Saturday, October 31, 2009

Missing Chip D. Dog.... 

Chip died one year ago today. He was a bold, creative, funny, soft, silly, huggable, weird, stubborn, adorable, fascinating, loyal, intense and empathetic dog. It sucks coming home from water therapy and not having a pup waiting for me, happy to see me, asking to be petted.

Some of the things that Chip used to do to annoy me I wish I could experience again, like when I'd be on the floor doing stretches and he'd come up and lick my face. Or when he'd "yell" at me for talking to someone other than him. Or when he'd sigh realllllly loudly because he was ready to start his day and I hadn't gotten out of bed yet.

And I especially miss some of the priceless things he did, like trying to eat all the snow in the back yard after a storm. Or bowing to and playing games with his food. Or putting his chin on my knee and giving me his best "I'm sorry" face when I cried.

He was the best.

Happy Halloween! 


Friday, October 30, 2009

What do you miss most about life on the "outside"? 

Got this off of Ricky Buchanan's "Four Walls, No Limits". Natalie, the guest author, shares her experience of actually leaving the house after being bed bound....

Recovery: Breaking Out of the Four Walls

Natalie found her venture both intimidating and exhilarating, but mostly exhilarating. It is an important reminder who those who are able to travel about without restriction to not take that for granted.

How do you exercise without bringing on a flare? 

Got this from the National Fibromyalgia Association. It addresses the issue of daily exercise, a sore subject for fibromyalgia patients if there ever was one, heh heh....

Real Exercise Strategies That Work Like Magic

Now, keep in mind, just because the women in the article are able to go on long walks or go to Curves or whatever doesn't mean that everyone with fibromyalgia can exercise at this level. Both would be wayyyy too much for me. But I have managed to develop a routine of three days per week of arthritis-friendly water therapy plus three other days a week on a non-impact glider machine.

The hardest part is being patient. It took me a year and a half to go from five minutes to 25 minutes on the Gazelle machine, and then a back injury this summer kept me off the machine for five weeks, and the fibromyalgia would not let me pick up where I left off. I had to start all over again at five minutes, and it has taken me almost two months to work my way back up to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rave of the Day for October 28, 2009: 

Time for some more funny. This is courtesy of Dr. Karen....

Daddy, how was I born?

A little boy goes to his father and asks, "Daddy, how was I born?"

The father answers, "Well, son, I guess one day you will need to find out anyway!

Your mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo.

Then I set up a date via e-mail with your mom and we met at a cyber-cafe. We sneaked into a secluded room, and Googled each other.

There your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive.

As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later a little Pop-Up appeared that said:

'You've got male!'"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Everything you wanted to know about fibromyalgia and more.... 

Got this link from a Facebook friend. It's lengthy, over an hour, but it describes the latest knowledge about fibromyalgia (particularly that it is now considered a disorder of the central nervous system) in language that those of us without medical degrees can understand.....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rave of the Day for October 24, 2009: 

I think I'm overdue for posting some funny stuff. Joke courtesy of Pete....

A woman's husband comes into their cottage after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. The wife thinks, "Boy, fishing must be really relaxing."

Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.

She motors out a short distance, anchors, puts her feet up, and begins to read her book.

The peace and solitude are magnificent.

Along comes a Fish and Game Warden in his boat.

He pulls up alongside the woman and says, 'Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?' 

'Reading a book,' she replies, (thinking, 'Isn't that obvious?').

'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her.

'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.'

'Yes, but I see you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.'

'If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,' says the woman.

'But I haven't even touched you,' says the Game Warden.

'That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.'

'Have a nice day ma'am,' and he left.

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

As if getting raped isn't bad enough.... 

Dr. Karen sent me this link. Apparently, women who have been sexually assaulted are being denied medical coverage because the companies are defining it as a pre-existing condition.....

Rape Victim's Choice: Risk AIDS or Health Insurance?

These are not isolated incidents. I have also been reading that victims of domestic abuse are being denied insurance for the same reason.

If this isn't an argument for universal health care, I don't know what is. Denying mental and physical health treatment for victims of violence doesn't save anyone money in the long term. Morning-after pills, HIV prevention meds, and prompt counseling are much more effective than making a woman wait to see if she becomes pregnant, gets an STD and/or severe emotional trauma requiring institutionalization.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This should be unbelievable, but it's not.... 

Got this link from a Facebook friend. If you think medical powers of attorney are sufficient to grant hospital visitation rights for gay partners, think again....

Hospital Forces Lesbian to Die Alone: Judge Gives Stamp of Approval

This is so incredibly sad. And it points to the problems inherent in granting gay marriage and other legal rights in some states but not others. The poor woman had no idea she was gonna have an aneurysm and end up in Miami, and she and her partner had done all they things they were supposed to do to avoid this sort of situation.

Let's take the sexual orientation part out of the equation for a moment. Would you want to be barred from visiting the person you love in the hospital, knowing they need you, knowing they are dying? The compassionate answer would be no.

Monday, October 19, 2009

C'mon, sing along! Or at least whistle.... 

If you missed Monty Python on Jimmy Fallon last week, it was AWESOME as the whole show was dedicated to them. Here's Eric Idle with The Roots singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from "Life of Brian". The interview portions are also available on Hulu....

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I am not compensated in any way for my articles/reviews on Facebook, this blog, my personal websites or any site which posts my articles/reviews. No cash, no advance copies/screenings, no freebies. Are you happy now, FTC?

In case you missed it, the Federal Trade Commission has decided that bloggers must state whether they are being paid for their articles mentioning specific products. Here's a link:

FTC - Bloggers Must Disclose Payments for Reviews

This is asinine, if only because journalists in newspapers can review to their heart's content without revealing whether they receive anything for endorsing a product. Do you think a literary critic actually peruses the bookstore and pays cash for the latest potential bestseller? No, the publisher sends them an advance copy.

Secondly, how on earth is the FTC gonna enforce this? Hire thousands of staff to patrol Facebook to see if anyone was paid to say what is on their personal profile page? Put bloggers in jail? Puh-lease!

The ruling takes effect December 1st, but why avoid the rush? Bloggers, start your disclaimers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The perfect husband? 

One of my Facebook friends posted this. Tooooo funny!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Response to Dave Ryan.... 

My Facebook friend posted a video reply to the comment on Twitter that people with fibromyalgia should be shot. Good job, Jen!

Apparently, fibromyalgia is a pain to a man who doesn't even have it.... 

One of my Facebook friends posted this. The dude was probably joking, but not everyone found his tweet funny....

Dave Ryan from 101.3 KDWB Twitters People with fibromyalgia should be shot

I just hope this guy remembers his words when he's elderly and arthritic and can barely get from point A to point B. I used to be impatient with slow people too, and now of course I know how insensitive I was.

Another example of the new working poor.... 

Got this from Michael Moore's blog. In case you haven't seen "Capitalism: A Love Story" yet (it's not playing in Sioux Falls at this time), this should be a real eye opnener.....

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Pilots on Food Stamps
By Michael Moore

We're on the descent from 20,000 feet in the air when the flight attendant leans over the elderly woman next to me and taps me on the shoulder.

"I'm listening to Lady Gaga," I say as I remove just one of the ear buds. I know not this Lady Gaga, but her performance last week on SNL was fascinating.

"The pilots would like to see you in the cockpit when we land," she says with a southern drawl.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No. They have something to show you." (The last time an employee of an airline wanted to show me something it was her written reprimand for eating an in-flight meal without paying for it. "Yes," she said, "we have to pay for our own meals on board now.")

The plane landed and I stepped into the cockpit. "Read this," the first officer said. He handed me a letter from the airline to him. It was headlined "LETTER OF CONCERN." It seems this poor fellow had taken three sick days in the past year. The letter was a warning not to take another one -- or else.

"Great," I said. "Just what I want -- you coming to work sick, flying me up in the air and asking to borrow the barf bag from my seatback pocket."

He then showed me his pay stub. He took home $405 this week. My life was completely and totally in his hands for the past hour and he's paid less than the kid who delivers my pizza.

I told the guys that I have a whole section in my new movie about how pilots are treated (using pilots as only one example of how people's wages have been slashed and the middle class decimated). In the movie I interview a pilot for a major airline who made $17,000 last year. For four months he was eligible -- and received -- food stamps. Another pilot in the film has a second job as a dog walker.

"I have a second job!," the two pilots said in unison. One is a substitute teacher. The other works in a coffee shop. You know, maybe it's just me, but the two occupations whose workers shouldn't be humpin' a second job are brain surgeons and airline pilots. Call me crazy.

I told them about how Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger (the pilot who safely landed the jet in the Hudson River) had testified in Congress that no pilot he knows wants any of their children to become a pilot. Pilots, he said, are completely demoralized. He spoke of how his pay has been cut 40% and his own pension eliminated. Most of the TV news didn't cover his remarks and the congressmen quickly forgot them. They just wanted him to play the role of "HERO," but he was on a more important mission. He's in my movie.

"I hadn't heard anywhere that this stuff about the airlines is in this new movie," the pilot said.

"No, you wouldn't," I replied. "The press likes to talk about me, not the movie."

And it's true. I've been surprised (and slightly annoyed) that, with all that's been written and talked about "Capitalism: A Love Story," very little attention has been paid the mind-blowing stuff in the film: pilots on food stamps, companies secretly taking out life insurance policies on employees and hoping they die young so the company can collect, judges getting kickbacks from the private prison industry for sending innocent people (kids) to be locked up. The profit motive -- it's a killer.

Especially when your pilot started his day at 6am working at the local Starbucks.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

What cognitive dysfunction feels like.... 

The latest from the CFIDS newsletter. A woman describes how cognitive problems have affected her life...

Latest stats of public view of reform.... 

Got this link from a Facebook friend. Here's where the American public stands right now regarding health care reform....

AP Poll: Health care overhaul hanging in there

I continue to have high hopes for reform overhaul but fear the public option is DOA. I am curious if they end up limiting deductibles what those amounts will be, and what the income range will be for those eligible for Medicaid, because the status quo is keeping a lot of people from being able to get insurance.

More pup vs. mirror.... 

From the same website, here's a video of a puppy who sees his reflection for the first time. At least he appears to like himself, heh heh....

Evil twin? 

A pup keeps trying to fake out his reflection in the mirror. Hilarious video courtesy of the Life with Dogs Facebook page....

Monday, October 05, 2009

What would Jesus think of capitalism? 

This posted to my in-box this morning. Of course, I don't usually switch on the computer until late at night, but I thought it was still worth sharing....

For Those of You on Your Way to Church This Morning ...a note from Michael Moore

Sunday, October 4th, 2009


I'd like to have a word with those of you who call yourselves Christians (Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Bill Maherists, etc. can read along, too, as much of what I have to say, I'm sure, can be applied to your own spiritual/ethical values).

In my new film I speak for the first time in one of my movies about my own spiritual beliefs. I have always believed that one's religious leanings are deeply personal and should be kept private. After all, we've heard enough yammerin' in the past three decades about how one should "behave," and I have to say I'm pretty burned out on pieties and platitudes considering we are a violent nation who invades other countries and punishes our own for having the audacity to fall on hard times.

I'm also against any proselytizing; I certainly don't want you to join anything I belong to. Also, as a Catholic, I have much to say about the Church as an institution, but I'll leave that for another day (or movie).

Amidst all the Wall Street bad guys and corrupt members of Congress exposed in "Capitalism: A Love Story," I pose a simple question in the movie: "Is capitalism a sin?" I go on to ask, "Would Jesus be a capitalist?" Would he belong to a hedge fund? Would he sell short? Would he approve of a system that has allowed the richest 1% to have more financial wealth than the 95% under them combined?

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught. All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what's left for everyone to fight over. Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother's and sister's keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly. He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you'd have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

I guess that's bad news for us Americans. Here's how we define "Blessed Are the Poor": We now have the highest unemployment rate since 1983. There's a foreclosure filing once every 7.5 seconds. 14,000 people every day lose their health insurance.

At the same time, Wall Street bankers ("Blessed Are the Wealthy"?) are amassing more and more loot -- and they do their best to pay little or no income tax (last year Goldman Sachs' tax rate was a mere 1%!). Would Jesus approve of this? If not, why do we let such an evil system continue? It doesn't seem you can call yourself a Capitalist AND a Christian -- because you cannot love your money AND love your neighbor when you are denying your neighbor the ability to see a doctor just so you can have a better bottom line. That's called "immoral" -- and you are committing a sin when you benefit at the expense of others.

When you are in church this morning, please think about this. I am asking you to allow your "better angels" to come forward. And if you are among the millions of Americans who are struggling to make it from week to week, please know that I promise to do what I can to stop this evil -- and I hope you'll join me in not giving up until everyone has a seat at the table.

Thanks for listening. I'm off to Mass in a few hours. I'll be sure to ask the priest if he thinks J.C. deals in derivatives or credit default swaps. I mean, after all, he must've been good at math. How else did he divide up two loaves of bread and five pieces of fish equally amongst 5,000 people? Either he was the first socialist or his disciples were really bad at packing lunch. Or both.

Michael Moore

Friday, October 02, 2009

My latest article, in a new location.... 

My friend, Ricky Buchanan, was kind enough to post on her site "Four Walls, No Limits" an article I wrote. It's about developing a sense of purpose when you are no longer able to work outside the home....

The "Usefulness" Factor

My most current project is editing pix from this year and making prints of them so I can clear them off my digital camera to make room for the probably hundreds of photos I'll be taking on my cruise. I have plenty of ideas for other articles, but I'm not sure if I'll get to them before my vacation. Kind of ironic that here I am without a paying job, yet I have to limit my computer time due to illness anyway, so I don't get to spend much more time on here than someone who works full time.

Getting ever closer to unraveling the autoimmune mystery.... 

One more from the Celiac.com newsletter. This is a bit technical but fascinating in its implications....

Mystery Molecule Identified: Key Role in Celiac Disease, Other Autoimmune Disorders

It would be truly awesome if they could someday prevent or treat not just one, but multiple autoimmune diseases simultaneously. Perhaps then we could not just address them symptomatically, but systemically wipe them out altogether.

Another outrageous insurance company story..... 

This story came to my attention via the Celiac.com newsletter. The new health care plan should eliminate this kind of scam forever....

Celiac Disease "Pre-Existing", Firm Cancels Health Insurance for Girl, 17

What burns me up, besides the obvious fact that there should be no pre-existing condition exclusions, is the implication that the parents were knowingly defrauding the insurance company PRIOR to the diagnosis. The parents couldn't possibly have known their daughter had celiac disease if she was not being seen by a gastroenterologist at the time they applied for the policy. If the insurance company were not challenged on their denial, that would open the gateway to denying coverage to ANYONE who ever had a stomach-ache and was later diagnosed as celiac.

Probably the only reason I still am allowed to have private health insurance is that I get it through my husband's employer and he has never had a lapse in coverage. But I am eligible for Medicare Part B if I am dropped by my current plan, which makes me far more fortunate than most. If the pre-existing coverage exclusions are not eliminated, people like the girl in the article may have to go the rest of their lives without proper health care.

Just in case you thought celiac disease was no big deal.... 

This comes via the Celiac.com newsletter. Apparently, even minor gluten sensitivity is enough to cause permanent harm....

Gluten Sensitivity, Celiac Disease Carry Higher Mortality Risk

Even though the study cited was flawed, the results are eye-opening enough that more research ought to be done. Some of my docs thought I was crazy for voluntarily going gluten free even though I was sero-negative, but I say better safe than sorry.

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