Saturday, September 29, 2007

Chim-chimeneee, chim-chimeneee!

What's the deal with idiots getting themselves stuck in chimneys? I read in the news about yet another doofus having to be rescued after being stuck in a chimney for more than 12 hours. What in the world makes these people think they can actually climb up or down the narrow passageway of a chimney? Do they think they are Santa Claus?

Today's story is about a German man who had been drinking heavily at Munich's Oktoberfest beer festival got stuck in a chimney for 12 hours while trying to climb into a friend's apartment.

From Yahoo news: After finding his friend was not at home, the 27-year-old climbed on to the roof of a neighboring building at about 2 a.m. Thursday and headed for what he thought was a gap in the wall between the two houses.

He found himself sliding almost 30 meters (98 feet) head first into a chimney, a spokesman for Munich police said.

An 82-year-old janitor from the hotel next door eventually heard the man's calls for help and he was rescued at around 2 p.m. by fire brigade officers who knocked a hole into the side of the chimney to liberate him, the spokesman said.

He had managed to turn around and had removed his clothes to try to help him squeeze back up.

"Miraculously, he was only slightly injured in the fall, sustaining just grazes and bruising," police said. The man was taken by helicopter to the hospital, where he is being treated for hypothermia, they added.

If you do a Google search for "stuck in chimney" you can get a huge list of stories about people getting stuck in chimneys...male and female. Getting yourself stuck in a chimney has got to be one of the most stupid things I have ever heard of, yet it's pretty darn common.

This isn't just unique to here in the USA, it's a worldwide phenomenon! Here is what I found with a quick search:

Hayward Man Found Naked, Stuck In Chimney

Firefighters in Los Angeles have rescued a 20-year-old woman who was stuck in a chimney tonight.

Suspected burglar stuck in chimney

SoCal burglar who got stuck in chimney gets 2 years in prison

A 21-year-old alleged burglar got stuck in the chimney of a house in Yeoville, Johannesburg.

London: Pub intruder sees light after night stuck in chimney

Burglar fell down chimney

Man stuck in chimney later pelted with beer bottles by his now ex-girlfriend:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rush - Distant Early Warning

Another of my favorite bands of all time. From the Grace Under Pressure Tour. Geddy Lee is awesome:

Mr Mouse and my 15th birthday

I may have mentioned this before, but I collect mice. Not real ones, ceramic, glass and other types of sculpted mice. I have a couple hundred of them now and on display in a shadowbox that belonged to my grandmother. My first ceramic mouse that started the whole thing was given to me by my father. Its name is "Troubles" and he gave it to me when I was feeling sad, and frustrated.

My connection to artificial mice goes way back to when I was only 15 and my friends in high school took up a collection for my birthday and got me a giant stuffed purple mouse that I had to carry from class to class with me all day long. That was not a burden at all, because that mouse was a symbol to show that I HAD FRIENDS! That was one of my best birthdays. They brought me cards and gifts, paid for my lunch that day and gave me a corsage of flowers to wear on my dress. I wasn't very popular in school, and in fact was one of those who were frequently made fun of by the "cool" kids mainly for being too skinny, of all things! But, I still had loyal and fun friends and they were much nicer and kinder than any of those cool people.

Here is a photo of me with my grandparents after school that day in September 1969. (My grandma died a year later and is only 59 in this photo)
And here's the purple mouse my friends bought me that I had to carry from class to class:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nature's paintbrush

Each season has it's own beauty, and I think this autumn is going to be especially beautiful this year because of the large amount of rain we had all spring and summer. Changes in the leaves are just getting underway, but the colors are more brilliant than they have been in a long, long time. The trees in this photo are near our town's village hall. As you can see, the colors are very vibrant reds. I plan to take many more photos as I am able to get out and about (I am a nerd and take my camera everywhere), and then will post them as I get them uploaded.

Motorhead - Sacrifice

INCREDIBLE kick-ass drum solo!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Running with Scissors

I just finished watching this film while Jon is out playing basketball on the 50+ team.

I knew from reading the book that this was going to be a "dark" movie. It's amusing and disturbing at the same time. There isn't one character who is completely sane, and most of the characters are downright psychotic. Each character exhibits bits and pieces of insanity that we, ourselves might find ourselves experiencing at some time in our lives...all rolled into a small cast in a short amount of time.

You have to keep an open mind when watching this film, and have to pay close attention. It's not a film you can sit and flip through a magazine while watching at the same time.

The book is much better and hard to believe that it is a true memoir of Augusten Burrough's bizarre and freaky life. His mother is a total nutcase, his father abandons them both and finds a young woman to marry. The shrink his mother gets involved with is a real fruitcake, nutter. The wife of the shrink may be the most sane, and most sad of all the characters as she tries to maintain some semblance of sanity in a house full of crazies.

I don't think Jon would like this flick and I would say that it is more of a literary person's film. One who likes to analyze and think about it long after watching it. I give it three stars.


One of the best things to come out of this medically necessary diet is that I am getting THINNER! Since I have been home from the hospital, each time I get on the scale I find that I have lost another pound! Just maintaining a low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium, low sugar diet is most likely the reason for the weight loss. And also the fact that I am more and more physically active as each day passes. I used to be rail thin when I was a kid and teenager. I don't want to go back to those "underweight" days where I looked like a skeleton, but being very lean would be awesome. I have only 15 pounds to go to the doctor goal weight and would like to go down ten more after that, so have 25 pounds left to the weight I wish to achieve and maintain. I have gone down THREE sizes since February, and nearly ready to go down one more. I wasn't as overweight as many people are, but I encourage those who are overweight to buy a diet journal and keep track of everything you eat or drink, and then the exercise or activities you do each day. Once you see it written down, you can see what you need to change or why you are not losing weight. Much of the time it is simply that people don't want to give up tasty is fun, tasty and a comfort . . . and food can be an addiction. I have heard this from overweight friends that they tried and just can't lose no matter what. Sometimes there are medical conditions that cause obesity, but then that is all the more reason to count the calories and not just give up and use that as an excuse not to try. Once in the habit of eating well, the desire for the food that is bad for us vanishes. I no longer get cravings for cheeseburgers or pizza, or Nachos Bell Grande, however, I keep a little tin of York mini chocolate mints for those chocolate cravings and letting a little ten calorie one of those melt in my mouth slowly takes care of that.

I am not allowing myself to slip back into bad eating. Obesity, even mild obesity, can cause so many medical problems, and is hard on the joints, and makes any chronic medical conditions worse. I will soon be starting a yoga and deep breathing routine, and today will start walking outdoors again, despite the pain in my feet. I hope the Rheumatologist at the university hospital has some new ideas about management of that, but with the strict diet at least I have a head start on at trying to make that better.

I am trying to get hubby to eat better. He isn't obese or excessively overweight, but has a large belly like most aging men have and I don't like the idea of all that around his middle and don't want him to have a heart attack. He has been eating what I prepare, however, he has to follow up with a two-liter bottle of Pepsi or some other carbonation, several slices of cheese at a sitting, he eats cream cheese straight from the package, he eats peanut butter and jelly with a spoon, eats chips, jelly beans and all kinds of snack foods when there are bananas, nectarines, plums and apples in the kitchen. He is a recreational eater and loves food. With as active as he is, if he stuck to a strictly low fat, low sodium diet, I bet the man would lose 50 pounds in a short amount of time...and he would have no problem fitting into the "clown car" he wants. LOL! (sorry know I am teasing.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Clown car

This is the car hubby is seriously considering buying when it comes on the market here in the USA in January 'o8. When I was talking to my daughter on the phone and told her too look up what her father wanted to buy to drive to work, she started laughing. She said "he isn't going to fit in that!" I agree. The man is 6'4" and 250 lbs! Knowing how he likes to prove us wrong, my bet is that he is going to squeeze himself into one just to show us.

I am all for him getting whatever car he wants, but I would like him to get something safer than this clown car. He had been talking about getting a Mini Cooper. I wasn't thrilled about that, but now that seems like a luxury sedan compared to this little toy. Maybe if everyone here drove small cars like in Europe it would be safer, but with all the SUVS, trucks, vans, and all kinds of large vehicles driving at high rates of speed, is this car really safe to drive on our roads? He got rid of his motorcycle years ago because he considered it to be unsafe to drive in traffic. Why is this little thing any different.

That time of year again

I like to sit outside on my deck on my swing and since I have been home and recovering, it's nice to get outside in the fresh air. However, it's that time of year again where the pesky fall bees are aggressively trying to collect as much yummies as they can before they need to hibernate for winter.

I watered my plants and parked myself on my wooden swing, and it wasn't five seconds before a couple of these little buggers were swarming at my head. I swatted them away, but they came back a bit perturbed. They probably liked my soap or body lotion, and I must try to remember not to use that until bedtime if I want to have any kind of outdoor activity this time of year.

I remember the days when our kids were in marching band and during fall parades we parents who were chaperones and marched along with them on the sidelines had to carry sticks of benadryl to rub on any bee stings that occurred, and there was always at least one person who got stung.

When I see the bees each autumn, it always brings to mind a funny incident that happened with some good friends of ours back in our young and crazy days when Jon and I were first married. Joe and Terri lived with us for about three months while he was in Chicago doing training with his company. We didn't have kids at the time, and were practically kids ourselves and had quite a lot of fun back in those days, and did some really crazy things sometimes. Well, we decided to go hiking and on a picnic at Starved Rock one weekend and along the way we picked up a bucket of KFC and took a bunch of other food. When we got to Starved Rock, we found a nice picnic table under some trees in an open area where a cool breeze blew. No bees were to be seen until we set all the food out on the table and sat down to eat. Then there were a couple of bees, and a couple more. They were crawling into our pop cans, and into the food that we tried to keep covered. We were swatting and batting at them, trying to make them go away. Finally Joe, who was the craziest of all of us, began attacking and killing the bees with his chicken legs. It was funny at the time. I guess you had to be there.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cleaning up in the "aftermath"

It happens every time I am out of commission. The house goes to pot. I am not a picky housekeeper. I don't even like housework or anything domestic, but I don't like to live in squalor either so it has to be done to maintain a certain level of cleanliness.

I don't know how such a mess can happen in a two-week time span. There is smooge everywhere! I am baffled at how two grown men can make such a mess in just two weeks when both work full-time and have far distances to drive to and from work, and one of them was up at the hospital visiting me in his free time.

Since I am able to get up and around to do stuff again, the things that have taken priority is cleaning up the aftermath of two males living alone without a woman present for not a very long time, but long enough for things to get sticky, dusty, goopy, crumby, messy and even downright dirty. How do bachelors ever survive?

It's all so easily maintainable if that "later" word wasn't stuck in their heads. When you make a sandwich, or anything for yourself and others to eat, wipe up right away while the food particles are easy to clean up. Then eat. It only delays your meal a few seconds and you don't have to scrub encrusted crap off the countertops and floor later. But the guys can't seem to grasp that. And do they go back and scrub it off later? Of course not. They are too busy surfing the net or channel flipping on the television and then when they see the smooge that has concreted itself it's bedtime and they do need that few minutes it would take to clean up their mess to build up strength to get up for work the next day.

Then, the next day they just compound the problem by making more food on top of the old food and it builds and builds. Then when I am well, it is up to me to spend days and even a couple of weeks getting things scrubbed, cleaned, dusted and sanitized and back to normal.

The other thing I finally got a grip on were the piles (which I have written about before). There were piles of unopened mail, most of it junk. There were piles of paid bill receipts, and every kitchen towel was used and dirty and thrown in piles around the kitchen and diningroom. Piles of newspapers, piles of sale papers, piles of blankets, clothes, and HOUSEHOLD TOOLS are still everywhere from his water heater ordeal.

So, that is what I am up to as part of my recovery exercises....housecleaning and restoration of some kind of order around here. What would they ever do if I left for good?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Medical update and other things

(photo by D. Bowden "Autumn Sunset")

Well, went to the doctor for my follow-up yesterday and all is going well with the surgical healing. Stitches are healing and starting to get tight and pull, and those internal twinges of healing are annoying but good signs.

However, as I come down off the Prednisone, the joint pain of the gout, and RA is returning, which is very disappointing because as much as I was in pain from the other stuff, having relief of joint pain was great. Now, after being pretty much pain free in the joints and feet, it's all coming back. It would be nice if we could stay on Prednisone indefinitely, because it is much more effective than even the strongest pain relievers. My swelling in my leg was down, but is coming back too. Because I am coming off the Prednisone. It sucks.

So, here's the scoop...after all the hot tub ordeals, I can't even use it! He said not at all for six weeks (it isn't working yet anyway), BUT may not be able to use it at all because of my problem with irregular heartbeat, and also the sodium sensitivity/water metabolism problem I have. The doctor said if I sit in a hot tub I could rapidly dehydrate, and then water would be sucked from the heart and brain causing me to pass out or worse. SO, I am afraid to ever use it now. I asked about hubby's high blood pressure and should he use it, and the doctor said he didn't like hot tubs and though the hot tub may help Jon's bad knees and muscle tension, it may not been good for his heart. He insists he will be fine with it. Maybe I can stick my poor feet in it, but I am afraid now to put the whole body in there.

Then, I have to see the gastro guy about the ulcers. Have to stay on meds for that for a few months. But that is just a little thing and I would never have known I had ulcers if they hadn't done the scope thing. Oh well.

Then I have to see a new Rheumatologist and get the gout and RA under good treatment...and then will go downtown to see this Endocrinologist about the water/sodium metabolism problem and find out why I swell up like a balloon and fill up with fluid. But have to recover from that and get readings back into the normal range or near normal before dealing with another thing. My uric acid levels are rising again (the gout) and the liver enzymes are still a bit high, so have to get those things controlled before we start treating something else because these readings may not give accurate test results for the other problem.

I have to also do a follow-up with the lung dude and cardiologist.

Anyway, regardless...I have been taking walks outside. I hate going shopping with hubby because he doesn't let me look. Right now I really shouldn't be shopping very long, and I know he is using that as an excuse to get in and out, but he could let me look around a little. Went to Target for prescriptions and I was wandering up and down the soap and health product aisles but after I got the prescription I wanted to go "look" and he said "no, you don't want to overdo it." grrrrr! He is more using that as an excuse not to hang around in a store so I can spend money.

I decided since I have all this free time, I am going to put together my stories and edit them, add to them and get together a collection of short stories to see if I can get it published. I have so much stuff that I've written over the years. It's in boxes, on computer disks, floppies, CDs. All over the place. People keep telling me I should publish my stuff, and I know they are right but I keep procrastinating.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bee Gees - Night Fever (live, 1997)

The Brothers Gibb perform a short version of the Saturday Night Fever title song 'Night Fever'. During their One Night Only tour at the MGM Grand at Las Vegas.

Remembering Maurice
I Started A Joke

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Uma is right in her comment to a previous post, "Hot showers are the small things you begin to enjoy again in life." This is so true! It was absolutely wonderful! Jon got the water heater going and is all pleased with himself about that and he is our hero. When we have to go without simple things for awhile, it makes us appreciate them that much more.

Now off to la-la land and hopefully a blissful night's sleep.

Still no hot water

I am trying not to be bitchy. He keeps saying "tomorrow, tomorrow" (his theme song in life should be "Tomorrow" from the Annie play). He worked on the plumbing to get this thing going and I have my plush towels and body wash ready for a long and steamy shower and then when he was finished last night with the last pipe I heard him groan a long groan "ohhhhhh maaaaaaaan!" It was not a groan from tiredness. It was a suffering groan because he had put in the waterpipes BACKWARDS. Pipe dyslexia. I took another sponge bath before bed, lathered on nice smelling lotion and tried not to bitch because I know he is trying. And this thing is supposed to save us $200 a year on hot water bills. It only runs when the hot water tap is running and no pilot light so when we go on vacation, no water is heated. It is "instantaneously" heated as it is used. Hopefully after he corrects the piping tonight the damn thing will run.

No hot water is to be found here except when we heat it on the stove.

Farewell Pavarotti

Monday, September 17, 2007

Remaining optimistic

In addition to all the hospital fiasco, there was also a catastrophe at home. The water heater broke and peed 40 gallons of water all over the basement. That happened a few days before my surgery, and hubby and son have been taking cold showers this whole time.

If he would have gone and just gotten a replacement water heater like the one we had, it would have been installed in a couple of hours. But no. Hubby likes to make challenges for himself. He has read about these tankless water heaters awhile ago and had said he would like to get one when the old one bit the dust. So when the old water heater "gave up the ghost", he was excited to get the new-fangled tankless contraption and install it himself. (Uh-oh) We all know from the hot tub updates how things go when he does things himself. (No, the hot tub is still NOT working.)

I have been taking sponge baths since going in the hospital on August 29th. I am dying for a hot shower. I got brave the third day home when I needed to go to the doctor to have a bit of a breathing problem checked out and so desperate for clean hair I wrapped my body in a shower curtain and stuck my head into a cold shower. I thought my head could tolerate it. WRONG! I got the soap in, but could not stand it long enough to get the soap out, and the pain from my stitches made it really difficult. Hubby had to take me into the kitchen and rinse my hair with pans of water heated on the stove. He was planning to have it done by yesterday. But like I said, things with him rarely follow a deadline. I DO feel sorry for him doing all this work, a sick wife to deal with, long work hours during the week managing a plant and supervising idiot and lazy people, and then coming home after an hour and a half drive to work on plumbing. BUT like the hot tub, it's his own doing. He could have bought three regular water heaters in place of this complex tankless thing that required a hole be cut into the house, firewall installed and chimney exhaust. He petered out last night while looking for his zippo cutting tool, whatever that is.

So, still stand up baths, and I am HOPING he gets the thing going today so I can take a wonderfully long, long shower and wash my hair appropriately. I can't wait.

I am doing better. It's hard when one has no helpers around and I can't blame anyone because everyone has jobs. My boys and other family members have jobs. Jon has to work. It is forcing me to get up and move sooner, though. I take it easy. Lay down when I need to and just be careful. He has been good about doing the shopping, which is another chore for him to do, and he picks things up as I need them. I just know that he is just going to collapse one day and not be able to move.

I made dinner last night for the first time. It was a one-pan thing so very easy and microwaved rice to go with. It feels good to be coming back to the world of normalcy.

My motivation to get better is to be able to drive my son Jeff and his fiancee' Whitney's new bright yellow GTO. I had an old 1968 GTO to drive to work when hubby and I were first married in 1975 in Arkansas when he was in the Air Force. He let me drive it to work. I speeded through the curving, hilly roads and down the expressway and loved the "power" of the engine. It was awesome with the hideaway headlights, reverb stereo, gold metallic paintjob with cream-colored vinyl roof and leather seats. I LOVED that car. 450 engine. Mag wheels, jacked up in the back and glasspacks. Sweet! Jeff and Whitney's little yellow GTO is smaller than that muscle car we had, but it's still a muscle car and he says once I am able to drive again I can take her out on the expressway. :-D

Friday, September 14, 2007

Two weeks too long

On August 29th I found myself going to the ER with irregular heartbeat and pain, pain, pain in the region of the gallbladder, in my back and shoulder. After getting the heartbeat straightened out, and a scan of the gallbladder was done it was diagnosed that I had a practically non-functioning gallbladder except to cause me bilary colic and one of the "fill in" doctors covering for my regular doctor said that I would have to have it taken out. Then the surgery was scheduled for two days later. I would just have to suffer a couple of days. THEN the irregular heartbeat was continuing again and a lung specialist was called in. After lung scans, it was found that I had a large amount of fluid on my lungs and surgery was postponed. The lung dude removed the fluid the following day with a long, long needled that is inserted between the ribs and fluid drawn out. He removed a quart and a half of fluid from my right lung! If I hadn't seen the bag I would not have believed it at all. My breathing was better, but the gallbladder pain was intense. I couldn't eat, I didn't want to do anything. And just to make things more interesting, a gastroenterologist did endoscopy and found I had several ulcers, one big one and several smaller. They were hoping that was the cause of my pain, but they should really carry a diagram of the body because the pain was NOT in that area. They were not listening to me, and that was quite frustrating. They just don't listen to the patient.

My main doctor is in a medical group of doctors that have an agreement to cover for each other so they can have lots more time off for golf or whatever the hell they do in their free time. So, you never see the same doctor more than once a week. I understand they have families, etc. but seeing your main doctor twice in a two week stay is totally ridiculous. And seeing six doctors, twice each is lame. No one knows what is going on, no one knows me, really. No one can get to know my case. So, I lay there while one day one doctor said they were going to send me home to come back three weeks later for gallbladder surgery even though I lay there in a number 10 pain unable to eat or sleep. Then the specialists all concluded it was ok to go to surgery but the surgeon was not convinced I would not die on the table and so I called in another surgeon for a second opinion. My husband was going completely apeshit. That added some unnecessary tension because if the dumbass doctors would just LISTEN to us, that I had similar symptoms in 1987, and found some weird growths and adhesions back then, then we could have gotten the show on the road.

Finally, my lung doctor called in a consultant in critical care and he said he thought the problem was the gallbladder...NO DUH! They scheduled surgery finally, and what they found was a very constricted gallbladder which was inbedding itself into my liver. My pancreas was stuck to my stomach (all from adhesions and scar tissue from my '87 surgery). That all removed, and the gallbladder removed, the intense pain was finally gone, and now am on Prednisone for healing (which is also making this bout of gout disappear, too). I am having a bit of a breathing problem, which will be cured soon, hopefully....if Larry, Moe, Curly, Joe and Fred can get their shit together. Otherwise, I am heading for a university hospital in Chicago.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Medical problem

Well, you never know what will come up in life and you know it would take a lot to keep me from blogging! I went to the ER on August 29th and ended up spending 15 days in the hospital and had many tests it was found that I had several problems going on at once and had surgery on Monday and now am back home to get some sleep. I hope to feel up to posting again real soon.