Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pain of 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.... 

I woke up with the resurgence/continuance of the migraine that started a week ago (I'm not sure it ever went completely away). Was also still sore from the cleaning I've been doing in little bits and pieces (mainly to distract myself from the whole biopsy thing). And I had a terrible time getting out of bed.

So I knew that going to the dentist this afternoon for a crown would be rough on me. I'd been doing self-massage on my jaw muscles to try to get them loosened up since they were still sore from Thursday's root canal. But it usually takes me weeks after a root canal for the muscles to stop seizing up on me.

My first sign of real trouble today was that they couldn't get me numb enough. I required SIX shots, three of which were excruciating. And even after that, I could still feel pain on the right front quadrant of the tooth, but it wasn't severe, so I chose to put up with it rather than get another shot.

Sjogren's makes dentistry particularly painful. My mouth kept drying out so much that the instruments would stick to the insides of my cheeks, chafing and gouging them. And pieces of the tooth they were drilling would also stick to my cheeks and tongue, not rinsing away easily.

And then there was the problem with my gums. Although they are not receding because I take the best care of them that I can, they are weak and thin and particularly susceptible to damage. And they pretty much shredded whenever they came into contact with an instrument or when they were trying to fit me for the crown.

So I bled a lot, and because the tooth in question was in the very back of my small mouth, it was quite difficult for the dentist to get at what she needed to. And me having trouble keeping my mouth open didn't help. We did use one of those mouth rest thingies, but even then, the muscles in my face were twitching like mad.

The whole ordeal took two and a half hours! The dentist warned me that I would be extremely sore and recommended that I take a painkiller for awhile. Trouble is, with my gastroparesis, I can't take any narcotic without shutting down my entire digestive system and copious vomiting.

And since I am having my breast biopsy on Monday, I have to stop all anti-inflammatories three days prior. So I'm taking my usual Mobic and fish oil until Friday, and I hope like crazy that will help somewhat. Other than that and salt water rinses, I'm pretty much SOL.

Right now, I feel as though I have a dagger imbedded in my skull with the blade running from the top of the right side of my head and going straight through my mouth to the chin. I can barely open my mouth enough to get a spoon in there, and a huge area surrounding my right back tooth is throbbing wildly. And the entire inside of my right cheek is covered in blisters, gouges and even some loose skin.

To say it hurts is to say the ocean contains water: a gross understatement. I'd cry if I was able. And I'd medicate myself senseless if my body would allow it.

The final dental appointment is a week from Thursday. At least then that particular nightmare will be over.

Signing off not with a bang, but a whimper.

Rave of the Day for July 31, 2007: 

Needed some humor, and boy, does this one deliver! Thanks to Pete for the ed-u-ma-cational material....

New Element Discovered

In early October, 2005, a major research institution announced discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium". Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton like particles called peons. Since Gv has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Gv causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Gv has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Gv is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass. When catalyzed with money, Gv becomes Administratium (Am)... an element which radiates just as much energy as Gv since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons!

Friday, July 27, 2007

This has not been my week..... 

Went back to the clinic that did my mammogram to have the follow-ups today. They did three more scans of the left breast at different angles than before. Some were actually painful as I was clamped down pretty tightly.

They came back and said they still saw an undefined mass and that an ultrasound was needed. So I waited about half an hour while they set up for that. They have all their equipment in the same office.

While I did the ultrasound, the technician and I discussed Harry Potter at length. I just rested while the results were analyzed. Then the doc came in.

He said that I have a nodule. It is not a cyst, but then, it does not look like a typical tumor, either. But they compared today's films to last year's, and this mass appears to be new.

So the next step is a biopsy. They are just gonna use a needle to extract some of the tissue in the nodule and analyze it. Doesn't sound any more invasive than the thyroid biopsy I had two years ago.

The mammography center will give all the info to my primary care doc. Her office will arrange the biopsy. It's an outpatient procedure, so it probably can be taken care of within a few weeks.

I'm rather surprised that it's not a cyst. I doubt it's cancer, but I suppose it's best to know for sure. Sigh.

My migraine's still going strong, and I'm still sore from yesterday's root canal. I did, however, take my usual anti-inflammatories as soon as I got home from the mammography center, so I hope my pain level will deflate a notch or two. I don't imagine I will be doing anything significant this weekend as my body will probably only allow me to rest.

And I get a crown on my tooth on Tuesday. Cripes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Note to self: migraines and root canals don't mix! 

The migraine started yesterday. It improved slightly with caffeine initially, but by the time I went to bed, I could tell it was gonna get worse before it got better. It woke me up this morning and showed no signs of backing off.

I considered cancelling my root canal today, but it took me two months to get this appointment, and I didn't want to prolong the ordeal with my teeth any longer than it has been already. So I went to the endodontist's office as gingerly as I could. I had taken a non-sedating muscle relaxant about an hour before to try to cut down on the pain of sitting in the dentist chair and holding my mouth wide open for what seemed like forever.

Fortunately, endodontists are able to get a root canal done about twice as fast as a regular dentist, but I still had to be there for a while because I have exceptionally deep roots in my teeth. I relaxed as much as I could, but after about 45 minutes, my facial muscles were twitching so much that it was difficult to hold still. Thank goodness I only had to have one tooth worked on.

Sitting in that dentist chair was agony because it had to be tilted back so that there was pressure on my neck, which did not help the migraine. By the time I was finished, I had stiffened up so badly that I had to be assisted out of the chair. I put on my sunglasses to avoid the glare of the fluorescent lights and hobbled out into the humidity and my sweltering car.

Unfortunately, I couldn't take any anti-inflammatories because I'm having follow-up mammograms and possibly an ultrasound tomorrow and I was told no inflammatories for three days prior. So the whole right side of my face is throbbing right now, I feel like I have a dagger in my right eye, and yawning I found out is a very bad idea. I will try another muscle relaxant before bed and see if it does anything.

I have two more tooth-related appointments pending with the regular dentist. The first is Tuesday. I figure it can't be any worse than today because by then the migraine should be gone.

Healthy people who get dental work done don't know how good they have it.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Alas, the cleaning spell from the Harry Potter books doesn't work in real life. But it's fun to say, heh heh. Perhaps I should take a cue from the boy in the clip art photo....

The good news is that I'm only one bookcase and one former microwave cart that now serves as a photo album display case away from having the entire upstairs cleaned thoroughly once. Well, except for the tub and bathroom floor, which Dan promised to clean two weeks ago. I'm trying to ignore the fact that it has taken me so long to get the upstairs done that the living room is already dusty again.

The bad news is that nothing downstairs has been cleaned since we moved in. Obviously, the storage room won't need anything done to it, but the living area containing the command center, entertainment center, stereo, project area and various towers for tunes, books and movies is a mess. And there is a massive pile of items that need to be shredded that Dan said he'd get to months ago that he's secretly hoping I'll tackle instead.

Unfortunately, the more progress I make, the slower I have to take it. The exacerbated back spasms, trigger points and drop dead fatigue every time I tidy something is incredibly discouraging. So there are bouts of two or even three consecutive days where I can not tackle anything new.

And my cognitive dysfunction has reached the point of being alarming. I was planning on doing some real cooking this weekend and making a gradual transition away from the microwave and box dinners that are so expensive, but now I'm not so sure that's a good idea. At least the heat and eat stuff is pretty much a no brainer, which seems to be what I require.

Yesterday, I had the bright idea of making chicken Parmesan out of the defrosted chicken I had in the fridge. But then I found out there we were out of Parmesan cheese and had forgotten to ask Dan to get some when he was at the store the previous day, and he was out. So I went to plan B, a boxed gluten free mix for chicken Alfredo.

I took the chicken breasts out of the package and put them in the skillet and started to heat it with the nagging notion that something didn't seem quite right. Then I realized that I was supposed to be using bite-sized pieces, not whole breasts. So I had to fish it out of the skillet and slice it up, which was something I'd usually have Dan do because it hurts my hands so much.

So the chicken pieces are returned to the skillet, and I'm merrily cooking away. Then I discover to my surprise that the chicken is stuck to the bottom of the skillet because I forgot to use cooking spray like I usually do. The chicken goes back on the cutting board, I spray the skillet and try again.

Um, did I mention that my coordination has also been off since I started this cleaning quest? While I'm heating the chicken, I spill pieces onto the floor, and then when I'm adding milk for the sauce, I slosh it everywhere. Thank goodness for Chip, the canine vacuum cleaner.

But there was one thing Chip couldn't help me with. While closing the corner lazy Susan we use for a pantry, two cans of pineapple fell into the back of the cabinet. The cans were small enough for the door to still move, but they were large enough to be quite securely wedged.

The only way to get them loose was to get the extension handle of my feather duster, lie flat on the floor to be eye level with the cans, and roll the cans toward the front of the cabinet and somehow squeeze my hand in there to grab them. This took half an hour, and by then, my neck and back had seized up and I couldn't get off the floor! Seemed to take forever to get onto my knees and grab the countertop and hoist myself back up.

Did manage to finish making the chicken Alfredo, and since I didn't know exactly when Dan would be back, I thought I'd just cover the skillet while it cooled in case he wanted some. When an hour had passed I went to put the leftovers in the fridge and discovered I had LEFT THE SKILLET ON! Good thing I didn't burn the damned house down!

This is at least the third time in a week that I have accidentally left the heat on something. I'm actually nervous about cooking my eggs in the evenings now. This is stuff I used to be able to do on autopilot, no matter how tired I was.

Has my autopilot disappeared? Am I doing other dangerous things unawares? A little fibrofog I can handle and find amusing, but this is freaking me out.

How I wish I could scourgify.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane." 

Thus begins the most anticipated work of young adult fiction in my lifetime. And because I never matured behavior-wise beyond the age of 12, I naturally have acquired a copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" for myself. But from what I've seen in the media, I am not the only childless woman in her 40's to have done so, which should serve as an indication of just how this story transcends the age of its audience.

No, I did not purchase my volume at midnight Friday night/Saturday morning with the masses, although I would have liked to because I enjoy striking up conversations with strangers (I've camped out for many a concert and went to a really colorful Ann Rice book signing once). Unfortunately, I can no longer tolerate standing in long lines, so I did the responsible thing and did not badger Dan to take me to the local bookstore until yesterday afternoon. I was able to walk right in and snag a copy immediately, and although the cashier line was long, it was not inordinately so.

Perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit it, but I was actually giddy to have acquired the book, as giddy as when I watched the opening sequences of "Return of the King", or when I first saw the coastline of Hawaii from an airplane window. But like the other experiences, there was also a sobering thought at the back of my mind, that this would be the last of a particular journey. And so, as excited as I am and as much as I want to pounce upon the book and devour ever word immediately, I am attempting to force myself to back off somewhat and savor the experience.

Therefore, unlike nearly everyone I've seen interviewed who has the final Harry Potter volume, I am not going to have it finished up by sunrise tomorrow, although resisting the temptation is surprisingly difficult. I'm trying to treat the book as though it were the last bar of dark chocolate I would ever eat: one bite at a time, allowing each to melt in my mouth, putting the remainder away for another day even though I hunger for more. I have managed to read only three chapters so far, with as much concentration as my dysfunctional brain can muster, no jumping ahead, focusing instead on each individual paragraph, and marveling at how the author's skill has improved with each successive book.

I realize, of course, that the longer I take to read the book, the more likely I will encounter spoilers before I have finished. I intend to avoid reading anything about Harry Potter on the internet, knowing that the ending has already been revealed on some sites, probably now more than a few sites. So I will try my best to do the virtual equivalent of clapping my hands over my ears and shouting "LA LA LA LA LA!"

You know those kids who ransack the house before their birthday or Christmas, hoping to find where their parents have hidden their gifts? I never did that, not once. When I decide I want to be surprised about something, I really do want to be surprised.

But I do speculate. Right after I finished reading "The Half Blood Prince" the first time, a friend and I formed our theories about what would happen in the final book, who would perish and who would survive. And it appears already that I am dead on as to one of my theories, although I will need to read Chapter 4 to be sure.

In a life like mine, where the exciting adventures have become fewer and fewer because of my health and finances, I am really enjoying this ride.

Even if this is the last one.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why the term "health care" is an oxymoron in America.... 

First of all, it doesn't necessarily result in health, and secondly, the people responsible don't really care. Um, can you tell I went to see "Sicko" yesterday? Documentaries rarely come to theatres in Sioux Falls, and this one only arrived last weekend, so I thought I'd better get on it.

I went to an afternoon showing, expecting an empty theatre. But it was nearly full, and most of the people in attendence were elderly, many with canes. I saw one person who was perhaps college age, and there were probably three my age.

"Sicko" is Michael Moore's look at the American health care industry, specifically, those who are insured but still face dire consequences should they be so unfortunate as to become ill or injured. He examines what tactics insurance companies use to deny valid claims, why politicians can't or won't help the average Joe get appropriate low or no cost care, and what happens to the people who slip through the cracks. And he goes to Canada, England and France to see how their universal health care compares.

I've been a Michael Moore fan since "Roger and Me", so I am accustomed to and enjoy his comedic use of film clips and sarcasm to get his points across. These balance out the usually very serious underlying subject matter and keep his documentaries from becoming too depressing to watch. This was particularly effective when he dramatized the conceit that socialized medicine was akin to Communism.

This is not to say that the film was all fun and games. On the contrary: I know I was not the only one weeping at the story of the woman whose daughter died because an HMO wouldn't authorize an ER visit, the man who died because his insurance denied every single cancer treatment his doctors prescribed, the 9/11 rescue workers with resulting permanent damage to their bodies who couldn't get treatment because they were not members of the approved New York rescue units. And I couldn't have been the only audience member shocked at the reasons insurance companies gave applicants for refusing coverage, such as labeling a yeast infection a pre-existing condition, denial for being too thin or too fat, telling a woman with cervical cancer that she was too young to have the ailment.

And for those of you who have written Moore off as a liberal, he doesn't let either political party off the hook on this issue. He points out that while Hillary Clinton's attempt at health care reform was admirable, she later accepted money from the health care industry for political gain just like the Republicans did. I found the tape recordings of Nixon approving of the concept of the HMO in the 1970's to be chilling.

Moore's visits to Canada, England and France were fascinating. Contrary to what Americans have been led to believe, the wait for most care at a clinic or emergency facility was not longer than here, the quality of most care met or exceeded ours, and the populace was not taxed in excess of what they would have paid for medical coverage here. France's benefits seemed to be the most generous, providing six months PAID leave for new mothers as well as house calls.

When Moore gets back from France, he finds out that some hospitals in the US have been forcing patients who can't pay into cabs and literally dumping them on the curb in front of a homeless shelter. These patients have broken bones, wounds that haven't healed, are too disoriented to know where they are, and some are still in hospital gowns with IVs. This is not something that should happen to any human being.

But it wouldn't be a Michael Moore film without controversy. After hearing that the terrorist prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay (which is located in Cuba but is designated as American property) were receiving free health care, he decided to prove a point by loading boats with Americans who couldn't get proper care and take them there, asking that these people receive the same quality of care as the prisoners. Naturally, he was denied access.

Legally, the responsible thing to do would be to turn around and go back to Florida. But Moore instead went to Havana and asked a Cuban hospital to treat those he'd brought with him. They did so, willingly and efficiently, not something Americans have been told to expect in a poor Communist country, and the local fire department paid tribute to the 9/11 workers.

This is Michael Moore's most excellent documentary to date. Like the others, it will make you laugh and cry, and if you have any intelligence at all, it will make you think. But unlike the quandry of some of his other subjects, Moore has a very clear answer to "Sicko"'s dilemma: we need some form of universal health coverage, and we need it now.

I can't agree more. My mother's cancer went undiagnosed for two years while she was blown off by the puppets controlled by her HMO, and by the time someone did the proper scans, she was too far gone to be helped, and she died four months later. And on a much more mundane level, it is absolutely ridiculous that someone on disability like me should have to spend a third of my family income on medical expenses, even though I have insurance on par with Medicare.

If "Sicko" is being shown in your local theatre, go see it. Now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Unexpected tests.... 

Last week, I had my mammies grammed. Yesterday, I got a call from the doctor's office. Apparently, there was something on the scan of the left breast that they didn't like the look of, something that wasn't there last on last year's mammogram.

So I had to schedule more tests. They are gonna do another scan using different angles this time. If that proves inconclusive, they'll do an ultrasound the same day.

This will happen a week from Friday. If they end up doing an ultrasound and find anything suspicious, they'll let me know right away and will probably schedule for whatever's next. I expect that would be a biopsy.

I'm pretty sure it will end up being nothing. I have a chronic problem with benign cysts, so I've gone through the re-scan and ultrasound procedures before. And if there is something that needs a biopsy, I imagine it would be very small as I never found any lumps on my own.

But I suppose it's a good thing to be cautious. After all, a cousin of mine developed breast cancer at my age (43). She beat it sucessfully.

I will post here once there's any more news on the subject.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Expecto Patronum! 

Got to go to the theatre yesterday to see "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Warning! This entry will contain SPOILERS!

This movie is based on the book of the same name, the fifth in the seven book series. It picks up about a month after Harry's encounter with Voldemort in the graveyard. Harry's enduring a sweltering summer with his aunt, uncle and rotten cousin.

As the paperback version of the book is 870 pages long, the story had to be condensed considerably, several characters were left out, and some sequences in the movie differed from the book in the interest of keeping things simpler (some things still don't translate easily from print to a complicated CG effect). But the major plot elements remain the same, one of the most important ones occurring almost immediately in the film when Harry and Dudley are attacked by dementors despite the Dursley's Muggle (non-magical) neighborhood being supposedly a safe haven. Harry manages to fight them off successfully and saves his cousin from a certain death, only to be berated by his aunt and uncle and expelled from Hogwart's by the Ministry of Magic for violating the prohibition of underage magic away from school grounds.

Harry must attend a hearing to plead his case, and he discovers to his shock that that Ministry is in a state of paranoid denial about the return of Voldemort and will go to almost any length to discredit anyone who knows the truth. Dumbledore comes to Harry's aid but only barely manages to convince the Ministry to drop their ludicrous charges. Harry wants to confide in the headmaster, find out what it is that everyone's not telling him, but even Dumbledore is avoiding him.

Harry takes up residence at the home of his godfather, Sirius Black, which is now the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, a contingent of wizards who have banded together to fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters. But because the Ministry of Magic refuses to acknowledge the existence of Voldemort, the Order must remain underground. And because Harry is just 15, he is deemed too young to join or even get full disclosure on the peril he is in, which frustrates him to no end.

As in all the previous stories, Hermione and Ron stand by Harry, but it is particularly challenging this time because Harry has outbursts of anger so intense that even he is baffled by it. Neville is also back, about a foot taller it seems, which makes his bumbling lack of confidence sort of sad. Harry's crush from last year, Cho Chang, is prettier than ever, but the movie pretty much glosses over their awkward romance except for one scene.

There is a student we haven't met before: Luna Lovegood, who fully lives up to her name. Her father writes the wizarding equivalent of The National Enquirer, and she believes in all sorts of creatures that don't exist, which makes her seem crazy at first glance. But to her credit, she also has absolute faith in Harry Potter and is completely unfazed by things that would terrify most people.

As with every Harry Potter story, there is a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, but she comes from someplace no one would ever expect: the Ministry of Magic. Dolores Umbridge, a deceptively sweet-looking woman clad head to toe in pink deftly portrayed by Imelda Staunton, begins the campaign to reform Hogwarts by forbidding the students to perform any defensive spells and forcing them to read remedial useless texts. Turns out she's only getting started.

While Professor Umbridge looks harmless enough, she soon is revealed to be a pink Nazi, making speeches about order and conformity, assuming more and more power awarded to her by the Ministry, and issuing numerous restrictive decrees. Soon, she is firing professors, taking over as headmaster, and essentially holding the students hostage. She give Harry detention, forcing him to write "I must not tell lies" in his own blood.

With the students no longer allowed to learn how to defend themselves from evil, they end up turning to Harry, who is the only one who has had to use adult-level spells in real-life situations. He very reluctantly agrees to teach them what he knows. But how to do this without alerting Umbridge?

In a departure from the book, Neville stumbles upon the Room of Requirement (in the book Dobby the house elf told Harry about it), a hidden area of the castle that transforms into whatever the user needs. And so the lessons begin, with clumsy Neville making the most progress and gaining some very heartening confidence. They name themselves Dumbledore's Army because that's precisely the Ministry's biggest fear.

It is in the Room of Requirement that Harry and Cho share a kiss under the mistletoe. It is bittersweet because Cho is mourning the death of her boyfriend, Cedric, who was killed by Voldemort. Poor Harry is clueless when it comes to how girls view romance; Hermione tries her best to explain, but you can tell Harry doesn't quite get it.

As if detention and secret meetings and awkward romance weren't enough, Harry is haunted by very strong visions of shiny black hallways in the Ministry of Magic, of Voldemort, of locked doors. What's worse, he can tell what Voldemort is feeling, and in one vision, Harry becomes a snake that attacks Ron's father. He his horrified to find out that this really happened, and he fears that he is actually becoming Voldemort.

After the attack on Mr. Weasley, Dumbledore realizes how much access Voldemort has to Harry's mind, so he has the vile Professor Snape give Harry occlumency lessons so that Harry can block these attempts. Snape, portrayed by the always excellent Alan Rickman, tries to bully Harry into locking his mind, but he still can see even the most private memories Harry possesses, like watching snippets of a forbidden film. In the book, Harry gets revenge by peeking into Snape's pensieve, but here, he simply reverses the spell and witnesses a scene from Snape's childhood that reveals how cruelly he was treated by Harry's father.

When Harry has a vision of Sirius being threatened by Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic, he desperately thinks of a way to rescue his godfather. He tries to warn Sirius, which is prohibited under the new school rules, and is caught by none other than Umbridge. But Hermione saves the day by leading Umbridge into a trap in the Forbidden Forest involving a giant and several centaurs.

Harry is determined to go to the Ministry alone, but Hermione, Ron, Neville, Ginny (Ron's sister) and Luna insist on accompanying him. Luna suggests they use thestrals, an unearthly combination of horse and winged reptile that can only be seen by those who have witnessed a death (both she and Harry have), for transportation. The movie glosses over how they got the rest of the kids to ride invisible creatures, but they are soon at the Ministry looking for Sirius.

Problem is, Sirius isn't there after all. But while looking, they come across hundreds of orbs containing prophecies, one labeled with Harry Potter's name. While Harry examines this curious object, who should appear but Death Eaters, one of whom is Bellatrix Lastrange, the woman who tortured Neville's parents into madness.

Lucius Malfoy, one of the Death Eaters, informs Harry that the prophecy is what Voldemort wants. But Harry wisely refuses to give it up. A massive battle ensues, the kids bravely put their recent training to the ultimate test, and the prophecy is shattered (Lucius drops it in the movie, but in the book, the culprit is Neville).

Luckily, reinforcements arrive in the form of the Order of the Phoenix, including Sirius. But Bellatrix gets the upper hand (wand?) on Sirius, and he vanishes as though he were a wisp of smoke. Harry can do nothing as his godfather is gone for good.

The biggest battle, though, is yet to come. Voldemort, discovering that the prophecy has been destroyed, appears in the Ministry of Magic to dispatch Harry, and Dumbledore himself takes on the Dark Lord. Their fight is dazzlingly brilliant.

With a running time of two hours, fifteen minutes, I felt there was room for a bit more material in the way of explanation, that there are a few segments that may be difficult for someone to comprehend who hasn't read the books. But the film was otherwise excellent, with fine performances as usual by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. I already want to see it again.

And I still want my own pensieve.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rave of the the Day for July 11, 2007: 

Popping in with a quick funny courtesy of Pete....

A woman was testing the children in her Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven.

She asked them, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?"

"NO!" the children answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?"

Again, the answer was, "NO!"

By now she was starting to smile. Hey, this was fun!

"Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?" she asked them.

Again, they all answered, "NO!"

She was just bursting with pride for them.

"Well", she continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?"

A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Where did I go? 

From the looks of this blog, it would appear I had vanished into thin air. Not quite. I just didn't use the computer for several days.

I decided I should take advantage of the holiday week since I didn't have aquacise class on Wednesday or much else going on and start CLEANING! It was a much more formidable task than I had expected, but then, it usually is. I started with the living room since it is most visible to visitors.

Found out real quick that there were areas that had NOT been cleaned by the previous owners prior to us moving in, like vents and the top of the blinds. Icky poo yuck! Kept getting dust in my eyes.

Unfortunately, in six days, I've only managed to finish the living room, the dining area and the kitchen. And this is with Dan doing most of the floors and scrubbing the microwave and Chip's kennel. I generally have to rest for about an hour for every 15 minutes of cleaning, which doesn't make me terribly productive.

And I cannot even begin to describe how much pain I've been in! Pretty much evey muscle and/or joint I possess has been in some degree of agony on a daily basis, even on the days I'm not cleaning. I was getting spasms in my back, hands, and shoulders just while stretching in aquacise class today.

So I've consumed more Baclofen and meds with muscle relaxing properties and have donned several Icy Hot patches and have tried my best to carry on without total collapse. Unfortunately, the worse the pain gets, the worse the cognitive dysfunction and incoordination get, so I end up doing things like getting a sudden attack of vertigo while scrubbing the inside of the fridge and falling forward so hard that I actually scoot the entire fridge backward! And in order to further undo all my effort cleaning my kitchen, tonight within fifteen minutes I managed the following: knocked over Dan's half-finished glass of Coke in the fridge, forgot to turn on the stove burner to cook my eggs, missed the skillet when flipping the eggs and spilled them onto the stove, and I dropped the spatula which then caught and tipped a spoon full of cream of rice onto the floor.

Naturally, since I must rest frequently during any cleaning "frenzy", I end up gazing or at least half paying attention to the boob tube in a vain attempt to relax on the couch. Fortunately, there was both a Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family and the Live Earth broadcast on Bravo to keep me entertained. And Dan borrowed some DVDs from our friends, AND there was a Netflix movie in there somewhere.

On Wednesday, Dan and I watched "The 40 Year Old Virgin", which was crude but hilarious. Steve Carrell does geek a lot better than I expected. The bonus material was awesome with tons of ad-libbed footage, some that was even funnier than the movie.

As far as July 4th festivities went, Dan and I did go over to his parents' house for burgers (obviously I just had a patty on a plate) and went through some photo albums I'd brought, but I was too wiped out from cleaning to stay long or go anywhere else. After we got home, I watched some of the "Twilight Zone" marathon on the Sci-Fi channel until it got dark and then took a chair out onto the front porch to watch lightning bugs (a novelty to me as there aren't any in Colorado and I had not seen any since I was a child visiting Little Rock) and to find out if my neighbors did any fireworks. I was not disappointed; even though fireworks are illegal in Sioux Falls, there were plenty of elaborate impromptu displays going on in the park across the street, so many in fact that the ground was rumbling with the noise and Chip was totally freaked out.

On Saturday, I switched on the Live Earth concert coverage at 10am and left it on nearly the entire day until its conclusion. Highlights: Keith Urban and Alicia Keys doing a duet of "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones; Alicia Keys solo doing songs by Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye plus two of her own; AFI doing "Ziggy Stardust" plus their own stuff; Shakira doing her thang in Hamburg; Melissa Etheridge's scathing tirade against Dubya; the opening number in Johannesburg; Duran Duran at Wembley;
Linkin Park in Tokyo; Lenny Kravitz in Rio De Janeiro. The big finale was the Police re-union, which was admittedly good, but what I liked even better was Roger Waters doing half of "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Another Brick in the Wall".

Yesterday, Dan and I watched "The Village". Weird that it was marketed as a horror movie when it was more like a Hitchcock suspense type film. I figured out that they were actually in modern day long before it was officially revealed, but I did enjoy the story nevertheless.

I had ABC Family's Harry Potter marathon on while cleaning. There were bits and pieces during the breaks discussing "Order of the Phoenix", which was cool because I don't mind spoilers for a movie when I already know the plot. What was even better, though, was an hour-long special on A&E last night where they summed up the story via film so far, speculated as to what will become of Harry and actually showed scenes from Part 5.

Ack. There was more I wanted to say, but my brain is a foggy wasteland at the moment, and I'm a hair's breadth from dozing off. Um, I'm too tired to know if that last bit even made sense.

At least I have scrubbing the toilet to look forward to tomorrow. Woo hoo.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


At last! After six and a half months, I have FINALLY unpacked every room in the house! The only U-Haul boxes remaining have unfinished projects in them, and those boxes are neatly tucked away in a cabinet awaiting my return to scrapbooking, which I hope will happen very soon.

Of course, the big push to finish up did not come without sacrifices. I got so excited yesterday that I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel that I did way too much, and of course, several hours later when I was trying to relax, my back started spasming and screaming, soon to be followed by pretty much every muscle and joint in my body, because that's the beauty of fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. It was so bad that I was on the verge of tears and had to resort to Baclofen, which I hate because, while it did cut my pain level about in half by getting rid of the spasms, it also made me incoherently dopey and gave me a hangover today.

I was hoping to use one of the old bookcases in the garage as a storage unit for Dan's uncle's boxes of slides, but Dan didn't want to bring it inside, so I've just made enormous piles of slides in and on plastic containers that were already full. At least the boxes aren't directly on the floor. I managed to tuck away all my scrapbook stuff in the built-in cabinets and file in plastic drawers the hundred of negatives and old prints awaiting placement in scenery-based photo albums.

To celebrate this truly momentous occasion, I talked Dan into taking me to dinner at the local Indian restaurant. I love that place because nearly everything on the menu is gluten fee except for of course the wheat-based bread. I had the chick pea bread with various chutneys for an appetizer, shrimp patia (a sweet and sour sauce made from mangoes) and basmati rice for the main course, mango lassi (yogurt and mango juice) to drink, and I stole a few bites of Dan's lamb vindaloo (spicy curry sauce).

I'm so proud of myself for getting the unpacking done! I'd do the happy dance if I could even move without wincing. My brain is dancing a jig though.

What's next? Unfortunately, since I devoted so much energy to unpacking, nothing except the kitchen and upstairs bathroom have been cleaned on a regular basis. I will have to proceed with caution, though, as even the smallest amount of scrubbing can bring on a flare, so I will have to see if I can get Dan to do the heavy duty stuff without me nagging him.

If I can manage to get the house presentably clean, I'd like to have a party. Ok, maybe party is too ambitious since I don't have the energy to entertain scads of people and I'm still not well enough to do a great deal of cooking. Maybe just have someone over to play board games?

I am looking forward to getting back to more reading, more blogging/website/computer stuff, more photo/scrabook projects, book reviews/articles for But You Don't Look Sick. And I really ought to stop eating so many frozen dinners and actually use my wok and/or my rotisserie. And maybe now I can find some enegry to join a church?

But for the moment, I need to let the muscle relaxant kick in so I can stop hurting enough to get some sleep.

I rock.

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