Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gout and Richmond, Va heat and humidity

I would never, ever, ever, never choose to live in the south. I know that Richmond isn't THAT far south, but enough to have some humongous bugs, as well as ungodly heat and humidity. It was very nice to visit Richmond in the springtime with the flower scents in the air and green buds everywhere, but mid-August in Richmond is another story. Some might call it "uncomfortable", but I call it miserable! Especially when one is suffering from gout!

Yes, the gout attack is still with me despite stopping a diuretic I was taking, and watching my diet even more closely than before. It's the kind of pain that makes you feel worn out after awhile. A nagging, nasty pain like little sharp chards of glass that cut when the joint is moved even ever so slightly. So, didn't do a whole lot while at our daughter's. She and my husband drove up to Philly to get her stuff out of a house she hardly lived in last year, to move to this new house we hope she will be spending some time at this coming year, and hopefully will be here for awhile and not moving for at least a couple of years. But the life of a musician is unpredictable and one never knows where they will end up, or what audition they might win to take them someplace else in the USA ...or even overseas.

So, I got to spend some time alone, all by myself along with Doggie, the cat. No television, no computer, and lousy phone signal. Nice and quiet. Me and my book, and writing journal. I could have stayed that way for about a month. It was so peaceful. Even after my daughter and husband got back, and got all the moving in done, it was peaceful. We moved at a slow pace. Got food from the local grocery store each day and bought what we felt like eating meal to meal. Our daughter has a/c so didn't have to sweat. I went outdoors sometimes, but only for a short little walk around her backyard gardens, fed the fish in the fish pond and then went back inside to coolness.

The days seemed to fly by and we found ourselves once again driving down the highway, fighting traffic and stupid drivers. It might be my imagination, but drivers out east seem more rude and ignorant than midwesterners. They are touchy, rude, and have this "me first" attitude and are quite impatient, laying on the horn if you don't move the instant the light changes from red to green. We ran into a rain storm through D.C. and it was like everyone's brains fell out. Almost everyone put on their flashers and slowed to a snails pace. Never see anything like that here in Chicagoland. Some people do lose their common sense when precipitation of any sort falls from the skies, but out east it seems to be nearly EVERYONE who gets stupid in bad weather. I could still see the lines on the road and I am half blind, so it wasn't that bad to slow down that much and there definitely wasn't the need for flashers, and pulling off onto the shoulder as if we were in a North Dakota blizzard. It was just a hard rain.

It seemed to take forever to get home. It seems like since gas prices went up MORE people are on the road. Is that my imagination, too? Anyway, we made it back safely, and there is no place like home. I love my home and it would be great to get rid of the television, computer and phone for a few days at a time here. I will have to try to figure out how to do that once in awhile.

Monday, August 27, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

I'm back and will be posting something soon.

No matter where I go, or what cool places and people I see, there is NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
I love my home.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On the road again . . .

Off to help our daughter move from one city to another. This is her umpteenth move in the 7 years she has lived on her own. Should be back on Monday. I have a housesitter, and several blogsitters who are watching over things in the real world and in the blogosphere. Since we are traveling again, and where we are going is incredibly hot, I thought some vintage Canned Heat was fitting...Have a great weekend everybody! Stay cool!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fly problem

This is like something from a Stephen King novel. We are being plagued with flies...INSIDE our house, even though all the windows and doors are kept shut and the a/c is on continuously. I don't know how they are getting in but yesterday I must have killed twenty of the little f-ers and there was more today! They are all by the patio door behind the vertical blinds. The house is clean, no meat wrappers in the garbage, no food laying around and there is nothing for them to want to go after. Even my Beardie dragon's tank is nice and clean.

So WHY do they keep coming and where are they being "born"? Maybe a dead mouse in the wall? I would smell something, wouldn't I? I checked outside under the deck and nothing there. I checked in the basement and nothing there that would attract maggots or flies. And why only by the patio doors in the diningroom? I have tried spraying RAID, and washing the glass, and the floor and the vent that is right there. I just don't get it. It's quite a disgusting and creepy dilemma to have to deal with. We are supposed to leave in the morning to go out east for a few days and while our son will be here, he isn't the spiffiest of housekeepers, and he isn't going to be as diligent about killing the damn things as I am. If anyone has any ideas before tomorrow, please leave a comment. Thanks.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rain rain go away

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I was woken up this morning by the sound of thunderbolts crashing down around the house. The rain sounded as if the skies opened, dumping the entire water from Lake Michigan onto us. A deluge of water.

The power had gone out sometime before I got up and came back on. I knew this because the digital clocks on appliances were 00.00 and blinking. The internet was also screwed up which happens each and every time we have a lightning storm. It takes several attempts before things are functioning again, and a couple of calls to Comcast to have them reset the modem connection there. They told me my router was fried and to connect directly, which I did. That worked, but when I attempted to reconnect the router, it didn't work. I tried it again and saw a little spark come from the place where the power plugs into the modem. I had to do this several times before it finally started working. Must be some kind of short in the router that is causing our problems lately. I am ready to bet money on it.

My big toe is throbbing today. Probably because of the rainy weather, and the fact that I finished off the chili we made for dinner night before last. We didn't make it with salt, but the tomatoes do something to me that makes my joint pain worse. I LOVE tomatoes, so this is very hard. It's getting to the point were I am going to be on a baby food diet. :-( I can't eat most of the things I used to enjoy...chocolate, tomatoes, pizza, french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, tacos and nachos. I can eat oatmeal with no problems. I had some low sodium, low fat cream of mushroom soup over Healthy Life toast yesterday. I can eat most veggies with no problem. I can eat salads with limited amounts of dressing and tomatoes.

Back to the rain...there is a stream flowing across the back of our lot, and there wasn't one there before. I look out and can see a "lake" behind the houses across the street towards the soccer fields. Our sump pump is running non-stop. Our pool is overflowing from the top and I would like to go out there and drain some out, but it just keeps coming down from the skies and there hasn't been any letting up to allow me to do so.

The grass is a nice kelly green, and the flowers' thirst is very well-quenched, but I think enough is enough and would be nice to see the sunshine again.

I am trying to figure out where these flies are coming from. Last night there were three flies in Miller's tank, freaking her out. My Beardie is cowardly when it comes to insects, and she can't stand even if a gnat gets into her tank. One fly was a fluorescent silvery, another was bluish and another one bottle-green. I killed them all. I don't like killing things and feel very sorry when I do...except for flies, roaches and centipedes. I have no remorse about killing any of those critters. I don't feel bad about ants either. I usually spare the lives of spiders, wasps, bees, etc if possible.

I am trying to hobble up and down the stairs to do laundry for our upcoming trip. We are planning to go help our daughter move her stuff from a house she barely lived in in Philadelphia and move to her new place she is renting near Richmond. She has moved every single year since left to go away to school in 2000. And each and every year my husband insists on helping her move. He wants to help. He likes to be needed. And he can't stand to see the kids squander money, even if they are adults now and living on their own.

So, a long drive is ahead of us again. But it will be good to see our daughter again, see where she lives and what her new place looks like. Hope the weather and my toe cooperates.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hubby makes chili...from scratch!

I was visiting my sister today, and hubby went to the movies to see Harry Potter with my son and his friend. I didn't want to see Harry Potter because I found the first two dreadfully boring. I don't even remember what happened in them, but I do remember my butt was numb and I spent the whole two hours squirming and waiting for it to be over with. But he enjoyed it. It must be a guy movie because all the guys I know like Harry Potter and most females I know find it uninteresting and dull.

So, I went to visit my sister instead. Had a nice salad lunch with her and her little grandson. He is so cute. A little blondie with big blue eyes and looks both like his mommy and his daddy. He is so well-behaved too. At nap time he went into the closet where his toys are, and got his little blanket and went and climbed up on my sister's bed and went right to sleep! I don't know how his parents got him to do this. My kids always protested nap time when they were little. But all my sister's grandkids crawl willingly into bed for their afternoon naps.

After the movie, hubby went to the grocery store and got all the fixin's for chili. He got fresh tomatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, celery and hamburger. He had it all started when I got home. He chopped the veggies, browned the beef, and I added the spices. It was very delicious. He does like to cook when he has the time. I am not big on cooking, though I can...and do. There is enough chili to last the next couple of days, so neither one of us has to cook.

Then we will be leaving to go out east to help our daughter move. She has moved every year for the past 7 years and Jon insists on helping her each time. He wants to make sure there are no problems, and make sure she is settled in and things are alright. He also wants to make sure she doesn't get ripped off moneywise. He got a hitch to put on our van so we can rent a U-haul trailer to save her a bunch of money on truck rental. We should be able to fit everything in the van and trailer. We shall see. I hope she stays put for longer this time.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My third time seeing CATS

I love Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS. This past week I took my mom to see it for her birthday. She had heard excerpts from it, and seen clips, but had never seen the whole thing before. This was my third time seeing it and I enjoyed it as much as the first time I saw it at the Shubert Theater in downtown Chicago. The second time I saw it was with my sister when we drove out to Fort Wayne, IN to see it. Here are a couple of YouTubes with my favorite parts:

Memory - Elaine Paige

Best of CATS (This is the first version I saw at the Shubert...it is hard to top this cast.)

Doctor visits

Yesterday I had to don one of these lovely garments in order to have some xrays taken and will be wearing one a few more times in the next couple of weeks for medical tests. Boo hiss. I really hate doctor crap and try to avoid going if at all possible. When pain sets in, I am more willing to go. This happened with my big toe a couple nights ago. I have had these bouts of big toe pain a few times over the past few years and it's horrible. It's a hot pain, like someone put broken glass into my toe joint and trying to move the toe is unbearable during a flare-up and can't even touch it even slightly.

When the pain subsides, then it's like birth pains and quickly forgotten about. This time it's not so quick to subside and handfuls of Ibuprofen and Tylenol has not helped. I also have had an increase in joint pain. I really try not to complain about it because no one wants to hear about people's medical problems. And it does nothing at all to complain about it, so I basically just roll with it and deal with it by trying to distract myself with other things. But this toe this time was not to be ignored. The other night I could have cried like a baby, and I RARELY cry. I know lots of people cry at the drop of a hat or the slightest emotion, but it takes a lot to bring me to tears.

So, I called the doctor and got an appointment rather quickly. He says my problem is GOUT! I asked him "Isn't that an old man's disease?" and he said it affects men more often than women, but is not strictly a man's disease. It can strike anyone. Wonderful. In addition to the RA this is just wonderful (I say that sarcastically.) I had to come completely off my Triamterene HCTZ because that could be what is inducing the gout. I have been on this medication for a number of years and it's finally starting to cause trouble. The drugs they give you for one thing, always affects something else sooner or later.

Now I have even more diet restrictions and this is getting to be challenging to find stuff I can eat. We are supposed to go on the road again in a couple of weeks and what and where when it comes to food for me is going to be difficult. Low salt, low protein, low sugar, low fat, low carb..geesh!

I had to go get x-rays of my foot and toe even though we know it is gout, he probably just wants to cover his own ass and make 100% sure the joint isn't broken or have some kind of other problem. Had to put on a little gown just to take an x-ray of my FOOT. I think they just like to put you through extra hassle to amuse themselves or something. I also had a vampire woman take four vials of blood out of my arm. Then had to go get a urine sample which required me to walk past a waiting area of people with this cup to go to the bathroom, and then carry it back through the crowd to return it to the lab people. What happened to the little private doors to put the sample into??? Things are not very discreet like they used to be.

So, now am waiting for the results to see if I have Lupus or not. They are double checking the RA as well, which is what I was originally diagnosed with when I was in my late 30s. I am glad this crap has affected my feet instead of my hands because I love to blog, write, draw.

While the doctor had me in there, he asked "when was your last mammogram"? Great. I knew he would catch on to that eventually. It has been several years since I have had a mammogram or been to a gynecologist. I can't even remember the year. He gave me an order for a mammogram and I have to call and have it scheduled, which I didn't do yesterday, and should do it today. I know I should. It's been a long time. It will most likely show nothing and all that squeezing and torture will be for nothing...which is good if it is nothing. I try to rationalize my way out of it but I know deep down that it is important for women to have regular mammograms and gyne checkups.

The doc gave me a prescription for Mobic. 15 mgs once a day. While on this medicine I have to be monitored frequently, which means more time spent in the doctor's waiting room and office.
After two doses, I don't feel a big difference yet. I will give it some time and maybe after I get more into my system it will start working. The Darvocet he gave me for nighttime is great. Last night was the first time in weeks that I slept through the night without waking up with something hurting! I will use that sparingly, however. Hopefully the Mobic will kick in soon.

Ahhh, I should have taken better care of myself and exercised more when I was younger.

No, the hot tub is still not fixed

The picture here isn't of my husband, but it's pretty much what I have been seeing of him when he is home anymore. There have been just too many things for him to fix, and I feel sorry for him on one hand because he tries so hard to keep up with it all and can't even relax when he is home. On the other hand, he brings much on himself because he wants to save money and do things himself. I can understand this, since if he can do it, why go into debt for these things. However, on the other hand, if he is so busy fixing stuff we never will be able to enjoy things whereas if we just buy it, when we die our insurance money will pay off the bill...but in the meantime we will have enjoyed things we want to enjoy. He's a stubborn stubborn man. Won't even give a neighborhood kid $10 to mow the lawn. *eye roll*

Since I last wrote about this subject, the hot tub still stands on its side in the garage waiting for yet more parts to be replaced. The parts have come in, but hubby is working too many hours and has too many other things to do lately that he hasn't had the time to get to it. And I really could use it right now since I am having a big arthritic flare-up and the hot bubbling water would feel so good right now. I would just go in the bathtub and soak if the darn plug wasn't broken. Our bathtub has one of those metal contraption-type plugs where you push up a lever and the mechanism inside comes up from inside the neck of the drain and blocks off so the water doesn't go down. That somehow came apart and we have a one-piece wall/tub made of fiberglass so can't be cutting into that. We thought the idea of a one-piece tub would be great when we built the house, never considering what would happen if things inside the wall needed fixing. Oh well, hindsight is always 20/20, as the saying goes.

Speaking of eyesight, I went to the ophthalmologist (took me a long time to learn to spell that correctly), and had a thorough eye exam. My vision has been very blurry and difficult to focus even to watch television. Fortunately, I don't have any major problems with my eyes and I just need a prescription change in one part of my progressive lenses. One thing that seems to be standard nowdays is the dilation of the pupils. They put drops of this yellow crap in your eyes and then let you sit there for a few minutes to allow time for your pupils to open so the doctor can shine bright lights in there and take a look inside. Usually, pupils return to normal size after a couple hours. Mine didn't normalize for HOURS afterwards! Jon and I went to get something to eat afterwards and I had to wear the sunglasses even in the restaurant because the sun coming in the windows bugged me. Then when we got home four hours later, my eyes still looked alien! I couldn't look at my computer screen or the television or even read a book. Finally, around 9 I just went to bed and went to sleep. The next morning, my eyes returned to normal and all was back to the usual bouts of blurriness that I am familiar with. I will go get my new prescription next month when I start working again and have the money. Lenses alone cost about as much as buying a whole new pair of glasses, so I might get new frames too. I am reluctant to change frames and get new ones.

The things I like shopping for the least are shoes, purses, coats and glasses. Oh...and household appliances. These things are all necessary, but no fun to shop for IMO. My favorite things to shop for are books, notebooks, writing paper, stickers, pens, art supplies, and journals to write in. Give me $1,000 to spend any way I want and I will take it to Border's or Michael's in a heartbeat.

So, back to the topic of the hot tub. After he gets the new parts in, then he will have to try to round up our sons and one of their friends to help put the thing back down AGAIN. I think this is the fourth time of doing this. Our oldest son pointed out that the more often this is done, the more the chance increases of someone getting hurt in the process. I hope this time it does the trick.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

KC and the Sunshine Band

This song was played over, and over, and over, and over again the first year we were married and living in Arkansas near Little Rock AFB where hubby was stationed at the time. Music back then was fun to sing along with and fun to dance to.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The year before I got married . . . 1974

My hunny...who I am now married to used to sing along with this..."Woooman, take me in your arms...rock your baby!" Oh, yeah!

"Look for the Silver Lining" - Judy Garland

These videos always make me think of my Grandma.

As I wash my dishes, I'll be following a plan,
Till I see the brightness in ev'ry pot and pan.
I am sure this point of view will ease the daily grind,
So I'll keep repeating in my mind.

Look for the silver lining
When e'er a cloud appears in the blue.
Remember somewhere, the sun is shining
And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you.

A heart, full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life.

So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life.

As originally written by Jerome Kern

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Bridge collapse

Whenever I am stopped in my car on a bridge or overpass, and feel it moving up and down ever so slightly as traffic goes by in the opposite lanes, I get the jeebies. I always think to myself "I hope it's sturdy...I hope it doesn't fall down", then today I see this on the news where a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed and spilling cars to the Mississippi River and the ground below. This is also a highway we once took when we went out west to Montana, passing through Minnesota on the way there and on the way back.

How often are these bridges inspected? Or was someone supposed to inspect it and didn't do their job? This is just awful and I am going to be even more squeamish about going over these crappy bridges or sitting on them in traffic for any length of time. I also don't like sitting underneath overpasses. I look up and hope it's strong enough to support all the traffic going overhead. Or those train overpasses where these huge train engines and big long train of loaded boxcars rattles along. Many of the train overpasses in our area are old, probably older than I am.

Anyway, it's a real shame. These people just driving along going from point A to point B and boom, boom, boom...just like that.