Monday, September 24, 2012

Do not robo-call! 

Despite being on Do Not Call lists, I keep getting robo-calls from the Romney campaign every few days begging for my money, like he needs it. This is because my husband and I are registered but unaffiliated voters, and they are hoping to coax us off the fence. The call I got on September 14 was the most offensive: it mentioned the deaths in Libya and accused Obama of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. At the end of the call, it said to press 9 to "unsubscribe", which is weird since I never subscribed to anything. And a few days ago, I started getting calls from the local politicians as well. I consider all the calls to be harassment.

I went on Facebook and complained about this, and my friend Valerie found this article for me:

Complaints about automated calls up sharply

....and that led to me digging around a bit and visiting the Federal Trade Commission site, where I found this article:


The infuriating fact is that political calls are perfectly legal. Right now, it's the national Romney campaign doing most of them, but I've gotten ones I'm pretty sure were sponsored by a PAC and/or affiliated campaigns. Every time an abortion issue goes on the ballot, I get a ton of calls about that too. Interestingly, the Democrats haven't been pestering me. The last call I got from the Obama camp was a week before the 2008 election. 

I also dislike all the charity calls, which are perfectly legal too. How do I know it's not a scam? Besides, if I had the extra cash to donate to a campaign or charity, I'd call THEM. I guess my best option is to stop answering the phone and let it go to voice mail. But then I'd have to start remembering to check my voice mail.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Confirmation of exercise intolerance for people with fibromyalgia.... 

Came across this on the new fibromyalgia disability Facebook page. The results are no surprise:

Neuromuscular fatigue and exercise capacity in fibromyalgia syndrome.

I noticed the study was quite small, only 22 participants total. I hope this leads to larger studies in the future, although I suspect it might be difficult to recruit people with fibromyalgia to purposefully make themselves sicker. I once did a functional capacity exam, not voluntarily (it was the only my long-term disability insurance company would approve benefits), and even though I could not complete it, the repercussions went on for many weeks.

This falls under the category of "NOW what?" 

Was on Dr. Oz's site because the show is planning another segment on fibromyalgia, and I ran across this article. Not exactly good news for us on gluten-free diets:

Breaking News: FDA Confirms Concerning Arsenic Levels in Rice

Between the celiac disease and the gastroparesis, I end up eating some form of brown rice pretty much daily. But I did notice that the article states that fruits and veggies contain even more arsenic than rice, so does that negate their other health benefits? During the past couple of years, I have tried to add more whole grains to my diet such as millet, chia, teff, amaranth and quinoa, but these can be difficult to digest, so I've had to keep the portions pretty small, and they aren't going to completely replace the brown rice I eat. It seems these days just about every food poses some type of health risk, so I guess we weigh the pros and cons and eat the best balance we can.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Filing for disability? Consider this.... 

Am on a new disability Facebook page, mostly to offer advice. Have found some useful articles there such as this one, which is on a great website:

Social Security Disability: Eight Reasons You May Be Denied Benefits

Have once again gotten my browser all clogged up with articles I've been meaning to post, so I'd better start tidying things up. Finally did get all my vacation photos edited as well as the ones I took of my nephew's birthday. Have also been busy reading a friend's book, typing up a master list of the household DVD collection (it has gotten so large I no longer remember what I do and do not have), and doing yet another round of physical therapy and acupuncture.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Just diagnosed? Start here.... 

Found this on yet another fibromyalgia Facebook page. It's an easy to understand series of links to definitions of terms commonly used in discussions of fibromyalgia:

Fibromyalgia Glossary

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 12 years ago, there wasn't a ton of reliable information online yet. Basically, my rheumatologist told me what I had (the Sjogren's diagnosis wouldn't happen for another three years), gave me a little pamphlet from the Arthritis Foundation, and sent me home. The pamphlet rather trivialized the disorder and gave me the impression that I would be dealing with a mere inconvenience, not a life-changing illness. I started acquiring books about fibromyalgia that explained the full range of effects, and just as important, treatment beyond anti-depressants. Then in 2002, I got a computer at home and was able to become of member of Fibrohugs. Getting to converse online with others with fibromyalgia was at least as helpful as the books. And now we have Facebook, and I belong to FIVE support groups.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Now we're cookin'! 

Another goody from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. Some of these look like they might be tasty:

Hundreds of Gluten-free Recipes Using Coconut!

In other news, I went to the annual peace concert this afternoon at my sister church. Have a bunch of peace-related quotes to share if/when I get organized. Still editing vacation photos a bit at a time. Suppose I should finish them up before I go on my next photo expedition, a tour of the Sculpture Walk, a collection of 50 sculptures in downtown Sioux Falls, in two weeks.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Four more years? 

Got this in an e-mail from Michael Moore today. Even after being buoyed by Obama's speech last night, I've gotta agree with Moore:

"President Romney" – How to Prevent Those Two Words From Ever Being Spoken ...a letter from Michael Moore 

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 


In two months we Americans will go to the polls once again to decide who the president will be for the next four years. We will not be allowed to vote on those who wield the true power in this country. On November 6th we will not vote for the chairman of ExxonMobil or JPMorgan Chase or Citibank or the Premier of China. That day will come, but not this year. 

Now, I know there are a goodly number of you out there who believe there's not a snowball's chance in Kenya that Barack Obama will not be re-elected to the White House. And why would you believe otherwise? After the incredible Democratic convention this week, with the best rock-em-sock-em speeches I've heard from a Democrat's mouth since … since, I don't know when. You can't help but not have a contact high after this past week if you are of the sort who believes in economic justice, peace, and a five-dollar latte. Right now, with the buzz on, you are sitting there thinking that your fellow Americans will turn out in massive numbers, either because they want to continue the Obama era or because they're scared shitless of the barbarians at the gate – or both. You're convinced that the Republicans have blown it with all their talk of the lady parts they want to control even though we now know that they have no idea where those parts are, what they are, or how they work. 

Yes, it certainly looks like the voters will reject this obscenely wealthy man called Romney — Romney of Michigan/Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Utah/Zurich/Grand Cayman — this man who will not explain exactly how all his wealth was obtained, where he keeps it, or how much taxes he pays on it. He wants to turn the clock back to the '50s – the 1850s – and he refuses to offer any specific plan about what he'll do about anything. He wants to run the country like a corporation but he can't even control one 82-year-old actor on his own convention stage, a Hollywood legend who, in the matter of ten and a half minutes went from Good (walking onto the stage) to Bad (talking to a chair) and then to Ugly (the chair started … swearing?). It was better than the best cat-flushing-the-toilet video on YouTube and it was a gift to all of us who know that Romney is doomed come November. 

Or is he?

Last week, I said on the HuffPost Live webcast that we had all better start practicing how to say "President Romney" because, living in Michigan, I can tell you that there's trouble here on the two peninsulas and it's not just because Romney is a native son or that we like to watch kids from Cranbrook chase down gay kids and chop their hair off. One recent poll here showed Romney leading Obama by four points! How can that be? Didn't Obama save Detroit?

No, he didn't. He saved General Motors and Chrysler. "Detroit" (and Flint and Pontiac and Saginaw) are not defined by the global corporations who suck our towns dry and then split town to make more money elsewhere (except, of course, they continued to design and built crap cars, so eventually they didn't make the money at all). These cities in Michigan are about the people who live here, and in the process of "saving Detroit," Mr. Obama had to fire thousands of these people, and reduce the benefits and pensions of those who were left. There's a lot of pissed off people in Michigan (and Wisconsin and Ohio), people who weren't saved even though the corporation was. I'm just stating a fact, and those of you who don't live here should know this. 

The other problem facing us this election (spoiler alert – angry white guys may want to stop reading right now) … is race. We all fear there's probably a good 40% of the country who simply do not want a black man in the Oval Office. In fact, in 2008, Obama lost the white vote. He lost every white age group except young people (18-29). And yet he still won by 10 million votes! The optimistic secret the Obama people know is that only about 70% of the voters in November will be white. So if he can win just 35-40% of them, and then get a massive majority of people of color, he can win re-election. There is no question in my mind that Obama is more popular than Romney and if everyone could vote from their couch like they do for American Idol, Obama would win hands down. As I have said before, we live in a liberal country. The majority of Americans (who do not call themselves "liberal") now support most of the liberal agenda – they're for gay marriage, they're pro-choice, they're anti-war, they believe there's global warming, and they hate Wall Street for what it has done to them and their neighbors. The Republicans know this: that we, the majority, will have sex when we want and with whom we want, will read and watch whatever we want when we want, will use marijuana if we want and if we don't want to then we certainly don't want our friends who do to be throw into prison. We are sick and tired of being poisoned, by chemicals or propaganda, we think the Palestinians have been given a raw deal and we want our friggin' jobs back! The Christian Right (and their Wall Street funders) know this all too well – America has turned, and there's no going back to not loving someone because of the color of their skin or expecting women to cede control of their bodies to a bunch of Neanderthals. So, what's a Rightie to do now that we've turned the joint into Sodom and G? They have to suppress the vote! They have to stop as many liberals from voting as possible. So they've passed many voter suppression laws to make it hard for the poor, the minorities, the disabled and students to vote. They honestly believe they call pull this off – and they just may. The only "positive" thing about this is that their need to have such laws in order to win the election is an admission on the part of the Republicans that they know the U.S. Is a liberal country and that the only way they can now win now is to cheat. Trust me, if they believed that America was a right-wing country they'd be passing laws making it so easy to vote you could do it in the checkout line at Walmart. 

But the voting on November 6th will not take place at Walmart or on any potato's couch. It can only happen by going to a polling place – and, not to state the obvious, the side that gets the most people physically out to the polls that day, wins. We know the Republicans are spending tens of millions of dollars to make sure this very thing happens. They have built a colossal get-out-the-vote machine for election day, and the sheer force of their tsunami of hate stands ready to overwhelm us like nothing we've ever seen before. Those of us in the Midwest got a taste of it in 2008. Traditionally Democratic states – all of which voted for Obama – saw our state legislatures and governor seats hijacked by this well-oiled machine. We didn't know what hit us, but these new Republicans wasted no time in dismantling some of the very basic thing we hold dear. Wisconsin fought back – but even that huge grassroots uprising was not enough to stop the governor bought and paid for by the Koch brothers. It was a wake up call, for sure – but have we really woken up? 

It's been a great week in Charlotte, and I'm getting ready now to watch Barack Obama give his speech. It's OK for us to take a couple days to high-five each other, but I cannot stress enough to you that unless you and I are doing something every day for the next 60 days to get people out to vote, then there is a chance we will all be saying "President Romney" come January. Don't think it can't happen. Hate, sad to say, at least in America these days, is a far greater motivator than love and feelin' groovy. 

For those of us who believe that the history of the Democrats and the Republicans is to do the bidding of the 1% (Obama's #1 private contributor in '08 were the people at Goldman Sachs), and that while the Dems are a kinder/gentler bunch, they are also just as quick to want to take us to war and sell us out to the corporate interests (and, yes, Obamacare is a $$ gift to the insurance companies; only a single-payer system will stop that), this election is a bit of a bitter pill. We were hugely disappointed when President Obama didn't charge out of the gate after his inauguration and undo the damage that had been done (as FDR did in his first hundred days) – and only when Wall Street stopped writing him the big campaign checks this past year did he get his mojo back and start fighting the fight that needs to be fought. He's a good and decent person (when he's not sending in drones to kill Pakistani civilians or prosecuting government whistleblowers), and his election four years ago was a high point of such emotional intensity I just couldn't get over how hopeful I was that this country had changed and we had found our moral footing. Reality set in a few weeks later when he put Tim Geithner and Larry Summers in charge of economic policy and then he changed his mind about closing Gitmo.


OK, so people like me, just once in our lifetime, would like to get our way all the time! Is that too much to ask? Of course, there is a different question that is in the air now — shall we give the country back to the crowd who gave the country to the 1%? I think not. So let's join in with our liberal majority and be fierce and relentless in these next two months. Let's spend this time educating people what we mean when we say things like "single-payer" and "Blackwater." Politics and the fate of the nation (and the world – sorry, world) are on the front burner and those of us who want to wrestle control of our society out of the hands of the few can take healthy advantage of these coming weeks. Don't sit it out. Don't try to convince anyone Obama has magically transformed us – just tell them four years is simply not enough time to undo all the hurt caused by biggest economic crash since the Great Depression and the biggest military blunder/lie in our history.

I'm going to go with my optimistic side here (sorry, cynics, you know I love you) and imagine a Second Term Obama (and a Democratically-controlled Congress) who will go after all the good that our people deserve and put the power of our democracy back in our hands. There's good reason why the Right is terrified of a Second Term Obama because that is exactly what they think he'll do: the real Obama will appear and take us down the road to social justice and tolerance and a leveling of the economic playing field. For once, I'd like to say I agree with the Right – and I sincerely hope their worst nightmare does come true.


Michael Moore

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Tea time! 

Found this on the same fibromyalgia Facebook page as the link in my previous post. Now I know why I like green tea so much:

Green tea extract promotes brain activity in key working memory processing area

I've been drinking green tea with ginseng and ginger in it for about a dozen years, 16oz. daily. I like it because it gives you a subtle boost with no crash after it wears off. And I'll do just about anything for a healthy energy boost, mental or otherwise.

An energy source you may not have considered.... 

Got this from (surprise) a fibromyalgia Facebook page. If you have a chronic illness that impairs your energy level, this might be something to look into:

Ubiquinol – A More Advanced Form of the Energy-Producing Nutrient CoQ-10

I used to take CoQ-10, but it took a pretty high dose to achieve results, and I had to discontinue it because of the cost. If this form is cheaper, I may give it a try. I am going to my health food store tomorrow, so I might as well see if they have it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Exchanging info after an accident? Not so fast! 

Got this in the monthly newsletter for Suze Orman's identity protection program. Apparently, it is no longer recommended to provide your address, phone number or driver's license number to the other driver after a wreck:

Accidents Happen: Take steps to protect yourself, your property and your identity

My last accident was in 2006 in Denver, where the police do not respond to accidents unless there is serious damage or injury. As both were minor (although I am STILL experiencing neck problems related to that accident), I exchanged quite a lot of information knowing it would be my word against the other driver's. I had heard of incidents in town involving intentional collisions, but honestly, I was so rattled at that moment that I wasn't even thinking of the possibility. So tonight, I did myself a favor and printed out the pdf of the auto accident checklist provided in the above link. I will keep it in the glove box so that in the (I hope unlikely) event of another wreck, I will only take the steps that are really needed.

How to keep on keepin' on.... 

 Found this on a fibromyalgia Facebook page. Worth pondering no matter what your state of health:

How to Become More Emotionally Resilient

I already use most of these in my everyday life. Most were borne of instinct and fine-tuned with years of experience. It was about 10 years ago that I figured out that I was never going to survive the remaining years of my life with multiple physical ailments unless I got a handle on not aggravating them with excessive emotional distress. This is not to say I never get overwhelmed; I think everyone does from time to time. But I usually vent in writing to sort out my feelings and purge the worst of the negative emotions, and then once that's accomplished, I decide what I'm going to DO about it. Sometimes "doing" something is not physical; it could mean coming up with an appropriate mental action or even just deciding to learn whatever lesson the stress might have taught.

The two steps I don't completely fulfill are the optimism and the exercise. Not a true optimist, I am better at hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. As for exercise, I have expanded greatly my definition of that since my tolerance for it is so limited. For me, stretching counts as exercise, as does preparing a meal, emptying the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry, walking to the mailbox and back, etc. But you get the general idea.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Emotional baggage worth unpacking.... 

Got this from a fibromyalgia Facebook page. It's a better article than I was expecting given its title:

How to Forgive, and Why You Should

I've seen articles elsewhere with trendy platitudes that made forgiveness seem like something mandatory, easy and instantaneous. I have forgiven many people and situations in my life, but it could only happen at my discretion, on my timetable, and after I done some emotional work first. If you forgive when you're ready and for the right reasons, not just because someone thinks you should, it is truly liberating. Getting rid of grudges has contributed greatly to my mental and physical health. Emotional trauma did not cause my fibromyalgia (mine had a physical cause), but hanging on to real and/or imagined wrongs did make my fibromyalgia worse once it had begun. There is still one person in my life whom I have not fully forgiven, but she is a toxic individual and rebuffs my efforts, so I just keep a distance from her. But I can't let all the disappointments of my past ruin my present.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Nature's brain candy.... 

My last post from Psychology Today's series "The Laughing Cure". This one is about why the brain finds laughter so satisfying:

The Natural High of Laughter

Because the only medication I can tolerate for my chronic pain is an anti-inflammatory, I have to use whatever non-drug methods I can afford just to make my life tolerable. Laughter not only costs nothing, it has no side effects, it is legal, AND it helps me cross the line from a tolerable life to a happy one. Top that.

What's your humor regimen? 

Another from "The Laughing Cure" series in Psychology Today. Apparently, we need to exercise our sense of humor regularly:

Depression: No Laughing Matter - Or Is It?

I've used humor to get through some very dark times. It helps me keep a healthy perspective on the world. Depression is like tunnel vision: when you're caught up in it, you can see nothing that resembles hope. But laughter chips little cracks in that tunnel, motivating you to find a full world view.

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