Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is fun, but I hate trick or treat

I have admitted before that I am a Halloween Scrooge when it comes to trick-or-treating. Not many people stop to actually think what they are encouraging their kids to say. "Trick or Treat" is an ultimatum, a threat. It means, "if you don't give us candy, we are going to do some kind of trick to you" and some kids actually follow through with the trick (eggs smashed on your house or cars, toilet paper in your bushes, soap on your windows...or worse sometimes) if you don't hand over the goods (or if your candy isn't to their liking).

Don't get me wrong, I am not against Halloween, itself. I think dressing up to be someone or something else is fun. It's FUN to pretend, and to play out a fun fantasy, and enjoy choosing and wearing a costume, scarying each other in harmless fun, eating taffy apples and drinking cider, parties, scary movies, and all that. It's just the door-to-door crap and running around in the streets that I am against. It's not even safe with all the perverts and creeps in the world, many of them who look like an average law-abiding citizen.

Anyway, that's my rant about trick or treating.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I could never wear a coat made from the fur of this little guy

This isn't my year . . .

As if all the other crap I have been going through wasn't enough, I pulled my back out. I had back surgery in 2004 to remove part of a disc that had blown in my lower back and had been doing really well the past couple of years with very little back pain to complain about.

My back trouble started several years ago when I worked as an editor for a college newspaper. Then later, I worked as a writer and then graphic artist...and then used the computer a lot at home in addition to the working time I spend sitting in front of a computer screen. The years of slouching in a chair finally took their toll. One day I simply bent over slightly to put something into a hamper and BOING! I blew a disc and the sciatic pain was HORRIBLE. I nearly collapsed to the floor when that happened and good thing my son was right there so he could help me walk to a chair.

I ended up having part of a disc removed and was sent to weeks and weeks of therapy. Recovery from that surgery was difficult and seemed to take forever, BUT I recovered and haven't had a problem till recently. It's stupid that this is happening after I lost a bunch of weight.

I was feeling energetic the other day and so decided to start sorting through the boxes of crap in the basement and start getting rid of stuff we will never use again. I went through only six boxes, and collected a huge bag of trash. I took some things to the recycle bin, then went back downstairs and tied up the big bag and dragged it up the stairs and outside. My back felt a bit sore afterwards, but nothing went BOING and I didn't think anything of it. I then got a cup of coffee, and sat down at the diningroom table and wrote a letter. I started to get up from the table and I felt resistance...pain. Not a BOING, but almost. I know my limits now of where to stop before the BOING happens. I have been hobbling around trying to prevent a BOING from happening, and so when I went for my appointment with my rheumatologist yesterday I asked her if she could do something about it...nope. She said I had to go see my back doctor.

I called the back doctor and they said the earliest they could get me in was November 8th. I told them that was so long, and asked if they didn't have anything sooner seeing that I am in a lot of discomfort. They said if it was that bad, to go to the emergency room! No frickin' way. I am not going to go lay on a gurney for hours and hours in an emergency room with a bad back. Those gurney's hurt a healthy back, and just the thought of being stuck there on one with a bad back is torturous enough! So, I phoned my regular doctor, and they said to come in around two.

I went over there, and ended up parking a million miles away. I hobbled all the way in, and then waited in the waiting room and by then the pain was shooting down my right butt cheek and into the back of my thigh. Sciatica! Finally, my name was called, and they sat me on a table with the back raised and a pillow behind my back. Doctor finally came in and prescribed Skelaxin, and pain medicine...and physical therapy. I now have six weeks of physical therapy to look forward to. I will be going twice a week, plus doing home stuff.

This year is just not my year for medical crap.

I will be starting the allopurinol for the uric acid levels. I am a bit nervous about it. Anyone who is reading ever take that medicine? And if so, any problems with it?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

These are the people taking care of our health . . .

We received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield a couple days ago saying that the claim filed by a doctor could not be processed because my policy with that company was canceled seven years ago. This is because I NO LONGER WORK THERE, and the doctor's office who sent the claim to BC/BS somehow got OLD information despite my giving them the CURRENT insurance company name, group and policy number when they CALLED ME about it when I was discharged from the hospital last month! How that happened is beyond me. THEN yesterday I received a statement from said doctor's office stating the same thing and demanding their $360 (for a doctor who saw me ONCE and did nothing for me).

I sent this letter back....(I have x'd out the name of my insurance company and other information for obvious privacy concerns.)




Soon after I was released from XXXXX Hospital, a representative from Dr.XXX’s office called me and asked for my insurance information. I told the woman who called on the phone that I am insured through X Insurance company and ID AND GROUP NUMBER OF THAT CURRENT POLICY. somehow this was filed with another company I was insured with YEARS AGO, and how you got this old information is beyond me. XXX Hospital has my current XXX insurance coverage on file, and has had it on file for the past few years along with my permission to give that information to attending doctors.

Please make sure that whoever handles this again gets the correct current information and files it with my current insurance company -- X Insurance Co if you want to be paid. Everyone else who has filed correctly has been paid by now.

Thank you,

My name

Attached is copy of MY XXX INSURANCE CARD

P.S I have saved a copy of this letter and your letter for my records.

And I am not supposed to get stressed out because stress makes my medical conditions worse. I think they keep doing this to keep us sick so we have to keep coming to them and paying them money.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Here he comes to save the day! MIghty Mouse is on his way!

My very favorite cartoon as a child was Mighty Mouse! Here is a Mighty Mouse cartoon...enjoy!

Another classic...Andy Kaufman performs Mighty Mouse theme.

Friday, October 26, 2007

One of my favorite movie scenes - Modern Problems

Billy Squier - Rock Me Tonite!

Having a little party with myself today...tee hee!

Hot tub bubbling!

Yay! The hot tub is working, and it is WONDERFUL. It really helps with aching joints and muscle pain. We keep the temperature around 101, and we set the timer for it to shut the jets off after 20 minutes, then we sit for awhile without jets going before getting out. I slept very well the couple of nights we have used this, so far. I think it is going to be our evening "ritual" despite what my attending physician says. My cardiologist and rheumatologist say it is fine to go in a hot tub, as long as I am with someone and watch how long I am in it. The rheumatologist says it will be very beneficial in pain management.

Work at home frustration...again

I should have known better, but after receiving an email invitation to work on another project for that company I worked for last spring, I thought that I would give it a shot again even though Jon reminded me of what an obnoxious hassle it is for very little money (when you break it all down hourly.)

I spent an hour installing update software and getting the new PC certification that jives with the company site. I used 50 sheets of MY paper to print out instruction manuals and example essays. I had to go buy a new $20 ink cartridge for my printer to be able to print the crap they wanted me to print. I spent 6 hours one day, and almost 5 hours the next training online, under the assumption that I was getting $15 an hour for my training time. WRONG.

I misread the pay agreement and when I went ot fill out my time card, I saw that it said to fill in the hours I was training BUT I would only be paid $15 PER TRAINING MODULE of which there were TWO. Thirty dollars for all those hours I put in, plus using my supplies, my electricity, and all of the time it took. I even did studying while logged off on my own time using the guides I printed out.
SO, I didn't even finish training. I quit.

I sent them an email and I got a snotty response back to call the office in Iowa. Using MY cell phone minutes??? NO WAY! I sent another email stating that I only have a cell phone and even if they have a toll free number, it does me no good and I am not spending any more of MY money for work I am doing for THEM. I told the person in my email that the money I am getting for training doesn't even cover my supplies and is not enough for my time.

What company doesn't pay for training? Every regular company I have worked for has always paid for training time, and a probation period. If I break down $30 over the 11 hours I worked so far, that comes out to be what? About $2.72 an hour. . . what I made hourly in 1972! And training would have gone on till October 30th!

I feel like such a sucker!

Monday, October 22, 2007

With having a Masters in English, I'm glad I scored an "A" on this one!

You can take this little test too by just clicking on the link underneath the white box.

You Scored an A

You got 10/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors.

If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.

As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human.

And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Fartheads in the fitting rooms

As I mentioned below, I went to Kohl's the other day to buy new jeans and while there I also bought underwear. I needed a new bra and every time I buy a new bra without trying it on, it never, ever fits and I end up wasting money. So, I took several bras into the fitting room to try on, along with two pair of jeans.

While I was in the fitting room, I tried on the first couple of bras and they weren't right. I just took one off and was about to put on another one when my door was rudely pushed open BY A TWELVE OR THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD-BOY! I shouted EXCUSE ME!!!! And he shut the door with his hand over his mouth, laughing his ass off. Then I heard other kids giggling. I bet it was planned. I bet these punks planned to do it on purpose. What little shitheads! I was ticked! Maybe mommy and daddy told them they couldn't sit on their computers all day and made them go out and play so they headed on over to Kohl's to sneak peeks at the ladies in the fitting rooms??? I dunno.

There are no latches on the doors at Kohl's to be able to lock and make sure no one opens the door on you when you are naked. So, from now on you can bet I am going to somehow bolt that door shut!


Nancy's Deep Dish Pizza
Jon and Jason ordered one of these the night before last. I called Nancy's and asked if they put yeast in their deep-dish pizza and they said not in the deep dish crust, only in the hand-tossed and thin. SO, I decided to experiment and had a HALF of a piece, and surprisingly it didn't bother my gout or my stomach. Wooo hooo! It was SOOOO GOOD. I ate very slow to make my tiny piece last as long as I could and savored every bite.

I wouldn't do this often, but now know that I can have a taste of pizza once in awhile. To keep from being hungry, I made myself a nice big salad on the side and the two men devoured the rest of the pizza. I don't know how they can eat all this crap and not get any side effects, gout or all the crap I get from it. It's not fair!

I am losing more weight. I went to Kohls' on Saturday and bought new jeans TWO SIZES SMALLER than I wore in August. I hope it's because of the restricted diet and not the Lupus. That would suck if it was the Lupus and I end up being skeletal like some people do. But I have read that when on a very low fat diet, one will lose a lot of weight even if you don't exercise much.

It's not so bad being on the diet I am on and not being able to eat crappy food. I am actually feeling much, much healthier than I have in a long, long time. It probably also has something to do with being on Prednisone, but probably also the combination of eating right, getting enough rest and the drug treatment. I am now off my ulcer medicine, and all seems going well with that.

Hopefully I won't start suffering again when they put me on Allopurinol next week. The RA doctor said that may actually trigger gout attack symptoms as it starts working, but should taper off and disappear and uric acid levels decline. I am not looking forward to that little "experiment".

Should I give in and feed Mr Squirrel again?

Isn't he cute? This is just like the squirrel who has been visiting me recently. (Well, okay, they all look alike...but they are such cute creatures!) I don't know what it is about humans that make them think that they have to feed everything. It was a gorgeous day out yesterday and I went over to open my kitchen window and there sitting on the deck railing, looking in the window was a squirrel who looked exactly like the one above. Beady eyes shining like black marbles in the noonday sun. He blinked, but didn't run away. He sat there...BEGGING like a dog! I really don't have anything to give him except for special expensive bread we buy for our diet. I now am trying to resist the urge to drive to the supermarket to buy a big bag of peanuts in the shell just for him! But hubby will have a fit if I start that again.

The year before last I was feeding a might remember my postings on that little guy. Well, some time after I was feeding him peanuts and peanut butter bread and apples we noticed a scratching sound coming from our ceiling in various places and come to find out that squirrel that I had been feeding made a home in our attic! Jon had told me that if I fed it, it would come inside to live and I said " won't. Squirrels live in nests in the treetops." Well...I found out they live in nests in treetops unless they can find a good food source and they find a way into your attic! That one finally left when I stopped feeding it, or maybe it got run over by a car or eaten by a coyote or something.

I am trying to tell myself that this little squirrel will survive the winter just fine without me because they do it all the time. But then that instinct to feed is getting stronger the more I see of him. (eye roll)


For those of you who care, this stuff really works well.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that. (and probably all you care to hear about that!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cost of postage rant

No wonder that gift cards have become such a hit. Have you mailed a package to anyone lately? My daughter wanted my husband to buy her friend a globe from the company he works for to give to this friend for a wedding gift. Instead of sending the globe to my daughter, and my daughter sending it to the friend, she thought it would be faster for us to just send it to her friend.

The box is pretty big. The globe comes shipped in pieces and has to be assembled. When I took the box into the post office, the clerk asked me "Can this all be put into a smaller box? It would save you a lot of money." I told her that it was packaged a certain way so the parts don't roll around or break, so the answer is "no, it can't be put into a smaller box." So, to ship it to Philadelphia at regular rate it cost $22.75! Though it was kind of big, it wasn't at all heavy.

Then I had a book to send to my friend in Australia. It's a journal, actually...with colored pens to write with. I also enclosed one of those mini calendars which has photos of U.S. National Parks. That's it. The journal and calendar barely came to $10. To ship it to Australia, however, at the cheapest air mail was $13. 45! More than the journal and calendar combined!

The other day Jon had to mail something to the Secretary of State and he wanted to make sure they got it, so had to send it certified, return receipt...the cost of that? $5.60 for two pieces of paper in a regular business envelope!

What do we get in return for our extra expense? Mail delivery that is crappy. Our mailman can't even bother to get himself out of his truck to bring a package to the door and instead either crams it into the mailbox so we cannot get it out without practically dismantling the mailbox, OR he lays it ON TOP of the mailbox and he may as well include a sign that says "steal me!". We still continue to get other people's mail in our box, and probably other people get pieces of our mail in their box. All the while the rates to up and up and up, while quality and service go down, and down and down.

It ticks me off.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Paper hospital gowns suck!

Yesterday I had an appointment with the dreaded gastroenterologist. Of all the kinds of doctors there are, a gastro doc is the one I like the least, even worse than the gynecologist! Gastro guys can't seem to wait to get a look up inside your rear end. They also seem way too happy to do so. I had to go back for a check-up for my ulcers yesterday, and seeing that I had just let him look down my throat less than a month ago, and also do a couple of humiliating examinations then, also, I didn't see why the nurse wanted me to disrobe and put on a crappy paper hospital gown in order to be "examined" again. I tried to argue my way out of it, but she was very forceful and said that he would probably want to check me out again since I was having a bit of digestive trouble still since the gallbladder operation. I reluctantly stripped down and put on this flimsy paper gown. As I sat there waiting for him to come in, I could feel the paper separating in spots, even though I was trying my best not to move too much. Then he comes waltzing in and says "you didn't need to put that on because I just examined you in the hospital." I told him I tried to tell his very bossy nurse that, and he said I should have just told her "no...let the doctor decide." So, did he step out of the room and let me get dressed again? Nope...he just went on and chatted about how I am doing, my diet, how long I need to stay on medicine, etc. By the time the conversation was over, the gown was almost in shreds.

Then today I had to go to the hospital for another CT lung scan. They escorted me to a room and had me put on this hospital gown. The gown they gave me was missing some of the ties to keep it closed in the back, and I had to walk through a waiting area, down a hallway to the CT scan room. Then after the test was done, I had to walk all the way back down the hallway, back through the waiting area to the dressing rooms, all the while trying to keep my hind end and back covered. They could at least give us some kind of robe, or another gown to put on backwards while going from one place to another. In all these decades you would think they could come up with something better for people to wear. I think they like making us feel vulnerable and self-conscious...sort of a control thing to let us know they are in charge and we are at their mercy!

Since it seems I will be spending lots of time with doctors and regular testing, I think I might just make my own hospital gowns...ones that fit so the back closes, and in a nice pretty print and maybe a matching robe to go with!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2007 Nobel Prize for Literature

Doris Lessing, my favorite author whose work I did my Masters thesis on (Mara and Dann & African Stories), has won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature! She was praised by the judges for her "skepticism, fire and visionary power." From Associated Press

Lessing, 11 days short of her 88th birthday, is the oldest choice ever for a prize that usually goes to authors in their 50s and 60s. Although she is widely celebrated for "The Golden Notebook" and other works, she has received little attention in recent years and has been criticized as strident and eccentric.

A largely self-taught author who ended formal schooling at age 13, Lessing has drawn heavily from her time living in Africa, exploring the divide between whites and blacks, most notably in 1950's "The Grass Is Singing," which examined the relationship between a white farmer's wife and her black servant. The academy called it "both a tragedy based in love-hatred and study of unbridgeable racial conflicts."

A prolific author even in her 80s, Lessing was born to British parents who were living in what is now Bakhtaran, Iran. Her many works include short stories, essays and such novels as "The Good Terrorist" and "Martha Quest," the latter part of her semi-autobiographical "Children Of Violence" series.

But to millions she is known for "The Golden Notebook," published in 1962 and still a feminist classic although Lessing does not consider the book a political statement.

"The burgeoning feminist movement saw it as a pioneering work and it belongs to the handful of books that inform the 20th century view of the male-female relationship," the academy said in its citation announcing the prize.

Lessing was also cited for her "vision of global catastrophe forcing mankind to return to a more primitive life, noting such recent works as "Mara and Dann" and its sequel, "The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog," published in 2005.

Full article

Doris Lessing Biography

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm embarrassed for this girl . . .

This is perhaps the worst beauty pageant performance I have ever seen.

Friday, October 05, 2007

"It's always something"

Like Rosanne Rosannadanna said, "It's always something." And this year has been the year of "somethings" and not very good somethings and it's getting harder to maintain a sense of humor about it.

I was just diagnosed with Lupus (SLE) and so that will be a challenge with also having Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gout...and asthma. BUT it could be worse. Poor Gilda who played Rosanne Rosannadanna on SNL back in the 70s died at an early age in her 30s from ovarian cancer. Thank goodness I haven't had anything "malignant" and I am fortunate that Lupus usually is a manageable disease with all the modern treatments there are for it now, and tests, medication, etc. So, am not going to go on and complain about that and will deal with things as they come. If I complain too much, no one will want to talk to me anymore and I don't want to turn into one of those old ladies who take up whole conversations talking about their medical problems.

Good news is that I continue to lose weight. Hopefully it is because of the diet and not because of the Lupus. I am at the weight I was back in the early 1990s and that is a good thing. I continue to lose weight since I have been home from the hospital. I am still, and forever will be, on a low fat, low sodium, low sugar diet with few starches and low's kind of complicated to juggle it all and make certain I am getting the nutrition I need. But I am sure I will get it all figured out in time without having to look things up and write things down.

This is the year of things of home repair crap. First the roof, then the hot tub (which kind of works now) and then the water heater crisis...and now the AIR CONDITIONER! The fan is runs and then doesn't...then I let it sit for awhile and cool off, then turn it on and it's fine again for awhile...then stops. It's October so we shouldn't even be needing air conditioning right now in the midwest, BUT Mother Nature is whacky this year and it's nearly 90 today! What's up with that? The weather dudes say it's going to be 90 all weekend. It's OCTOBER Mother Nature...this isn't funny! I can't stand heat. I can't stand cold either, but it's better than being hot. At least in cold weather you can add clothes, or snuggle under blankets. But when it's hot, you can be naked and still sweltering.

So, now he has ANOTHER thing to fix and I feel sorry for him. He works so hard at his job, then can't even come home and relax. It's always something.