Wednesday, January 30, 2008



click on cartoon to enlarge.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Endless football season

click on cartoon to enlarge
I am not a big sports fan, and find the most boring sports to be baseball, football and soccer. Hubby watches all of them, along with the non-sport, male soap opera, championship wrestling. (ugh!)

Baseball always puts me to sleep whether live or on television. The players come out and spit, scratch their groins, swing the bat ten million times. toss the ball to each other, spit again, scratch again, swing swing swing in the air...then when the pitcher finally throws the ball, the batter "wiffs". One time when we took all the kids to a White Sox game when they were little, my daughter said "when are they going to stop playing catch and start playing baseball?" My sentiments exactly. Pitch the frickin' ball, swing and get on with it. All that swinging, throwing, catching, scratching never helps. They wiff three times and then it is up to the next dude to try...and he does the same routine of spitting, scratching, digging at the dirt with his shoes, swinging at the air like a tough guy, then WIFF, WIFF, WIFF and he is out. The good part of going in person is the food...if you can eat it which I can't anymore. But I was always at the food stand getting nachos, hot dogs, caramel corn, etc. Can't do that anymore so there is no motivation for me to go to a live game.

Football...I have always hated football. The players always are the biggest goons. Ultimate jocks. They love bullying and pride themselves on being tough guys. It always cracks me up how they all pray before a game, as if some divine intervention is going to favor a certain team or player over another. And many teams do this from professional to pee wee league. Praying and sports goes together.

Back to football. This is another sport that will sedate me to snooze mode. They kick off...then the rest of the time is spent throwing and slamming into each other trying to get a little oval-shaped ball. To get a "first down, second down, third down...etc. It takes FOREVER. Then when something exciting does happen, like a guy running for a touchdown, we are sleeping through it and have to watch it on the replay. I have only been to a couple of high school games in person only because our sons were in the Marching Band which was much more entertaining than the game.

I won't ever go to a real football game. Even if I could eat the food, it's stinkin' cold outside and I don't find sitting under a blanket in full winter gear to be fun. It's idiotic when you have a better view on television and a nice comfy couch to doze on.

Soccer...our kids used to play soccer. I don't remember how many soccer games I sat through. All three played. Our daughter only played for a couple years because she liked the "costumes"...they were hot pink. The boys played longer. Our older son played for five years, the younger one played for eight! You watch them run the ball up and down the field and rarely scoring. If you get a score of 2-1, that is great. Children's soccer isn't any less boring than adult soccer. Sure, they are fast and zippy with their feet, but it's the same thing...up and down, up and down the field...rarely a goal scored.

I can throw golf in here, too. YAWN. Then on top of being incredibly slow and boring, the commentator whispers, enhancing the sleepy feeling.

Basketball is a great action game to watch. It is speedy and the scores grow quickly. It's fast-paced, fast moving action. However, now the refs are getting lazy (or maybe paid off to look the other way?), but players travel, and hang on the basket, and all sorts of things that should be illegal in a game, IMO.

Ok...done bitching about sports. Just had to get that out of my system. It is Sunday and hubby will be watching all day long.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

This 84-year-old woman in incredible

This woman is an example of not giving into growing old. She seems as young as her 25-year-old dance partner. You absolutely won't believe your eyes!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Mary!

Rossini: Duet for 2 Cats (Trumpet & Trombone Duet)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Freezing and more snow on the way

Well, it's stinkin' cold outside and the little bit of snow we have on the ground has turned into glazed sheets of ice. Then the weather report for today predicts snow off and on the next couple of days and we could see an accumulation of 2 to 5 inches. Boo hiss! I really hate snow, I hate winter and I think we need to move to a warmer climate. I can't stand extremes, so Florida and Texas are out, as well as Arizona. I need someplace neutral. Hawaii would be nice, weatherwise, but isolated, and extremely unaffordable. Oh well, I am just bitching like I always do every winter. I hate getting the coat on, the gloves, the scraping off the car and van windows, and all the clothes you have to wear to keep warm. Then the salt that gets tracked into the house because certain people won't take their shoes off.

We helped our oldest son move back out this past weekend, so we have the house to ourselves, again. This is the third time he has moved in and back hopefully third time is a charm, as the saying goes. Saturday we took a whole van load of his crap to his new place, and he had his car full of crap, too. It wasn't even 0 degrees yet when we left the house around 7 a.m. Why so early? Because we had promised our other son and his fiancee that we would go with them to help them decide on tuxes for the guys, and bridesmaid dresses. (Her mom lives in New York, so can't be here to help. I feel bad she is missing all the fun.) But anyway, we got the tuxes decided on, and the bridesmaid dresses and all of that is set. Only 4 months left to go!

After we did that we went to this Chinese restaurant called Yu's in Schamburg and they have the best Schezwan Eggplant. That's what I got, and they got some kind of noodle stuff and Jon got what he always gets, Kung Pao Beef. After that we took them over to pick up their new uber speakers that go with their new sound system. They were too big to fit into any of their cars, so we have that van and they fit easily in there...we could fit about 20 of them in there with the middle seats out. Their new speakers sound awesome and now has made Jon want a new projector television with new speakers, etc. The way he loves television, I think he should just go ahead and get himself something for once. The kids are gone, we have the house to ourselves and he can watch it as loud as he wants and bother no one. I am pretty easy-going about his television watching.

As cold as it is outside, I went out today to go to the bank and then was going to go to the Post Office and I drove all the way over to the bank before realizing it's Martin Luther King's birthday observance so they are both closed, dammit! I wanted to get this box out to my daughter. It is her birthday tomorrow so already late sending it. I already talked to her and told her it would be late, but wanted to get that on its way today. Darnnit! Now I will have to go back out in the cold tomorrow.

I have to go back out later, too...for therapy. Boo hiss!

More therapy - UGH!

I saw the spine doctor FINALLY on Friday morning after waiting six weeks to get in. I had an appointment back in December before Christmas that they canceled because they said the doctor was going to be in surgery. Yeah, right. It was December 21st and he wanted an early start on his vacation. There is a slight chance that I might be wrong, but I doubt it. Why? Because last Monday their office called and said they would have to reschedule me AGAIN because the doctor had to do surgery on Friday. I told them I couldn't believe they were doing it to me again after waiting so long and I told them that I hurt my neck while doing lower back therapy they sent me to. Well, they said to come in and see the nurse practitioner. I asked them what this nurse practitioner was going to do for me. They said he could send me for x-rays and get the ball rolling till the doctor could see me. I told them if this doctor is too busy with surgeries and surgical patients to bother, I will have my GP refer me to someone else and I will call my insurance company to find out if it is okay with them to have nurse practitioners evaluating and treating serious back trouble. Well, when I called Friday morning to verify my appointment time, I was told that I could come in and see the real doctor at 9:20 a.m. I wanted to ask "what happened to surgery?" but I didn't. When I got there I had to wait an hour, then saw the doctor, and he sent me downstairs for x-rays, then had to come back up and wait another half hour, then was called into the room to wait another 20 minutes. So, that surgery thing must just be an excuse. Dealing with doctors so often, I know they have scheduled O.R. days at the hospital and an emergency on the same day happens sometimes, but I really think that Fridays are too tempting for this guy to take off for a three-day weekend . . . and Friday appts get blown off and rescheduled.

The news is that my cervical spine is out of alignment and scrunched, and the ligaments all too short and atrophied, and so have to have gentle traction and therapy three times a week for six more weeks. I am sick of this crap but the doctor said there is no other better option for this. He could put me in a neck brace and send me home to rest, but it may never get better then because things will just get tighter and tighter. I will go because I am in so much pain when I ride in a car any distance that I could almost cry, and I don't cry easily. I think that the therapy place or the doctor should do this one for free since I warned them that my upper back was "touchy" when they were making me do crap in therapy that I was sure was going to aggravate it. Now the doctor tells me anything I instinctively know is going to bother something else, refuse to do it.
I will, but when I do refuse to do stuff, I know I am going to see them rolling their eyes and then they will discuss what an uncooperative bitch I am. But who cares, I am not going to hurt something else anymore while trying to get something else better.

I think I need a good dose of spring weather.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Heartfarts and more doctor crap

This past weekend had another frustrating problem, severe heart palpitations. Not the kind one can ignore. It started on Friday, and at first I shrugged it off since I get them off and on and the cardiologist said they are harmless. But when they were constant and wouldn't go away, it was alarming. I tried drinking lots of water, thinking maybe I wasn't hydrated enough. I tried eating a couple of bananas, thinking that maybe my potassium was low again like it sometimes gets. Nope...that didn't help. I tried laying down which made it worse. I wrote letters trying to ignore it. It wasn't just palpitations anymore by evening and my heart was pounding, blood pressure soaring when it had been low for so long. I didn't want to go to the ER because I just had a whole battery of heart tests and all that was found was mild enlargement of the left ventricle, and occasional extra beats, or missed beats. The cardiologist said those things were not anything to be concerned about and sent me on my way. Well, I began to think maybe it's one of combined medicines I am on. I phoned my Rheumatologist and she said oh's nothing she has prescribed. Then she told me to go immediately to the ER. I didn't want to go to the ER because you can die waiting in the ER or symptoms go away while you are waiting forever to be checked out. So, I phoned my family doctor. Of course, he wasn't in this Saturday. He is never around when I need him. So had to go see one of the doctors in our group who I like the least. He did an EKG and said he heard the irregular beating, and the EKG showed no heart damage, but also showed skipped and extra beats. SO he sent me to the frickin' hospital anyway to get a 24-hour holster heart monitor and had to wear that thing for overnight. He also told me to stop the newest two medications while doing this test. I still had irregular beating but not at all as bad as it was. If I had been wearing it on Friday when all this was happening, they might have been like what the heck! I took the monitor back on Sunday and am waiting for results, which will probably show what the cardiogram showed.

I have started back on the meds and no "heartfarts." The Rheumatologist phoned me back and said to go back on them gradually. So far,so good.

Maybe me cheating on my diet lately was part of it. I have been overdoing it on the salt lately. I ordered a cheese pizza for myself Thursday evening when Jon was working late, then my son had some when he got home from work, then I ate the leftovers on Friday. I LOVE LOVE LOVE cheese pizza from the pizzeria, but it is so high in sodium and so greasy. Homemade is just not the same. Pizza MUST be salty/greasy to be real pizza. Guess I am going to have to wait to have some when I can order for everyone and just have a couple of pieces, not as much as I ate.

Maybe it was also stress causing it. I have a son getting ready to move out and is filling up my livingroom with packed boxes so have that mess and I haven't even taken my tree and decorations down yet, so it's getting crowded in there. Then have been fighting with doctors' billing offices, trying to figure out why certain things are not covered on our insurance, who mysterious doctors are who are not on the plan but who want money from us when I don't even remember seeing them. Then there are those who don't understand how insurance works, that if they are under contract with an insurance company, they are supposed to accept the insurance discount and NOT try to get that discount from the patient. It's maddening that it is going on for so long. The hospital and everyone legitimately on the insurance plan has been paid. Now we have dangling shysters. Only in the medical field can one steal people blindly, and do it legally. Charge whatever they want whether they did anything or not. That is what is wrong with the health care in this country. The government allows physicians, technicians, specialists, etc. to charge whatever the hell they want and whether they do anything or not, and even when they screw up. If you take your car in for repairs, and they do it wrong . . . you don't pay. But not with the medical profession. They can accidentally almost kill a patient and still receive their money. That sucks. They can scratch their heads and say "I dunno" and still get their money.

So, maybe it was a combination of several things...Lupus combined with cheating on my diet combined with stress. The doctors say that stress causes Lupus/RA flares, then they have Nazi billing departments that could give someone a heart attack from the frustration.

Ok...that's my rant for today. Better settle down before my heart farts come back!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's Always Something

Rick Springfield:

Yes, it is. It's always something. I thought 2008 would bring a fresh start, but in reality there is no magic calendar turn-over. New Year's Day is just another day and the new year would be just another year, except THIS year Jeff and Whitney are getting married! So that is at the top of the list of good things for the coming year...a good "something".

The van was in the shop and we finally got it back. It was the distributor and was nearly $1,000. There was a fee on there for "shop supplies" and we asked what the heck is shop supplies. I mean, we are already paying labor fees. The maintenance shop guy said it is for stuff like paper towels, cleaning solutions, etc. Now that is getting to be just like the medical field where they charge you for each bandaid, each gauze pad, each cotton swab, etc. We complained that charging us for that is ridiculous and a rip off. He went over to talk to his boss and came back and said they were taking that off the bill because they want satisfied customers. It mays to be a squeaky wheel sometimes. It didn't make a big difference in the bill, but it was a little bit off, anyway.

The roof is leaking . . . again. He will have to go up there and patch it again. But we really need a whole new roof. It's not going to be able to wait a whole lot longer.

I ordered two books from and usually don't have a problem, but this time I didn't get one of the books. And it's the one I really wanted . . . Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger. I emailed the vendor and they haven't responded. I think I am going to have to complain to about them.

Then, our daughter called today and told me she went to the gynecologist this morning for a check up and was told she has a cyst on her ovary . . . and now needs an ultrasound to find out exactly what is going on. Since she is a musician, and only has part time jobs in orchestras and does solos for weddings, and other things, she has to buy her own health insurance and has the cheapiest of the cheap. She has a huge deductible and hopefully they will work it for her so she can afford paying it back. But she HAS to have it done. I told her we will help her out if need be, but she must get it checked out and taken care of. Hopefully the ultrasound will show that it is something that doesn't need surgery. I want to go out and see her but can't afford it at the moment. We are still dealing with bills from September, and also for my ongoing medical care. Humana PPO has to be the worst insurance coverage we ever had. We have never had to pay so much out of our own pocket before.

BUT some good news this year. . . hubby got a promotion! He is now Engineering Maintenance Manager and is in the process of negotiating his new salary. Hopefully that will get resolved in the next week or two. We could really use the extra money ASAP.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Spring in January

I does this now and then in January in Chicagoland. One week it's snowing and then sunny and balmy the next. Today is one of those springlike days that fools the flies and other critters that rely on instinct. A couple of them are between the screen and patio doors. Where they hide when weather is bitter is beyond me. I will have to do some research because I would like to know so I can EXTERMINATE THEIR LARVA!

The warm weather would probably make me feel better if the barometer wasn't so low. Rain is on it's way for later, and me bones and joints can tell it! Since the gabapentin has been increased, I realized my lower back pain has practically disappeared, neck is screwed up and very painful the longer I am up and if I do anything that involves my right arm. (Why I haven't been on the computer much lately and post quickies.) Good thing I still have an appointment with the spine doctor and find out what is going on with that. Hopefully the osteoporosis isn't up on top, too. My upper back and neck weren't giving me a problem till I went to therapy for my lower back and they made me do push-up crap and stuff pulling tight rubber bands like a weight machine. As soon as I told them my neck and upper back was hurting a lot, they stopped those and tried other things. But too late, I injured something and now it's going to take time for that to clear up. If they try to get me to go to therapy again, I am going to tell them no way. I am not going to do it. I will walk, I will swim, I will do yoga but they can keep their frickin' therapy.

Anyway, hubby is going in to work late today so is washing my bedding for me. He is going to mop the floors too because I have a problem with that. But he has problems, too. Has been sick. I am trying to convince him to pay for a visit or two by Molly Maids just to come in and do the floors and basic cleaning and dusting. He doesn't want to pay for that, though. What I really want to do is sell the house and move into a condo where the grass is cut and maintenance on the building taken care of. But he won't agree to that either. Our yard is in tremendous need of landscaping. Our fence is going to have to be repaired in places, the deck needs to be resanded and new boards put in places. We need to paint the livingroom/foyer/hallway and the kitchen. The entire basement needs to be cleaned out, crap thrown out and also the garage. It's not a huge house, only around 1400 sq ft on each level, and we mainly live upstairs, but it's a lot to keep up with. I think a condo at this point in our lives would be ideal since he works so much and I just can't do the things I used to do anymore.

Maybe I can talk him into it sooner or later.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Car shopping games

On Saturday hubby wanted to go out to look at cars. He now has a pretty red 2006 Chevy Impala like the one in the photo here, with sun/moon roof and all the toys but is not happy with it for minor reasons. One of them being the seats are not that comfortable, but a lumbar pillow my son gave him for Xmas helps with that problem. He was saying he wants a car with better gas mileage for the same or less payment because of rising gas prices, BUT what it really comes down to him wanting something "fun" and sporty to drive. A midlife crisis car, like maybe a Corvette, Spider and other cars we can't afford right now.

Since I hadn't been out of the house for awhile, I thought I would go along with him and then we were going to stop at the store on the way home to pick up a few groceries. I wish I would have stayed home because it was a huge waste of time. He said he had fun doing something together, but a movie and dinner would have been more fun.

Well, first, we went to look at the Toyotas. The one we test drove was a brand new Corolla that looks just like the one in the photo here. Fully loaded, one of the better models, but the ride was like crap. Maybe we are just used to bigger cars, but this was terrible. We were jarred by every single bump in the road. And the seats weren't that comfortable, either. And it was boring. The salesboy (I say salesboy because he looked like he was 12 years-old) gave us his card and said to call if he can do anything for us.

Then he drove down to the dealer where we bought his Impala. I asked him what in the world did he think he was going to find there? And I already knew they weren't going to want the Impala back. We went inside and he asked for Julio, the guy who sold us the Impala. Julio came out, surprised to see us after only 14 months. He asked how we liked the Impala and Jon says he still likes it and says it's been a good car, no complaints except the seats. Then he bragged to Julio how he can make it get 38 mpg by coasting a lot on the way home from work. He usually gets between 26-33 mpg so I don't know why he is using the reasoning he wants to find something more fuel efficient. Anyway, he sat in a used Sky they had there, which is like a shrunken Corvette. Jon was way too big for it. He had to cram himself in there and almost needed a crow bar to pry him out of it. Then after looking around a bit he saw the Mini with white racing stripes on the hood like the one in the photo here (only this one had extra fog lights on the front). We took it for a test drive while they appraised the Impala, and it rode very nice for a little car. It's made by BMW so is going to be more solid than most little cars. It had heated seats, all kinds of meters, two windows in the roof with screens. Lights above all seats. It was one of those transmissions where you can drive in manual or automatic. The seats were all black leather. Everything was trimmed in metallic black and chrome. It was really pretty on the inside. Hubby was grinning and his eyes all twinkly while driving it and I could tell he really was having fun. This was a car for him, I would not be the one driving it.

We agreed that if they sold it to us for the same payment each month as our Impala, he would buy it. I can't stand the wheeling and dealing games these car salesmen play. The running back and forth, talking to their manager. The first time they came up with a price that was a lot higher than our monthly payment. Then when we said, "I don't think so" they went back again...and came back with another amount that was close to our payment BUT for 72 months, and only giving us $9,000 for the Impala. I was ready to leave. I went and got some coffee, went to the bathroom while Julio went to confer with his boss again. Finally the manager comes over. He looks like he is Count Dracula, or a cousin of his. Same Transylvanian type accent. He says "You know, your Impala has VERY dirty seats and we have to clean them and also the front tires are so bald we need to put new tires on it so will cost us so much muneeee" Jon says "I will take it and have the seats cleaned and put new tires on the front, then you will give me $4,000 more for it?" The manager says "uh....we will not makea a profit den when we try to resell it. Impalas are a dime a dozen, but the Mini dats a car that holds its value" We brought to his attention that brand new Mini Coopers are about as much as we would end up paying for this 2005 one. So, we may as well go buy a new one. He once again said "let me see what I can do" he disappers AGAIN to hiding and doing whatever games they do with the figures. Came back out with more jiggled figures to try to make it look like we were getting a deal when we were not. The final deal was that we would still lose $4,000 on the Impala, that we would still be paying almost as much as a new Mini as for a brand new Mini (and interest rate on a brand new one would be lower). We took our keys back, and asked for our registration back (they had taken it already to transfer plates, thinking we were going to buy). And then we walked right out the doors...

Nearly FIVE hours wasted of car bullshit. If they had moved more quickly in the dealing process, and if they would have given him a fair trade for the Impala, they might have sold it to him. But the longer we sat there, the more time there was for him to change his mind. Car shopping and dealing makes me feel glazed over. I wanted to lay down somewhere it was so boring. Hopefully he has gotten it out of his system for awhile.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Book joke

Corny, but I couldn't help but laugh.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Magical Movie

Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?
I finally got to see the film "Stardust". Claire Danes plays Yvaine, the star who falls to Earth and becomes human. Charlie Cox as Tristan Thorn is the one she falls in love with. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Lamia, an evil witch who is out to get Yvaine's heart so she can gain eternal youth. Robert DiNiro plays Captain Shakespeare who pilots the air ship.

Sienna Miller is the mortal who Tristan originally thinks he wants to marry, and makes a deal with her that she will marry him if he brings her back a star. He crosses "the wall" to a magical land in search of this star. He didn't imagine that he would actually fall in love with the star he finds.

It's a beautiful movie. Though bad guys get killed off, there are no bloody scenes. The film also proves that you don't need slang and swearing to make a movie. The film is packed full of magic, adventure, excitement, tension and just plain fun.

I loved when Yvaine "shined" when she was near her love. Beautiful movie.

Here is the trailer:

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Mars and Orion Over Monument Valley

click on image to enlarge Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (

Thought this was a gorgeous photo I found at APOD. I also posted it at Stardust Musings.

Snowy start to 2008

As you can see from this photo, we are starting off the new year in a very blustery, wintery way. In addition to the snow, the wind has been increasing in intensity, and though it is very pretty to look at the snow all blowing around like the inside of a shaken snowglobe, it is a bit miserable to hvae to be outside in this stuff today. Hubby, though still sick, went out and shoveled the driveway. Now he is cuddled up in a blanket on the couch watching football. I keep telling him we should get a snowblower and he refused to agree to buy one. Says he needs the exercise.

We aren't doing much today. I have already taken one nap. It was hard to stay up to kick 2007 in the seat of the pants on the way out and welcome in 2008. I watched the ball drop in New York City. Dick Clark refuses to give up even though he must overly pronounce his words to keep control of his speech after his stroke. I do admire him for not giving up, though. He will keep going and going till the end, I am sure.

I watched Friends, and Will & Grace till it was time for the Chicago countdown. Chicago's New Year's coverage is quite lame in comparison to NYC. Kind of embarrassing, actually. It's so disorganized and all they show are drunken, stupid people who can barely stand up and the broadcasts from one event to another are uncoordinated and boring. But, still I watch it just to do the countdown here in Chi-Town. The fireworks weren't as pretty as they usually are . . . probably because it's snowing. I'm amazed they still went through with it even though most of the fireworks seem to fizzle out in mid-air, leaving only little balls of light in the snowy sky.

I do miss the days of watching the big band type music on New Year's Eve. Mom used to make a punch that was better than my pineapple juice mixed with Squirt. Maybe it was the same thing, but hers tasted better. Mom used to make those Pizza Rolls or those little Totino's pizzas, and there were leftover Christmas cookies and other sweets. It was always fun because it was the one night of the year when we were kids that we could stay up so incredibly late.

I used to do the same things with my own kids, make similar snacks as Mom made for me and my brothers and sister. It was fun. Now they are all grown, and off doing their own thing and even though I do make some special food, and stay up to watch the celebrations on television, it all seems a bit dull because the kids aren't here. It's sad getting old as things change and kids all go their own ways.