Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

It's been a very quiet day today. Jon was sleeping most of the day, and I was taking it easy and even fell asleep for a couple of hours and I rarely sleep in the daytime. Jason had gone to work so it was very quiet around here. When I woke up there was a soft, powdery snow coming down, which should have fallen on Christmas Day. It's so pretty.

We watched a few reruns of 70s Show. I love that show. It reminds me of my teenage years.

I got a few favorite foods for New Year's that I can eat a little bit of. Jon made this dip that is a modified version of the kind my sister-in-law makes that includes reduced fat cream cheese, fat free refried beans, shredded Mexican cheese, green onions, black olives and diced green peppers. I got a lowfat veggie dip for chopped vegetables, and did get a small bag of Ruffles. I got some pastry hors d'oeuvres -- some are stuffed with spinach, some mushroom and cheese, some onion and cheese and another with just cheese. We are all sharing the one box. I also have Squirt, 50/50 and pineapple juice. Mix the pineapple juice in with the Squirt and it makes instant punch. No champagne this year, no booze of any kind because I can't drink it anymore, Jon is on medicine, too and can't have it...but he rarely drinks even beer so no biggie to him. Jason didn't even buy himself beer this year so it's going to be a "dry" New Year's Eve around here this year.

Jon rented two movies we are going to watch. They are probably both bad. One is Talladega Nights and the other one is Stardust. I saw previews of Talladega nights and it looks funny, though I can't stand NASCAR crap. But I think Will Farrell is funny. So, will let you know later how we liked them both.

We rented the movies because nowadays there is nothing much on New Year's Eve like in the old days when Guy Lombardo was on and we could hear all the big band music and watch people who are all dressed up make drunken fools of themselves. Now it's all "rockin in the New Year" and mostly yackety, yackety, yackety of the overly-hyper commentators. I hate it. So, we will watch the movies and then turn the television on for a bit to watch the big ball drop in NYC, and then turn it to a local station at midnight Chicago time to watch the Chicago countdown. Then will go to bed...and then get up to watch the Rose Bowl parade in the morning.

Off to make some cod fillets and sweet potatoes for a light supper since we are eating a bit of garbage along with it. :D

Here is Guy Lombardo for all of you who don't know who he is:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

I am so glad to see 2007 over with. Looking back, I try to find the good stuff. Mary's horsehead visit in March. That was a riot when she drove more than 16 hours all by herself, through the night from the east coast, showing up wearing a plastic horse head and black cloak and we had no idea who was walking into our house! I finally recognized her hands. They are always cold, and her fingers are very long. When I tried to take off the mask, she grabbed my hands and then I knew immediately it was her. Mothers know who their children are. :-D

The other thing that turned out good in the long run is the hot tub. It was an aggravation with the ordeals I wrote about here in my ongoing saga. (It's still leaking, by the way.) Though it still needs some work, it has been a lifesaver for the joint and muscle pain. It relaxes and makes it so I can fall asleep and sleep most of the night. It's a big seven-seater, has colored lights, 42 jets. I am glad that hubby bought it and put forth such effort to get it going. It has benefited him, too. He has bad knees, carpal tunnel in his wrist and he has an aching back a lot after working all day...walking around the plant he must walk 40 miles a day.

Another good thing is that I lost more than 50 pounds. Not necessarily the way I would have chosen to lose it (having a major medical crisis), but am very happy to be wearing clothes three sizes smaller than I did at this time last year.

2007 wasn't a very good year, medically... with Dad's heart attack and needing a stent put in. Mom finding out she needs medicine for diabetes. Jon developing carpal tunnel in his wrist. Then the development of my gout, then my gallbladder attack, fluid on the lungs crap, and being in the hospital for two weeks, ulcers, etc. Then finding out I have Lupus in addition to Rheumatoid Arthritis, not able to take regular medicines for it because I am asthmatic. Then hurting my back again, and now ending 2007 with Jon having an upper respiratory infection and me with bursitis. Yippee! LOL! All we can do is look at it all with humor. Whatareyagonnado?

But even with this, things could be worse. We are still quite fortunate. Fortunate to have family and friends. Fortunate to live in a nice home and have cars to drive (Even if they stop running now and then, we have the money or credit to repair them.) We have cable, internet, and all kinds of cool stuff. We are warm, we have lots of food to eat, and we have insurance to pay for most of our medical bills. We have good medical care. We are able to get around on our own, not wheelchair bound and no handicap tags for the cars yet! Yes...we are very, very fortunate and must not ever forget the good things to be thankful for. Also thankful to be living in the USA instead of someplace like Darfur.

Hope that 2008 brings a good new President , preferrably an evil liberal Democrat. ;)

Also, hope that 2008 brings better health to everyone, and a lot of good things. Hope 2008 is a better year than 2007 was.

Happy New Year to all my family, friends and loyal readers!


Jon is really sick. You know he is sick when he actually asks to make a doctor appointment for him. So, I did that on the way to the Rheumatologist on Thursday and fortunately, Dr. had openings at 5:20 and 5:50. I needed to go too to find out what was up with my right ear. It's blocked up and can't hear very well out of it.

Well, Jon went first though he wanted the doctor to look at me first, but I said that he was sicker and he had waited long enough. Sure enough, he has a bad upper respiratory infection and so the doctor gave him a decongestant and an antibiotic called Keflex. Poor guy hasn't been this sick in a long time. He keeps going, unlike a lot of men who sit around and whine. He just goes to work and toughs it out. He went to work Friday though he should have stayed home and rested.

He has to go back to the doctor if his symptoms don't improve. His cough is terrible, but his fever is gone. He just has to be careful of getting pneumonia. He did have the chills for awhile, but they are gone now. He has been taking it easy all weekend, which is good, but unlike him. He must feel pretty bad.

As for my ear...fluid in the Eustachian tubes. The left only a tiny bit but the right is full of fluid. So, he advised me to use Ocean Saline Spray five times a day, along with Nascort once a day. So far it's still blocked and if it doesn't clear up have to go to an ENT and maybe have it drained somehow. However they do it. I didn't ask. Hopefully it will clear up without resorting to that.

I went to the Rheumatologist earlier that day, and she checked out my painful shoulder and says it is bursitis...great. She gave me an injection of cortisone in the joint which was combined with an anesthetic. It felt better for a few hours because it was numb...but finally wore off around dinner time and holy felt worse because I was also sore from the injection. There is still a lump where the needle went in.

It also appears that I am having another flare. It seems that the RA is attacking my spine, ankles and feet. My neck is really painful to turn my head and when I lay down in bed it's hard to get comfortable. My neck needs support so I use one of those roll pillows. That helps quite a bit...BUT while sleeping I roll off of it and end up sleeping in a stupid position. This morning I woke up sleeping on my bad shoulder with my neck bent and took me several minutes just to figure out how to get out of bed! Grrrr! But once I got up, things loosened up. They usually loosen up as I move around.

The RA doctor put me on a medication called Plaquenil. It is an anti-malarial drug that is often used to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. I read the common side effects as well as all the bad ones and one of the bad ones is vision impairment! Gasp! I didn't want to take it. I talked to my regular doctor later when I went for my ear problem and always check with him before taking anything new anyway, and he said to go ahead and give it a try. He said that those warnings usually are because one person, or a few people have a problem after being on the drug for awhile and they have to put these warnings for their own protection. I can hardly move some days, and he says that if I don't do something for the inflammation that my joints will keep degenerating because I can't move, can't exercise, and have to keep flexible so I don't just shrivel up and end up not being able to move at all. As they say, "Move it or lose it." So, started taking the Plaquenil, reluctantly...cautiously. I have an eye appointment set up with my opthalmologist and will go in for the baseline exam vision field test and all that is needed for drugs that may cause eye problems. I will have to go for an eye exam every 3 to 6 months while on this medicine, just to make sure nothing is happening. If this medicine doesn't help the RA/Lupus in six months, must stop it, take a rest and then she would want to try Methotrexate.
I hope this works because the side effects of Methotrexate sound even scarier! It's what they give cancer patients.

She also increased my Gabapentin which my family doctor had suggested at my last visit but wanted her opinion. So, got that increased, and the new drug and will see how it goes. So far I already notice a difference and need far less of the pain medicine. I went 16 hours without taking a pain pill yesterday which is a record since this Lupus reared it's ugly head in September. I go back to her again the first week of March. I see my family doctor again the second week of February.

I am looking forward to spring because I always feel better in the springtime. Winter is not a good month for any kind of aches and pains whether you have a chronic illness or not. Makes me want to move to Arizona or somewhere else to live, as long as there is an air conditioner for summer. I hate excessive heat as much as I hate the cold.

My mom gave me a paper that contains an article about Lupus and offered to go with me if they every have a seminar in her area...I think I will take her up on it and go. One of the things about Lupus is to try to keep an upbeat attitude and learn how to deal with stressful situations since stress triggers flares, illnesses trigger flares, and a good mental attitude is important. Maybe one of those seminars will have some helpful information and advice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

uh-oh, ahhh-choo!

Well, hubby probably infected everyone who he was around this weekend with his cold germs. He was in denial that he was coming down with something though I could tell he wasn't feeling right (a big sign was that he was VERY crabby for a few days), and yesterday, Christmas Day, at my folks house, his condition deteriorated and he was pretty miserable by the time we got home. We usually stay till around 9 p.m. or so each year, but we left around 7 this time.

I hoped I would avoid catching his germs, but for the past day or two I have had a blocked-up ear. I felt fine which led me to start investigating other things that might cause my ear to block up. I tried ear wax softener, and the usual ear drop crap, and then the sweet oil crap (which only blocked it up more.) I ate a few spicy peppers even though I really shouldn't because of the stomach problems. That didn't work to unblock it. I finally remembered the Nascort my doctor prescribed for me a few months ago because I can't take antihistamine meds or any over-the-counter stuff because of possible interactions with two of the other medicines I am on. That seems to be working and the pressure in the ear has decreased, however. . . .tonight I have the sniffles! GRRRRRRRR! I hope I don't wake up with a head cold. That would really suck. I had a few pieces of raw garlic and have been drinking juice and green tea in an attempt to fight this before it starts.

Have to go to the Rheumatologist in the morning. Our van is dead. It just refused to start yesterday. At least it went dead here in the driveway and now anywhere across town where I would have to call a tow truck and someone to come rescue me. It will probably have to be towed to the GMC dealer though. He is thinking it is the fuel pump and it it is where he thinks it is, it's going to be a pain to get off, and not to mention, quite expensive. There goes the big screen television that he wanted. I feel sorry for him. Every time he thinks he is going to have money for himself, something breaks or someone needs to borrow it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My favorite Christmas song

Hardrock, Coco and Joe

From Wikipedia: Hardrock, Coco and Joe is a short stop motion animated cartoon written by Stuart Hamblen. It's about three of Santa Claus' helpers who ride on Santa's sleigh each Christmas. The short has become an annual "Christmas Classic" on Chicago's WGN-TV since its introduction in the early 1950s.

Its full title is Hardrock, Coco and Joe - The Three Little Dwarfs. It was originally created by a company called Centaur Productions. Its running time is about 2 minutes and 45 seconds. This cartoon is traditionally broadcast with their two other short Christmas cartoons, "Suzy Snowflake" and "Frosty the Snowman".

According to the narrative song, Hardrock drives Santa's sleigh, and Coco navigates with maps. Santa "has no need for Joe/ but takes him 'cause he loves him so". Part of the charm of this primitively-made cartoon is that Joe, the smallest of the three and very boyish-looking has a deep bass voice.


Oh-lee-o-lay-dee, o-lay-dee-I-ay
Donner and Blitzen, away, away
Oh-lee-o-lay-dee, o-lay-dee-I-oh
I'm Hardrock!
I'm Coco!
I'm Joe!

Rudoloh the blow up reindeer

One of my favorite childhood Christmas Eve memories is of my grandfather giving me an inflatable reindeer toy similar to the one pictured here. I loved that thing. I later found out from my mom that he had gotten the reindeer free with a fill-up of gasoline for his car at a local gas station.

Little kids are pleased with simple things. When our kids were little they would open their presents and end up playing with the empty boxes, using their imaginations to make houses, boats, cars, buses, trains, etc.

It seems that in today's world, less and less is left to the imagination. Toys ring with buzzers and bells, dolls talk, go potty, sing and dance. Too many toys do not allow a child to pretend. There is enough time in their future for reality. Childhood should be a time for fantasy, fun, and "magic".

Back to the blow-up reindeer. I searched for years for one in the stores and a few years ago I couldn't believe my eyes when I found one at a local store. It has a leak which I am trying to find, but I will not throw it away. I hope to find the leak and patch it so I can set him under the tree.

Other people aren't really impressed with plastic, blow-up Rudolph, but it brings back memories for me of a simpler time when people had real trees and the big, fat colored lights and messy tinsel that hung like icicles on the bows of real trees. A time when people were satisfied with simple things.


(AFP/Adrian Dennis)
I ran across this photo in Yahoo News today...a Blue Tit hanging from a branch. A photographer caught this as the birdie was waiting his turn at a bird feeder in Minley Manor, Farnborough, some 40 miles west of London. It is one of my New Year's resolutions to get back to doing photography again. I really enjoy it and there are plenty of photo opportunities in the area I live.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This is cool

Check out others at Parallax

Morning after snowstorm

This is the view looking out of my diningroom doors. Yesterday we had a big snowstorm. One day the forecast called for snow "showers" and then yesterday the snow showers forecast turned into possible heavy accumulations with travel advisories, cancellations at O'Hare and Midway airports. Today we are digging out, or I should say Jon is digging out . . . poor man. His back is bothering him too and I wish he would just pay a neighborhood kid to do it. But he's stubborn. And he won't ask our son to do it, and our son won't offer to do it. So, he goes out there and hurts his back more. :roll: Now he has to go help the other son fix a car in this crap. I think he likes being needed and is why he wants to help, and why he won't tell them to do crap themselves.

I would love to go for a walk in this, and kick the snow around, but am paranoid that I will slip and fall and break something. When I see an untouched yard full of new-fallen snow, I want to go make footprints in it. I especially love the way it sparkles, like little diamonds scattered everywhere. Real diamonds have never really mattered to me (though small diamond stud earrings would be nice so I don't have to keep buying the $12 cubic zirconias), the diamonds that shine in the snow are priceless...and so many of them! No one could ever own that many diamonds that can be found in new snow.

I am going to go get a cup of hot Ovaltine now and watch for my squirrel friend to come and get his breadcrumbs that I put out for him on the deck.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Reading time . . .

I finally started reading this book after it sitting on my shelf for a few years now! I bought it while working on my Masters, planning to read it when I finished. Well, I finished my Masters in five years and still on the shelf! So, I picked it up the other day and started reading and it is an attention getter from the first page. The story starts out pretty gross. This is one of those evil twin/good twin stories and I am wondering where it is going to go. My soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Whitney read it already and said it is very good. I will be posting a review of it on my Literary Reflections blog once I am finished with it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More crap.

I went to the gynecologist last week, just for a regular check-up since I hadn't gone for years and years and everyone was telling me I should go. So, I did. The doctor sent me for a mammogram and a DEXA bone density scan and I thought nothing of it and forgot about it since he said no news is good news.

Well, he called today, and when I heard him say "This is Dr. N" I thought at first it was that something was wrong with the mammogram since I hadn't had one for years, and was so cocky talking to the technician about breast cancer not running in our family. Then he told me that I have moderate osteoporosis in my lumbar spine, and in my right hip. I wonder why the back doctor didn't order a bone scan before sending me for therapy treatments that are not working! The gynecologist wants me to take Fosamax. I need to talk to my internist about this. I don't want to take more drugs. And Fosamax sounds like it would be bad in many's the list of side effects:

Serious side effects:
  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing;
  • chest pain;
  • pain or burning under the ribs or in the back; or
  • new or worsening heartburn.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur:

  • abdominal discomfort; (I just got the ulcers cured so don't need this!)
  • stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation;
  • headache;
  • muscle, bone, or joint soreness or aches;(I'm on meds to try to get RID of chronic pain, so do I really need a drug to cause MORE??)
  • eye pain; (wonderful)
  • a rash;
  • an altered sense of taste.
So, I am waiting for my internist to call me back so we can discuss this and talk about other options to slow down the bone thinning without taking more risky drugs.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Falling down

falling down
Today is a hazardous winter day. Our oldest son went out the front door and ended up falling on his ass. Fortunately, he didn't break anything except one of his CD cases.

My "artwork"


This is one of my beginner works of "art" that Mary wanted framed for Christmas this year. She wanted this, along with several other things I have done and that have been hiding in portfolios and folders in closets and shelves. I am flattered that she thinks they are good enough to frame. I would have never considered framing them and displaying them for all the world to see, but she thinks they are good enough.Another one I sent is below (these are scans so make them look worse than they are:

But my photography is better. Here is a photo I framed of Mary's cat, Doggie. Doggie is a gorgeous cat, even though she is sort of obnoxious at times. I took this photo when Doggie was staying with us for a couple months while Mary was doing a lot of traveling. She is very pretty when groomed and she smells so nice after being washed in perfumey shampoo.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's snowing

It's the first big snow of the season. Since the weather forecast early in the day called for snow starting mid-afternoon, and I was out in the middle of the afternoon and nothing was happening, I was hoping that they were wrong again. But, the snow was just taking it's sweet time getting here.

It's falling softly, no wind. Just gently falling down like powdered sugar through a sifter. It's sparkly in the light of the street lamps. It's very pretty when I don't have to drive in it. It can go from pretty, to pretty ugly when you have to make an hour-long trek to work in it.

For now, I will just enjoy it from inside, gazing out the window at it while sipping my steamy cup of hot coffee flavored with egg-nog CoffeeMate.
sparkly snowglobe

Monday, December 03, 2007

I got all of my holiday cards addressed, notes written and all mailed already. I used to put in a newsletter, but after doing that a couple of years, I realized how impersonal that really was. So now, I had jot a couple of paragraphs to some friends who like to know what has been going on during the past year and asking how they are doing and their kids, etc. taking into consideration the differences of all my friends since they are from all walks of life, and all sorts of beliefs and traditions. One general "blanket" newsletter doesn't do it.

With having so many pen pals, I get holiday cards from all over the world. My penfriends try to send something "cultural" from their country and in their own language...then they translate what it says. The images usually reflect some food, attire, decorations recipes etc. that is native or traditional to their country and area. I usually try to find something from Illinois...Chicago or the Midwest. Even out-of-town/state relatives would love to know more about where we each live.

People in other countries get a big kick out of America's image of the big-fat Santa Claus with his big pot belly and fat, red cheeks and gluttony for cookies and milk. In many of the European and Scandinavian countries, St. Nick is tall, thin and in many countries surrounded by a bunch of black Moor slaves! (Not very "politically correct" in these modern times and I don't think Blacks here in the USA would stand for it.) Like many other things/concepts, peoples' interpretations of Santa are numerous and varied.

Whatever one's beliefs, it's nice to have a time of year to remember friends and family and to catch up with what they are doing and how they are doing. Too bad it's only once a year that we do this with most long-distance family and friends.

I love books

I love books, but I have been a lazy reader lately. I have been reading Augusten Burroughs' "Possible Side Effects" for three months now and still have about a third of the book to go. It's not a very long book, and it is quite funny and interesting, but I have ADD when it comes to focusing on anything lately. I am supposed to be doing a few drawings/paintings for my daughter for Xmas presents, but haven't started yet...BUT Mary, if you are reading this...I am starting on that today.

I love to read so I am going to start getting back in the habit again I think the problem is that there are so many things I want to do that I don't know where to start, so don't start at all. When I went back to the university to get my B.A. and M.A. I had a reason to read, and people to discuss what I had read with. And people who had diverse opinions and open minds. But there isn't anyone to do that with now...except my daughter, Mary who also loves "intelligent' fiction. (I HATE Danielle Steel novels and similar types of "pop" fiction.)

I have tried to get into Russian writers like Dostoevsky, for instance and they are all so "hyper" and there is that thing they do by assigning multiple names for each character, and those names are used interchangeably throughout the story so it's difficult to keep up with who the hell is talking or who is being talked to or about. They are also very "hyper" with way too much activity going on and the dialogue is also very hyper and crazy. There is a scattering of humor throughout, but getting to those parts is very annoying, in my opinion anyway. My daughter loves Russian literature and even took a whole class in it at Yale...I think it was.

My favorite writer, as I mentioned back in the summer, is Doris Lessing. I did my Masters' thesis on her books Mara and Dann and African Stories. I also love anything by Ann Beatty, Margaret Atwood. Don Delillo, Cormic McCarthy, Edgar Allen Poe (who was a wonderful essay writer and too bad he is only known for his "horror" stuff.)

I can read several books at one time. Well, not exactly at the same time, but I like to read some of one book, some of another and just rotate books during the day like one watches several television programs. I am now reading Wally Lamb's "I Know This Much Is True". I have had that on my shelf for a few years now, along with about fifty other's I have bought but haven't read yet. I am finishing the Burroughs' book, as I mentioned above, and I am also reading a book on creative writing which is also a workbook with exercises to get going on that again. I have had writer's block, as far as my fiction goes. Blogging keeps me writing, but not the type of writing that is publishable.

I am going to re-read Orwell's "1984" soon, and I want to read Salinger's "Frannie and Zooey". "Catcher in the Rye" is one of my favorites, and so am expecting "Frannie and Zooey" to be good, also. I loved Holden's cynicism and dark humor in"Catcher in the Rye" and found myself laughing out loud at times. I am off to do some reading.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I've always wanted to decorate with all-blue lights

If I won the lottery I would do this to my whole house and front lawn.

A good day

The image on the right is a photo taken by Michael Pancier. It's called Sunday's Rose and is absolutely gorgeous, isn't it?

Today was a good day. Whitney and Jeff came by, that's why. They always cheer things up by stopping by. Whitney and I played Scrabble while Jon and Jeff worked on Jeff's old Audi, which is his third spare car they use in winter weather so they don't have to risk an accident with their GTO. From my experience driving a GTO, they don't handle very well in snow and ice, AND their's is way to pretty to have some idiot smash into it.

After Jon and Jeff were done with the car, we all had bean soup for lunch. I make the best 15-bean soup. I add sliced fresh carrots, garlic, diced tomatoes, and green peppers and minced onion. I also add spices from jar like a bit of oregano, celery seed, thyme, and a bit of cayenne pepper for a little zip. Then I let it simmer in the CrockPot for eight long hours. Mmmmmmm. The whole house smells good while it's cooking.

We watched a really stupid movie called "Dangerous something" (I forget what now) about a banshee that hated light and these fruitballs lure it up into a lighthouse and then destroy it finally by having to go all the way back down to the bottom of the lighthouse again and flicking some switch. It was really lame. But we had to watch it once we started to find out how it ended.

After that, Jeff and Jason were looking stuff up about computers online, so Whitney and I started another game of Scrabble, but then it got late so we quit in the middle when they decided they better get going. Well, they weren't gone but a couple of minutes and I saw that they had left their smoothie cups here that they had brought with them. So, when I called Jeff to let him know, then things got a bit chaotic again...always something, like I say...the Audi died before they even got out of town! This Audi was our car for years before Jeff bought it. He had it at our house so Jon could fix a few things on it. Well, we know how that goes lately with Jon fixing things. He just has way too much too keep up with anymore. So, we went to their rescue, and turns out that it has a bad alternator. It's now parked in his friend's driveway until Jon can get a new alternator and install it.

We had planned on going to Sam's Club for some things, but by the time we got the car taken care of, it was closed...but no biggie. Jon can stop by there on his way home tomorrow. We did get to Jewel, however for my bananas and a few other items. It's cold and windy out there tonight. It had been warmer earlier, but then temps plunged and that evil wind is back.

Time to go get snuggly under the covers with my microwave heated booties.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

These grow in front of my house in spring

Adventures in produce

I have found my favorite fruit. Golden Delicious apples. mmmmm. They are sweet, and the skin is so thin you can hardly tell there is a skin on it. It's too bad it's taken 53 years for me to try one!

My diet consists of about 75 % fruits and vegetables now. I get bored with the same old things...bananas, red delicious apples, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, carrots and all the usual produce. I have found a market, however, that sells all kinds of exotic fruits and veggies from all over the world.

I had my first persimmon the other day. It indeed lives up to its ancient nickname "food for the gods". Here is a persimmon:

A persimmon almost looks like the fruit version of the sand dollar. It's very sweet and very delectable, however it leaves a furry, orange coating on my tongue for some reason. And it's a weird mind game eating one for the first time because the brain is thinking "tomato" and then the tongue says "sweet like candy" and it takes a minute to process the incoming taste information.

I also love mangos, and kiwi fruits. I want to try a pomegranate (even though they look like more trouble than they are worth with all those seeds), and I would like to try a cactus pear, lychee, papaya, pomelo, and a kumquat. (I have always wanted to try a kumkuat since I was a kid and heard the Three Stooges saying it in one of their episodes.)

I also want to try some vegetables I never bothered to try because I was stuck in a veggie rut and not too adventurous. I have fallen in love with black-eyed peas of all things (those are legumes, though and not a vegetable). I am going to try rutabaga even though friends have warned me about it, I have never had rhubarb either. (Are those two vegetables or fruits?) I've probably eaten a lot of exotic vegetables in Chinese food and not even known what they are.

I am finding out that being on a diet doesn't have to be boring. It's actually kind of fun once you start exploring and trying new things.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This is getting to be our furniture

You know you are getting old when your furniture starts pooping out. After more than 20 years, our Flexsteel furniture is finally getting "saggy", to say the least. There is nowhere I can comfortably sit anymore in our whole entire house with this bad back. Our diningroom chairs are all solid oak, and hard. I do have a "wedge" to sit on, but that I can only sit on for a few minutes at a time. I have a $2,000 massage chair that reclines, but that isn't supposed to be used as a regular chair, though Jon does all the time...and it's getting saggy, too! I am afraid the rollers are going to break.

Our sofa and love seat still look like new, however sit on the couch and it feels as if your butt is going to touch the floor. And try getting up from there even with a good back! The love seat isn't as worn, but still "soft" and not much support anymore. So where do I go to watch television or a DVD? I go lay in my waterbed. We have the kind of waterbed mattress where you can adjust the firmness by adding or taking out water. I have it filled to semi-firm and that is comfy. BUT at the moment it's hard to get in and out of when I plan to go lay down I make sure I go potty, get whatever I need and put it nearby so I don't have to get up and down, up and down.

I want one of those couches that are corner units with the recliners on each end. It would be nice if I can get my back better so I can go get a job to at least buy a new recliner for starters.

When people are married for 32 years, we need another shower...all of our stuff is getting so old!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dad's birthday gathering

Had a family gathering yesterday for Dad's 79th birthday. My sister, and her son and grandson were there, my youngest brother's wife and their two little kids, and my older younger brother and his wife and one of his sons were also there.

My great-nephew is 2, my youngest brother's kids are 2 and 4. The kids crack me up all the time. I think little kids are hilarious. My sister's grandson (my great-nephew) wanted cake so badly. She had told him that he was going to Papa's to have cake. Well, when they got there he had to wait...then had to eat a hot dog first before cake...then had to wait. Poor kid probably thought we were all lying to him about the cake because it got later and later and no cake appeared!

Finally, it was cake time and we all sang along with the little ones who sang
"Happy Birthday to Pa
Happy Birthday to Pa
Happy Birthday dear
Happy Birthday to Pa!"

It was so cute.

Then little J got his cake. :)

Dad doesn't seem at all 79-years-old. He still scoots around like a young man of 60! He's had his share of medical problems, but like the energizer bunny and keeps going and going and going! He is always busy with something, which is why he probably is still able to get around so well. As the saying goes, "move it or lose it."

Dad got a lot of cool presents. I was "coveting" a collection of stand-up comic DVDs my mom got him. He also got a shirt, some sexy-smelling men's cologne, some candy, a gift card, a dvd of A River Runs Through It (great flick) and other goodies.

It was nice to see everyone again. I hadn't been over to see anyone since my brother's birthday back at the beginning of October.

Maybe we need to call these people?

Yes, the hot tub is leaking again, and it seems to be coming from underneath the damn thing again. It's a slow leak at the moment, so he just keeps adding water to it every day to keep it going while I am trying to get through this back problem, or until I have surgery, if need be. If I have to have surgery then there are several reasons for not going in a hot tub, one being that I won't be able to get in and out of the darn thing. I can only get in and out of it now with hubby's help, but it feels so good when I am in there.

Anyways, it will need to be drained, stood on end again so he can get underneath and burrow through the blown-in insulation (never get a hot tub with blown-in really makes a horrible mess no matter who would have to get at the pipes and parts. There is no other way but to burrow into it.

I hope it holds out for awhile till my back gets better. Then I can go without it for awhile.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday and I am not going anywhere today

well...except to physical therapy, and I am so feeling like canceling that. It's not doing any good anyway. Today, traffic is going to be insane around Chicagoland. The roads are going to be full of crazy people in mad shopping mode. I don't understand what could possibly be so important to buy to wait in line all night long for it, in your pajamas! Yes, pajamas. That's what the Chicago Tribune is reporting. People lined up all night long outside of stores, some WITH THEIR CHILDREN, and IN THEIR PAJAMAS. It's insane. What could anyone possible desire that much? The greed in this country is out of control. Even when we are told the economy is bad, just look around. People complain they have no money, and everything is so expensive, and gas prices are so high, and yet the malls are jammed, Mini-malls and strip malls are being built everywhere. And they are all busy.

I can't think of a single thing that I would want to buy so badly that I would stay up all night, and camp out in the freezing cold for. Not one thing do I desire that much. There isn't anything that I would want so badly to stand in line for more than ten minutes for. If I can't get what is on my shopping list, I will just get something else. What is it that makes people think they MUST give exactly what their kids want?

Even when our kids were little, and they wanted the popular toy that was advertised, if we couldn't find it shopping in a normal way, they got something else and were just as happy with it. We always told them that Santa would try but his elves could only make so many so he might bring something else that is cool. They were okay with that, and it taught them that you just don't get every stinkin thing you wish for. Life isn't like that.

AND you should be happy for what you already have. Most people aren't. They throw stuff away when they are bored with it. Or they stockpile things they never use and don't give it away to someone else who might want it.
We are a society of greed. I miss the simpler times when kids were happy with a couple of neat toys and books. When I was little we would ask Santa for a doll, or car, or books, etc. Nowdays kids want full computer systems, stereo systems, and iPods, ALL IN ONE CHRISTMAS. AND THEY GET IT.

And we wonder what is wrong with the world.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Pig-out and Football Day

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! (I am up to an average of 53 a day and almost to the 40,000 visitor mark!)

We had originally planned to go to my parents' place, but plans got changed and we are staying home. It's probably for the best. For one, it's hard for me to ride in a car for any distance right now, and secondly, I can't eat all that traditional Thanksgiving food.

I am going to try to make a good Thanksgiving dinner that I can eat. We are having broiled chicken breasts, plain baked sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs (my husband and son hate these so I am making only two of them for me), Pepperidge Farm stuffing (which I will only be able to eat a small amount of since it's so full of salt), seasoned green beans, corn medley, and dinner rolls. I will also make a pumpkin pie (of which I can only have a sliver, with fat free Cool Whip), and hubby bought his Oreo Chocolate Cream Pie which he and my son can eat. I might have a bite.

I was watching a bit of the Macy's parade and it's sure not like when I was a kid. It's all Broadway advertisement now, and watching bits of acts from the Broadway musicals. I like watching the bands, and seeing the floats and balloons, but now it's so boring with the musical productions. Yawn. I put on the parade from Chicago and that moves so slowly and has so many boring entries that it's hard to even pay attention to it.

It's snowing right now. Coming down very softly. It's the first snow of the year and we are supposed to get three inches by tonight. It's very weird to see that my snapdragons are still in full bloom into late November with snow falling on them. I have never seen that happen before. The flowers are confused this year since it had been so unusually warm this season, so far.

Jon is watching The Man Who Knew Too Much starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day. They don't make movies like they used to. The old movies are best.

Going to go make my two deviled eggs now and watch some more parade stuff. Even if they are lame now, it doesn't seem like Thanksgiving unless I watch at least some of the parade.

Hope you all have a real nice holiday with friends and family.

Merry Thanksgivoween is right!

I couldn't believe it when I went to Kohl's at the beginning of November and Christmas music was playing. Halloween is barely over and Thanksgiving was still three weeks away and Jingle Bells and "haul out the holly" were playing in not only Kohl's, but also Target, Walgreen's and Jewel! The Christmas cards and decorations are all on display right after Halloween, and Thanksgiving cards and stuff were shoved off to a corner next to all the Christmas crap.

And we wonder why time seems to be flying by.
I really hate lawn inflatables. They are really a lazy attempt at lawn decorations. These things are ugly and obnoxious. For the past two years, our neighbors have put out an inflatable snowman and while I am in bed at night, I can hear the motor running that keeps it pumped up. They let it go very late into the night. Due to everyone working to pay for the mansion-sized houses they barely live in, they resort to these grotesque-looking monstrosities that just reflect how society has gotten just too damn busy for anything anymore.

Personally, we have never decorated the outside of our house. If I am going to put up lights and stuff, I want it inside where I can enjoy it. I am not into house decorating contests, or anything like that. I keep it simple. A tree, a few red bows and some silver garland. We always get a nice centerpiece from Jon's company, and we get cards from family and friends to hang on a wall. None of my decorations are inflatable and never will be.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Making snowcones

Thought this one was funny.

This is going to be my hubby when he retires.

Even now, on his days off, he plans thing for "us" to do, and makes lists of those things which are pretty much like a flow chart of "ifs" and "thens". I can just imagine what it will be like with him home 24-7!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Medication can cause this to happen

My poor Mom got stuck in the bathtub not too long ago. I think it was Claritin-D that did it (correct me if I am wrong, Mom). She was real sick and congested, but she is also 70-years-old and doctors should be more careful when prescribing stuff to older people. When she was in the bathroom, she got dizzy and fell backwards into the tub and my Dad wasn't home to help her. I forget now how she managed to get out, if she was there till my father got home or what. I will have to ask her and update this. But the Herman comic made me think of that happening to her.

My new medicine is making me googy. Sometimes the room feels like it is spinning when I stand up and I am only on two pills a day now, and have to go up to three pills a day on Wednesday. My doctor and pharmacist assured me that these feelings will go away as I adjust to the medicine, but I need to drive myself to therapy and back. I will have to drink a lot of coffee and sake the side roads there. No major streets and only go there and back. It would be nice if I had a chauffer!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More drugs

I went to the doctor on Thursday for a check-up of how things are going, and he put me on a new medication called Gabapentin to help with chronic pain. It's not good to be taking Vicodin and Darvocet on a regular basis, and since I have conditions that cause constant chronic pain, my Rheumatologist and he conferred that I need something else. I had to look this up before filling the prescription because after the Skelaxin fiasco I didn't want to end up back in an emergency situation again from taking some stupid medicine. I read up on it, did my research then went to the pharmacy and made the pharmacist look it all up again, including looking up the possible interactions between it and the stuff I am already on. He assured me that there should be no problem and side effects were very infrequent.

So, I started taking one pill at bedtime for three days, then this morning I started taking one in the morning and then will take one at bedtime for three days, then will add one in the middle of the day for a total of three pills a day every day after that. This is one of those medications that cannot be discontinued suddenly, so if I want to come off of it, it has to be tapered backwards, three a day, to two a day for three days and one a day for three days...then off.

This drug makes me drowsy. Taking it at bedtime is no problem since I am going to sleep anyway, but hopefully I will get used to it because after taking the one this morning I have been incredibly sleepy all day. So far, it hasn't helped with pain, but the doctor says, and the website information says that it may take a few weeks to start working. If it does work, I may not need to take pain medication at all anymore.

I don't know how it will work for the bulging disc pain. It might help take the edge off but don't know how the heck it will get rid of the pain that is in my ass and running down my leg. That, hopefully therapy will take care of in time since my regular doctor says to avoid surgery at all costs right now.

The doctor says I should wear medical tags, so ordered a set yesterday. Yes, a set. I needed multiple tags to fit all my medical warnings and drugs. Difficult intubation, all the meds I am allergic to, that I have Lupus, RA & asthma, all the medications I am on now, etc. If I put all this info on one tag it would be the size of a license plate!

Another thing I am doing that would be good for all people to do who have medical problems and a long and complicated history is to buy a USB card that can be directly plugged into any computer. On this card I am putting all my medical information, surgeries, procedures, conditions, and all medical and emergency information. That way we don't have to remember everything each and every time we go to an emergency room or doctor's office. They can just plug it in, and download it...print it out, whatever.

Back to the pill thing, I am not looking forward to getting off the Prednisone in two weeks because I know that things will probably start to flare up really bad again like they did before, BUT I will not miss the hot flashes and sweating I get from it. I have never sweated so much in all my life! I sweat through my pajamas sometimes twice a night. It is highly unpleasant.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Brian Regan - Emergency Room Part 1 & 2

This guy is hilarious!
Part 1

Part 2

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow . . .

Over the years I have often started a hobby, only to get bored with it and start something else. There are only a few things I have been consistent with and that is pen-palling, journal writing, and Blogging. Otherwise, I go from hobby, to hobby, to hobby . . . then back to the first hobby, then to another . . . back to another, and it goes on and on. I love to draw and paint when I get started, but usually I am too damn lazy to get out the paper and art supplies. Then there is all the clean-up to deal with and so I usually talk myself out of even starting something. I love books, and when I was going to college for my B.A. in English I did a lot of reading and read a ton of books. The same thing when I went back for my Masters. I read so many books, and could read rather fast. I could read several books in the same time period, switching from one to another. But now, it's a miracle if I can get through two pages before nodding off to sleep, even if the book is quite interesting.

Jon and I are the same in this way. With him it's not just hobbies, but projects that need to be done. He will start a project and never finish it. Like building our house 20 years ago. The fireplace still isn't finished in the family room. it has a base, the insert where the gas logs are, and the glass door enclosures, so it works, but it has no brick on the sides and no mantel. Just the exhaust pipe going out through the wall. He also has the garage half-painted. The basement is half finished. The ceiling tiles down there to finish the drop ceilings are all in boxes. Floor tiles for the basement are in boxes and the floor is half done. The two-level deck still doesn't have stairs down to the yard. Only the livingroom and basement family room shutters are on the house.
I could go on, but you get the idea.

One thing I don't put off though, is everyday stuff that needs to be done. Like cleaning, laundry, picking crap up and putting it away, paying bills, checking on stuff, making phone calls to friends, etc. But with hubby, it's "later". I say, "honey will you change the lightbulbs on the garage lights?" and he says "later" or "tomorrow". It's like that for lots of things. I joke that his theme song should be the "Tomorrow" song from ANNIE.

But I can't be too hard on him. I am just as much as a procrastinator in a lot of ways as he is.
I also beat myself up for it all the time, because time is going by so fast, and someday there will be no more time to do the things I want to do in my mind. It will be too late to write that novel, or paint that picture, etc. Like the Nike slogan says, we should "Just Do It" and do it now and stop waiting for tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh my aching back!

This is one of the most frustrating things a person can have...back pain. I went to therapy yesterday and they basically could do nothing except electrical stimulation, and a huge moist heat pack on my right butt cheek. My muscles were hard as a rock and movement is still quite limited. I went in the hot tub last night and that helps while I am in there. The buoyancy of the water just takes all the pressure off. I wish I could sleep in the hot tub, as everything relaxes in the hot, steamy water. I don't even have to have the jets on to feel relief.

BUT when I lift myself out of the water, and gravity takes over, it all compresses again and the pain comes back. I alternate between heat and ice, heat and ice. I am not supposed to try any exercises for a few days until I can get the pain under control. I am so sick of things hurting. I try not to take pain meds because of all the other crap I am taking, and so am taking only about 1/3 of the amount prescribed. I don't need liver problems on top of everything else. But the thing about that is more pain to try to deal with as naturally as I can...which usually means less movement, which leads to more stiffness. There is a chain reaction to everything. Take more meds, more medical side effects, take less...more pain and physical side effects. It's like a Catch-22.

I think we figured out why I am having back problems again despite my being on a diet, losing more than 50 pounds this year, and taking better care of myself. One thing is the gallbladder/adhesion removal surgery. It weakened abdominal muscles that I need to support my back better. Then also the gout in the feet which is making me walk funny, which affects the ankles, then the hips, and alignment of the spine. That throws everything off.

I will keep on keepin' on...keep trying to get things fixed and maybe someday I can get all this crap straightened out and feel good again.

Monday, November 12, 2007

At least I'm not this forgetful . . . yet anyway

I've paid for items at the grocery store and started to walk off without a bag, and have left a case of Pepsi on the bottom of a grocery cart after loading groceries into my van, but I have never forgotten that I had driven somewhere...this guy has to have Alzheimer's or something.

Man forgets car at gas station

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man forgot his car after filling it up at a petrol station, police said Friday.

"He just forgot about it and walked off home," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Wuppertal.

After the car had sat blocking the pump for about an hour, a woman working at the petrol station became suspicious and alerted authorities.

Officers contacted the 63-year-old from Remscheid, who came straight back to fetch the vehicle. He had paid to fill up the car before walking off.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bulging disc

Things just keep getting better! (sarcasm) I went to my back doctor today and from my symptoms and x-rays, he is pretty certain that I have a bulging disc again (maybe herniated). I had this problem back in 2004 and had surgery to remove half of a herniated disc. How did it happen back then? I merely leaned over to put something into a clothes hamper. This time it was cleaning the basement and picking up a bag of trash. X-rays also show degeneration of some of the vertebrae and scar tissue from the old surgery. What fun.

So, am going to start physical therapy on Monday at a new place, and will be going THREE times a week, instead of the two I was doing at the other place. If no better in two weeks, I have to go have an MRI and then meet with him again to go over the results and other options, which he is pretty sure will be surgery again to repair or remove the herniated disc. So, I hope that therapy can help this time. The pain is only down into my butt cheek and upper thigh this time, whereas last time it shot all the way down my leg into my foot. BUT he says the Prednisone may be masking the seriousness of the problem, and since I will be weaning off of that before I am finished with therapy, we will see how it goes.

I hope that the year 2008 is better than 2007 has been!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Need new clothes!

With all the weight I have been losing, NOTHING FITS! Grrrr!!! I feel bad on one hand because clothes like my fairly new off-white pantsuit fall off of me. None of the clothes I have bought in the last two years fits. My black pants don't fit, khaki's don't fit. I know it's a good problem to have, but I just don't have the money to replace this stuff all at one time and so keep wearing the same stuff over and over again. (Not that I really go anywhere lately.) Usually I have to use a safety pin or add a belt, which looks ridiculous with some things because my seat of my pants are "bunchy" then. If I could go out and work, then I could buy more stuff at once, but with the health problems, that isn't going to happen anytime soon. So will have to be patient and get things as I can.

I have bought a couple of new pair of jeans, and a couple of underwear and bras over the past month and a half. I shouldn't complain . . . Jon needs new pants and clothes because his clothes are OLD! I will have to just get things as I can, little by little and eventually build my wardrobe back up again. I have a lot of clothes already, and most are nice, but I will never be able to wear them again, and they will probably end up going to Goodwill. But I am NOT getting fat again just to fit into them.

I mentioned before that I did get a Danskin outfit today to wear to physical therapy. It's a clingy outfit and it's been over a decade since I could wear anything remotely clingy. It feels so good to be thin again. I have been losing a couple pounds a week, still. I do hope that when I reach my goal weight that I will stop and level out. I don't want to look anorexic, and Lupus does make some people lose too much weight.

Laundry brain fart

I must be getting senile. I did a really dumb thing yesterday and put a cream-colored bedroom rug in with a blue kitchen rug and guess what? bled and my cream rug turned purple-gray. I am so pissed at myself. I didn't wash the one on the other side of the bed because it wasn't dirty, but this one was because it's more walked on. So, I had to go replace the we have money to re-buy stuff...NOT. But I had a Kohl's cash coupon for $10 and so got $10 off the stuff I bought today.

I also bought a new knit sweat-suit for physical therapy so I don't have to keep wearing capris in cold weather. I only had capri sweat pants that are 15 years old. This is a nice Danskin outfit and is a regular large instead of the Women's sizes I used to have to buy (nice way of saying "fat" sizes). The pants are black with a sky blue stripe down the side of the legs, and the shirt is sky blue. Pretty spiffy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mary as Leeloo

Halloween is our daughter, Mary's favorite holiday. This year she dressed as Leeloo from the movie "The Fifth Element" and she did a really clever job with conduit tape from Home Depot! (Only she was a wee bit more conservative about showing skin than the character in the film.) She always thinks up a cool costume.And here below is Milla Jovovich as Leeloo in the movie:

Physical therapy "tricks"

I started physical therapy sessions for my lower back problem last week, and am about ready to quit already. For one thing, I haven't even seen my back doctor yet (because they didn't have an opening till November 8th and said if it is that bad to go to the emergency room. Doctors today seem to just want to slough you off to the ER for every little thing so no wonder it takes forever to be seen and treated in the ER if everyone is being referred there as if it is some kind of clinic for even non-emergency things.

I was in pretty much pain, and after going though this before, I want to prevent another big blow-up. So, I went to see my regular doctor who got me started on pain medicine and a muscle relaxer. That's a story I haven't written about yet...the "adverse effect" of Skelaxin that sent me back to the doctor the day after taking ONE pill in the morning. My heart was pounding and I was trembling as if I had had a shot of epinepherine for asthma that I used to get as a kid! My blood pressure went up and up for a few hours after taking that crap, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I called and they said to go to the ER. I said no...I am not going to get stuck in ER with a bad back on one of those damn gurneys. So the doctor said to get someone to bring me over to the office. Jon rushed home and took me over there, and the doctor did an EKG which showed "squiggly" lines between beats, and so he sent me over to the hospital for a cardiac enzyme test and another EKG and had a cardiologist look at me. The diagnosis..."adverse drug reaction" DUH! I asked if they could give me something to flush the crap out of me, and they said would have to "work itself out" and just don't take any more of it. I went home, and the doctor called to check on me later, and by them my blood pressure was down and only slightly elevated...the next morning I was back to 120/80. It was as high as 191/101 when I was at the doctor's office! careful of muscle relaxers, they don't always "relax" you.

Back to PT...I hate going there. I had to go back in 2004 when I had a ruptured disc, and had several weeks of it and finally I quit before completely finishing because they started having me do all sorts of circus tricks like sitting on balls like ones in the photo above, and standing on one foot and then climbing steps, leaning on walls, walking on speedy treadmills, and a variety of potential opportunities for me to injure myself worse, or in other ways!

The recent round of therapy is weird. The therapist said it appears I may have another bulging disc problem, but won't know till I go see the 'REAL back doctor on the 8th and have an MRI. For now, they started me on some exercises that are supposed to gently manipulate the disc back into position. It's a new method called the McKenzie method. The little "tricks" involved are questionable to me. A few actually do help, but some make matters worse. And some of the things they want me to do, I just refuse. Like SQUATTING and coming back up to a standing position again. I told them that I was NOT going to do that one...for one thing, squatting is bad for my feet...and my gouty toes and ankle...and secondly, I had knee surgery also in 2004 and squatting with that knee is not a good idea. I had told them of all these things BEFORE starting therapy, but that just shows how much these people who are in charge of caring for you really read or listen to what you tell them.

The last time I went to PT, I couldn't even walk that well, and she tells me to do ten minutes on a treadmill. I think that was because she was busy with another patient and she wanted to give me something to keep me busy while I waited. I told her I wasn't doing the treadmill. (This was also the day after the severe Skelaxin reaction) and so she put me in a chair with a heat pack for ten minutes. I was right, she just wanted to kill some time and make it look like she was keeping my scheduled therapy time.

She later had me go through my usual wall exercises, which do help a bit, BUT then she told me to get on a table and lay on my stomach. I know that laying on your stomach is NOT a good position for a lower back problem...and THEN she tells me to do half push-ups and I did one and thought I was going to blow a disc in my upper spine. She said that was just my muscles that weren't used to working so hard. I told her no...I know where the pain is coming spine. It happens sometimes if I lift something too heavy, or bend funny, or twist to look over my shoulder when driving. I told her I was not doing any more "on-my-stomach" tricks." I bet they hate me.

I am tempted to just cancel this week's circus trick sessions and wait to see what the back doc says on Thursday. I don't trust these people.