in this quiet room.
Winter comes,
and with it,
comes the world.

Updates and advisories..... 

On Sunday afternoon, Dan and I made an obligatory appearance at the union hall (we're both on the Executive Committee), but there was no official business to discuss. Unofficially, though, I told the union president all the problems I'm having with my long-term disability insurance company. I don't think he really has the power to do much, but I wanted someone affiliated with the union to know I've been screwed out of the benefits due me. We didn't have a quorum for the union meeting, so Dan and I left after about 45 minutes.

Then Sunday evening, we met my dad and stepmother, my stepbrother and his wife and their baby, and my sister and her husband for dinner at Red Lobster. It was my first dinner out since October (and since my digestive problems got worse). I had taken an Erythromycin earlier hoping it would help. It did seem to. I had broiled lobster, mashed potatoes and even a few bites of salad with Perrier to drink. Since it had been my sister's birthday on the 30th and would be Dan's birthday and his and my anniversary on the 5th, we had a gift exchange. We got season 4 of the "Dick Van Dyke Show" on DVD and a gift certificate to a Chinese restaurant called P.F. Chang's.

After dinner, we went to my sister's for about an hour and everyone except me had birthday cake. I looked at my sister's wedding pix while everyone ate. The photographer did a great job.

After we got home, I was extraordinarily fatigued and had trouble keeping my eyes open the rest of the evening. At midnight, Dan and I did our own gift exchange (Dan likes to celebrate holidays right after midnight). Dan gave me a DVD of the 1947 version of "Miracle on 34th Street" and a $15 gift certificate to iTunes! Yayyyyy! I was particularly excited about the iTunes because I hadn't downloaded any music since June due to our tight budget.

On Monday, I was so exhausted from the day before that I couldn't get out of bed for aquacise. I think I finally came to life about 2pm. We went to Media Play once I was decently awake so Dan could exchange a duplicate DVD he'd gotten. I stayed pretty close to the entrance because I didn't have the energy to walk far. I did find several movies that interested me as well as some music-themed books like Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums of All Time. Dan bought "Crash", "Shaun of the Dead" and "Under the Tuscan Sun".

We had reservations for dinner at P.F. Chang's, but we arrived too early, so I convinced Dan to let me go across the parking lot to J.C. Penney to see if they had any nice coats (I remembered that the coats were close to the entrance) since my current coat fit me like a circus tent (I've lost 60 pounds since I bought it). To my surprise, I found the perfect coat: purple of course, made out of that new material that looks like suede but is more durable, with a fur-lined hood. Large enough to wear over a sweatshirt but nice enough to wear to church. The best part was that it was half price! I very reluctantly left the store to go eat.

P.F. Chang's is a cool place. They have a gluten free menu upon request. All of the food is reasonably healthy, free of the usual pitfalls of Americanized Chinese cuisine such as MSG, heavy oils and breading. We had the lettuce wrap appetizer; Dan got the usual sauce with his, and I got a gluten free version with mine. For the main course, Dan had the spicy chicken, and I had lemon scallops. I felt a little weird ordering white rice instead of brown and not ordering any veggies at all, but I knew my stomach would be happier that way. I had tropical green tea to drink which was delicious. I let Dan eat my fortune cookie.

After we got home, we watched "Miracle on 34th Street". I hadn't seen it all the way through in probably 20 years, and Dan had never seen it. It's a very charming movie. I got so sleepy afterward that I ended up going to bed at 10pm and sleeping 12 hours.

Tuesday was also busy: I had inadvertantly scheduled two appointments that day. First, I had a massage and chiropractic appointment, and then I went to the sleep specialist. I had lots of trigger points in my shoulders as a result of putting up the Christmas tree, so I kept the massager therapist busy. The sleep specialist decided that I still wasn't getting restorative rest even with the Lunesta since I was still waking up during the night due to pain. So he decided I should try a few solutions and decide which one had the best results. I'm to up my dose of Lunesta for two weeks, then try Klonopin for two weeks. The higher dose of Lunesta is intended to get me to sleep through my pain, and the Klonopin is intended to get rid of my constant night-time muscle twitches. I'm to check back with him in four months.

After the appointment, Dan made an unexpected detour: he decided I should buy the coat. I'd gotten some money as an anniversary present from both my aunt and my in-laws, so I'd use that for part of it. The rest was to be an early Christmas present from Dan. I actually wore it out of the store as the temperature outside was about zero. I think I look good in the coat, but I may just be biased because it's purple. It does go well with my purple scarf and my black pseudo-suede gloves. The sum total of the appointments and the purchase of the coat was sufficiently exhausting to make me fall asleep on the couch for two hours after I got home.

I did manage to make it to aquacise on Wednesday, but I was the only one because it was -11 degrees outside! Not arthritis-friendly weather. Luckily, the instructor was there, so he did the exercises with me. I skipped my usual nap after I got home because I'd promised the sleep specialist I would try to keep a more regular schedule and limit my sleep to 10 hours per day. So I took care of some business on the phone with converting my 401(K) through my former employer to an IRA. I really hope I don't have to resort to accessing that money before I am approved for SSDI, because the penalties for doing that are HUGE! Anyway, I should have just taken that nap, because I dozed off during "Lost" and didn't wake up for over two hours! Ended up going to bed at 3am when I'd promised I'd go to sleep earlier, but I did try the larger dose of Lunesta. Instead of taking a half hour to fall asleep, I think I conked out after 5 minutes!

Next thing I know, it's 12:30pm! I didn't wake up once, not even to pee! That hadn't happened to me in several months. Only problem was that I awoke with a headache and felt really spacey. I thought maybe the headache was due to the Lyrica wearing off, so I took one, but I stayed in bed for another hour and a half due to the spacey thing.

When I was able to get up today, I called my long-term disability insurance company. They had wanted an extra 30 days to analyze my claim, and their time was up and I hadn't heard anything. Unfortunately, when I called the automated system, it had no information on my claim. I went online and checked there, but they couldn't even find my account! Their web page did, however, have a number to call with problems, so I called that and got a live person. She told me that they had sent me a letter dated December 2nd explaining everything. I told her I hadn't gotten it. She said the letter requested an additional 30 days so their doctor could contact my doctor and they could further analyze my claim! I told her that it was ridiculous for their company to take 5 months to process a claim. I wanted to say more, but I know they record each phone call, so I left it at that. She wanted to know if I wanted to discuss this with my benefits coordinator. I did, so she connected me. The coordinator told me that the extension was because they had gotten the most recent medical records November 11th. I expressed my dissatisfaction with how long this was taking as politely as I could. She tried to make it seem that it was my fault my doctors didn't send their records immediately. I know that's bullshit because they try to get records without paying for them, hence the slow response. I kept that to myself, though, and said I'd be looking for a decision very soon. Then Dan got the mail before he left for work (we get it as late as 4pm), and wouldn't you know, the letter was in there.

Ok, from what I've been able to piece together, once they have all your data, they can only take 45 days maximum to make a decision, which would be December 27, not January 2 as they claim. I think they're stalling so they can find some loophole in my case whereby they can force me to go to an "independent medical examiner", some schmuck paid by them to make me run on a treadmill, lift weights, etc. to prove I am not disabled. If they do decide to go that route, they're gonna have to deal with my lawyer.

The most aggravating part in all this is that I will likely receive no benefits until February. I simply will not have the funds to do the holiday shopping I'd planned unless I charge it and then pay it back later. I may do a bit of that, but mostly, I'll probably try to figure out some homemade gifts, a challenge because I don't do crafts. I'm gonna let Dan do whatever he thinks is best. So be forewarned: my blog may be devoid of entries between now and Christmas while I work on some last-minute projects. I have lots of links and jokes to post, so all is not lost. Just no lengthy health-related stuff for a bit.

Amazingly, though, even though I'm pissed at the LTD guys, I'm in a decent mood otherwise. I think the holiday spirit has snuck in. It is most welcome.

And iTunes, "Miracle on 34th Street" and a new coat certainly don't hurt, heh heh.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Is there anything Kate wouldn't do? 

On last week's "Lost", the focus is on Kate for the first time this season. The episode starts, though, with Jin walking shirtless out of a tent (love those shirtless scenes!). Sun follows and puts her arms around him. From the contented looks on their faces, you know what they've been up to. Jin sees Hurley at the next tent, and Hurley gives him a thumbs up. Then Sun looks off into the distance and sees Sayid, digging Shannon's grave. Why didn't anyone volunteer to help him out? Maybe he wanted to do it by himself?

Jack is in the hatch with Sawyer, who is delirious. Jack tells Sawyer that Kate had sat with him for 24 hours straight, so he sent her out to find some fruit. Sawyer mutters, "I love her". Jack assumes he means Kate and looks a bit dejected.

Kate despite her exhaustion has climbed a tree in search of fruit. She finds it but nearly falls off the tree. Once down, she turns and sees a gorgeous black stallion in the woods! This vision does not please her; rather, it freaks her out.

Kate brings the fruit back to the hatch. Jack senses she's upset about something, but she won't admit to it. There is going to be a funeral for Shannon, and someone needs to stay behind with Sawyer. Kate talks Jack into going, which he reluctantly does as funerals really aren't his thing.

Eko finds Ana Lucia hammering away at something on the beach. He informs her that he is going to go to the funeral. Ana Lucia with a grim smile indicates she has no intention of attending. Eko says that everyone knows what she did was an accident, but she won't budge.

Most of the survivors gather around the grave that has been dug for Shannon, which is next to the grave that contains her brother. Sayid attempts to say a few words about his relationship with Shannon, but he is too grief-stricken to say much other than that he loved her. He finally has to walk away. As everyone is standing there feeling awkward, Jack sprinkles some dirt into the grave and places a stone at the edge, and then the rest follow suit.

In the hatch, Kate is mashing up some fruit to feed to Sawyer. He starts mumbling something, and she leans closer to listen. Suddenly, Sawyer opens his eyes, sees Kate, grabs her by the throat and snarls, "Why did you kill me?" Ack!

Jack and Locke head back to the hatch after the funeral to find the alarm going off, Sawyer face down on the floor, and Kate nowhere to be seen. Locke enters the numbers just in time. After Jack ensures that Sawyer is ok, he sets off to find Kate. Charlie had just seen her and tried to have a conversation, but she was practically hysterical. Jack tracks her down and demands to know what happened. Kate will only say she's sorry, which Jack doesn't buy. She shrieks at him that she's sorry she'll never be a good person like him. She begins to cry, and Jack holds her. Then she begins to kiss him. Jack is surprised by this but doesn't pull away. It's Kate who pulls away with a vaguely horrified expression and runs off.

Michael and Eko are in the hatch with Locke. Michael is poking around and discovers blast doors. He asks Locke if he knows anything about them. Locke says no but asks Michael if he would like to watch the film about the hatch. Michael agrees, and Eko speaks up and says he'd like to look at it too. Locke says sure, the more the merrier.

Sayid finds Kate sitting at Shannon's grave. Kate apologizes for not being at the funeral, explaining that she needed to be with Sawyer. Sayid asks why she isn't there now. Kate says it's because she's going crazy and asks him if he believes in ghosts. Sayid replies that right before Shannon was shot, he saw Walt in the jungle. He asks if that makes him crazy.

Locke, Michael and Eko watch the film. Locke asks the others what they think of it. Michael seems puzzled by it wanting to know that has been edited out of it, and Eko says nothing at all.

Hurley finds Jack chopping wood like a madman. He tries making conversation, saying, "Rose's husband is white. Didn't see that coming." He asks if Jack is mad about something, which of course Jack denies. Hurley points out that Sawyer used to chop wood, and says it looks like what Jack is doing is transferrence, a term he learned at a mental institution.

Eko tells Locke he has something that would probably interest him. He begins by telling Locke the Old Testament story about how the temple got rebuilt after the holy book was found. Then he pulls out the Bible from the other hatch and tells Locke to take a look. Locke begins to flip through it and then discovers that it's hollow. Concealed in the middle of the Bible is a bit of film. Locke holds it up to the light and sees to his surprise sees what appear to be the missing frames excised from the film they had just watched. He splices this back into the film, marveling at how amazing it is that Eko happened to find the missing piece. Eko says, "Don't mistake coincidence for fate."

Kate returns to the hatch to find Sun taking care of Sawyer. She stands uncertainly in the doorway until Sun asks if she would mind taking over (no doubt she wants to get back to Jin!). Kate hesitates, then accepts. She sits down next to Sawyer and begins talking to him about how the ghost of her father seemed to be in him. Seems she killed her abusive dad and was caught by the authorities but escaped when the car she was riding in swerved to avoid a black stallion and hit a tree. Kate addresses Sawyer by her dad's name, Wayne, and explains that she killed him because she hated that she would never be a good person being his daughter. She adds that every time she sees Sawyer, he reminds her of Wayne. At this point, Sawyer wakes up and asks who the hell Wayne is. He sees that he's in a bunk bed and decides that he's been rescued and doesn't believe Kate when she says otherwise.

Ana Lucia is surprised to see Jack coming toward her bearing airline bottles of alcohol. He decides it's time to have that drink he'd promised her before they got on the plane. She wants to know if he's going to try to convince her that everybody doesn't hate her. He wants to know if she'll try to convince him that not all women are crazy.

Kate somehow manages to get Sawyer on his feet and tries giving him a tour of the hatch. He insists that it still looks to him like they've been rescued, so she takes him outside. Sawyer then looks around at the familiar jungle and realizes Kate was telling the truth, uttering the classic, "Son of a bitch". He begins to say something else, but then sees something behind Kate and mutters, "Maybe you'd better take me back inside". Kate turns around and looks at the black stallion that has re-appeared. She Sawyer if he can see it. Sawyer replies, "You mean the big ass horse in the jungle?" Kate walks up to it and touches it, hardly believing it is real. She is able to pat the horse on the head before he walks back into the jungle.

Eko and Locke watch the film with the lost footage back in place. Basically, it warns not to use the computer to communicate with the outside world as this could cause another "incident". Locke and Eko look at each other like what the hell does that mean? Michael is fiddling around with the computer wiring in the other room while this is playing. At one point, the countdown clock seems to freeze, and a beeping sound starts coming from the monitor. Michael looks at the screen and sees that someone has typed "Hello". Amused, he types "Hello" in reply. Then it says: "who is this?" Michael responds with: "This is Michael. Who is this?" The next thing that comes on the screen is: "Dad?" Then cut to black after a glimpse of Michael's shocked face.

Ack! Won't get to find out what happens next until JANUARY! Gotta give these guys credit: they sure do know how to prolong suspense.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The year in review.... 

Wrote my annual Christmas letter to family and friends (the ones who don't read my blog, obviously). This year has pretty much been a blur, with my memory so poor that I had to read my previous blog entries to remind myself what all has happened prior to the past few weeks and then make notes so I could compose the letter. I kept the notes for this entry, heh heh.

It has been a wild ride. I can't sort it out well enough to give it any sort of rating. Like in "A Tale of Two Cities", it was the best of times and the worst of times.

I was diagnosed with two more ailments, periodic limb movement disorder and type 2 diabetes, right at the start of the year. I didn't take the diabetes news too well, being already preoccupied with Sjogren's, fibromyalgia, gastroparesis, chronic myofascial pain and celiac disease. But ironically enough, with some basic education and some medication, I was able to get my glucose levels down to non-diabetic levels pretty easily. The periodic limb movement disorder unfortunately did not respond to medicaiton and remains unchanged.

January was also the month I began contributing articles to But You Don't Look Sick. It has been difficult for me to do this with the ever-increasing cognitive dysfunction, but my brain really needed the exercise. I have written travel tips, book and product reviews, and most recently, an article about the blessings of chronic illness. Oddly enough, I have no idea what to write for December. Maybe the idea fairy will strike me with a bolt of lightning or something?

Got to go to my local comedy club a few times this year, which is always a good time. And I got to see Duran Duran for my birthday......woooooo hoooooo! I also went to as many movies as I could afford.

In February, I had a lymph node in my neck removed and biopsied as it was thought I might have non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which unfortunately is about 40 times more common in people with Sjogren's than in healthy people. The sample was non-cancerous, but had lymphocytes typical of autoimmune damage. So I will be watched over the coming years and re-tested as necessary. Fortunately, my ENT who did the surgery also does cosmetic work, so he positioned the incision in such a way that the scar is hardly noticeable.

In March, my grandmother died of Alzheimer's. She had been ill for many years and was most anxious to go home. So it was a blessing that she finally got the peace she so desperately wanted. I still miss her, though. I did a eulogy for her at her funeral.

Dan got to do some traveling in 2005, even if it was just to visit relatives. He saw his grandfather in Florida in March. He helped his parents move in South Dakota. And he will be going back to South Dakota for Christmas.

Also in March, I got introduced to the wonderful world of multiple dental procedures, thanks to excessive tooth decay due to Sjogren's. During the course of spring and into summer, I ended up with two fillings, two root canals and a crown. I have six other teeth decaying around old fillings, but so far I have not had to mess with them. My jaw muscles ache just thinking about it.

In April, my stepbrother and his wife brought their daughter into the world. So now I have TWO beautiful nieces. I'm rather awkward as an aunt, but at least they aren't my own children, right?

At the end of April, two friends came to visit, and they and Dan and I went to the local StarFest convention, which salutes sci fi, horror and fantasy. Three days of meeting celebs, checking out memorabilia, watching movie previews and presentations, mingling with Klingons and other costumed fans and attending seminars and trivia contests. I had an especially good time because I rented a wheelchair for the occasion and didn't have to exhaust myself with all the walking. Wore Dan out, though, because he got to push the wheelchair.

In July, my only sister got married. She had a very nice but not excessive wedding bash at a local Victorian style resort near the mountains. There were about 130 of us in attendance. I played the music for the ceremony (a CD of classical music from various sources I had compiled). A dj provided the dance music after the ceremony, and we boogie oogie oogied till we just couldn't boogie no more.

In August, I finally caved and acquired a foldup wheelchair of my very own to use whenever I go someplace that usually requires a lot of walking. It has so far enabled me to go to the zoo, a craft fair with Dan and his parents when they visited in September, and to a fall festival.

Also in August, I filed for disability with Social Security. I don't expect a decision from them until February. It has been a rough road, having to stop work and then realizing I could never go back. I'm in therapy to help me adjust with the inevitable depression and feelings of worthlessness that have accompanied this transistion.

I did get to take one little vacation of my own this year. In October, I visited a college friend and met with four other friends, some of whom I had not seen in 20 years. I was only gone for an extended weekend, but it took me over a month to recover from the inevitable flare that followed this excusion. It was totally worth it, though. Good times always make suffering seem insignificant.

And I think that's the lesson I learned in 2005: to find whatever good I can, no matter how great the suffering. Perhaps that's a lesson we can all use.

Happy holidays, and may 2006 be kinder and gentler.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What's new in browser-ville..... 

I saw my primary care doc Tuesday. She suggested I give Lyrica a shot since it's similar to Neurontin. I had side effects with Neurontin, but no vomiting.

I have some samples since right now I can't afford to make a co-pay on something I might end up throwing out if I can't tolerate it. Lyrica, I found out, is the gabapentin that was studied for fibromyalgia for the past few years. I'm hoping it will get rid of the nerve pain that bugs me so much.

I also got a referral to a pain management specialist. I want to see what can be done for the nearly constant lower back spasms and hip pain. It has persisted for months on end despite massage, stretching, aquacise, heat and OTC patches.

I have an appointment with the pain doc on the 20th, but I was warned right away that he didn't treat fibromyalgia, and the office staff was kinda rude about it. I explained that I have arthritis and chronic myofascial pain in addition to the fibromyalgia, so I wanted to at least consult with the doc. I'd rather let the doc decide whether he should be treating me.

Thanks to Robert's recommendation, I am trying Netflix for two weeks for free. Tuesday night, I saw "Finding Neverland", which was quite good, not at all the melodrama I was expecting. Tomorrow, I am supposed to get "Chocolat". I have four other movies picked out but realize I'll probably only have time for one or two of them before my trial runs out. I picked "Tortilla Soup", "Soul Food", "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Crash". I would really love to join because I think 10 bucks a month is a pretty good deal, but right now I have no income, so it will have to wait. Even when I do finally start getting my LTD benefits, I don't know if I should allow myself to set aside money for entertainment as it's technically not necessary. That's just SAD, not knowing if I can spare 10 measly bucks a month.

This weekend is the big birthday bash for Dan and my sister. Dan turns 35 on Monday; my sister turned 37 yesterday. So Dan and I will be going to Red Lobster with my sister and her husband and my dad and stepmother. I will have to take an Erythromycin beforehand to help my digestion. I haven't eaten out since mid-October; I hope my tummy cooperates.

I promised Dan I'd write a Christmas letter tonight, but my brain seems only capable of spouting gibberish at the moment. Did I do anything this year worth relating in a letter? It took me an hour just to come up with this entry. I know, I'll check my old blog entries and come up with a few paragraphs about them. But maybe tomorrow. Right now it just about hurts to think.

Once again, a post without a point. Sorry about that.

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