Sunday, March 30, 2008

Reality shows

I must admit that I have gotten sucked into watching reality shows for awhile, but must also admit that they are some of the most stupid programs on television. And basically, they are all alike. Either bimbos competing to be the arm candy for some really ugly or aging rock star, or vice versa, a bunch of guys competing to be "the one" chosen by some really ugly bitchy woman (New York from Flavor of Love, for instance). Top Model was interesting to me in the beginning, however as it progressed it was the same thing. A bunch of immature young women behaving like schoolgirls, squealing, crying, whining, fighting, and generally being bitchy with one another. Celebrity fit club is basically the same thing. They make a drama out of a regular Weight Watcher's thing. Imagine people in real life acting that way when going to their local Curve's center. The only "competition" show I really can say I like, and where fighting and crap doesn't happen is America's Best Dance Crew. It's a lot of fun, and people are very good sports and even encouraging to other teams. But for the most part, reality shows are is Mad TV's and Will Sasso's take on reality tv. It's hilarious so put your drink down first:

Kenny Rogers Reality Show

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Humans are so funny

Why is it that we are so big and afraid of things that are so small? I mean, we can easily crush the poor little things under the heel of our shoe, but instead we jump up onto chairs and scream, or we do like this dude did and run like the wind . . .

LINK: Man flees home half naked to evade a mouse

BERLIN (Reuters) - A man in Germany fled his home half naked for cold, snow-swept streets to escape a mouse in his living room, authorities said on Thursday.

"He said there was nothing he was more afraid of," police in Goettingen said in a statement.

After an emergency call in the early hours, officers in the central town found the 23-year-old wearing only his boxer shorts and slippers at a phone booth near his home.

The man told police he had seen the mouse scurry across the floor while he was watching a film, and had fled immediately.

Police failed to track down the animal, but told the man it was safe to go home. He went to relatives instead.

(Reporting by Dave Graham)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hot tub update

Well, we got through the winter with relatively few problems with the hot tub and it worked great. I love it. It helps relieve tension, relax muscles and loosens stiff joints. It also helps my gout toes and ankle.

We have only had to deal with the steady trickle of a leak that is in one of the pipes probably coming from one of the foot jets. So he will have to lift it up one more time to fix that. We thought that was going to be all that we had to do to it, but recently the dang thing has had a mind of its own and when we set it at 100 it goes up to 107 and beyond. The heater doesn't shut off when it gets to the programmed temperature. It keeps going up and up and up. One evening we tried to get in it anyway for a few minutes and no way Jose, it was scorching!

So, now we have to turn the heat on manually around 4 p.m. and wait for it to get to where we want it and then turn it off. Such a hassle. He thinks now he is going to have to replace the control panel which will probably be a couple hundred bucks. I swear we could have just bought a new one, and probably should have. He could have saved himself a lot of aggravation and work. But he seems to like aggravation. He calls them "challenges." Like our son's car that broke down on the expressway on February 12th. Jon went out to rescue him and let him take our new Impala to work and to use till his car got fixed. Well, it's a month and a half now and our son still has our new car, in the city no less. But he says he is taking good care of it, and just hope that his neighbors are good to it too since he lives in an apartment complex.

Jon has our son's car apart in a million pieces. It was in the shop for awhile for a distributor and after nearly a month of waiting for the distributor to come in, Jon finally ordered the part himself online and it came in in three days, and I delivered it and it still took them two more days to get it installed. Then they said the car engine was crap. Well, they were right about that. So Jon took the heads out and had them redone. The people at the CarQuest place says it seemed that the car must not have had any oil in it so damaged the heads and probably other things inside the engine. So, hubby decided to take the engine apart and replace it piece by piece instead of just pulling the whole thing out, taking it somewhere to be rebuilt and put it back in. So he finds out today that he has to do that anyway. I asked him if I should tell our son that he is the proud owner of a 2006 Chevy Impala. He got very pissed at me when I was only trying to be funny. But I have to admit that it was also meant to be sarcastic. I can't help myself sometimes. But this is getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kid's Rrrrrrrrock! Too funny!

Kid songs all done in a brand new way!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Willie's Weenie Wagon

I normally try to stick to my strict diet I must be on because of my salt-sensitivity problem, but this evening I cheated for dinner and got a Chicago-style hot dog and an order of fries along with a large frosty mug of Berghoff’s root beer at Willie’s Weenie Wagon. This Retro diner offers burgers, hot dogs, tamales, beef sandwiches and French Fries, potato chips and soft-serve ice cream. But the novelty at this place is the variety of old name-brand bottled sodas. All flash-backs from the past: Green River, Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer, Cheerwine, Pepsi and Coke in the old bottles, Blue Cream Soda, Orange Crush, and many other different kinds.

The interior of the place is like a step back in time, even though it’s new construction. The booths are all chrome and stainless steel. Old tin signs hang on the walls advertising soda pop and foods from the 50s and 60s. Old time music also plays over the sound system. It was a nice little nostalgic meal.

What’s on a Chicago-style hot dog? Start out with a poppy-seed bun. Then add a Vienna all-beef frank, mustard (never ketchup), chopped onion, sweet relish, tomato, a dill pickle slice and celery salt. (hot peppers optional)

Why is a place that is located in a strip mall called Willie's Weenie Wagon? Because back in the 50s the business started as a little trailer that sold only steamed hot dogs on the sidewalks of the city.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Today was a sock, slipper, pajama and Olive Garden day

Lately, especially since the RA has flared up in my feet again, I have been obsessed with warm socks and comfy footwear. Hubby is on vacation this week so we have been doing some shopping and out to eat sometimes. Today we did a bit of both.

We went to Filene's Basement which has become my favorite store. Last time I was there about a month ago I found these awesome wool socks that are so cuddly and warm. They are very thick so can't really wear shoes with them. They are more like slippers. I wanted to get a couple more pairs of those because I hadn't been wanting to part with the pair I had, even to wash them and they were getting to be a bit smelly. So, today I bought a few more pairs of those, and a pair for my daughter and also a pair for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law. They both have really cold feet so I am sure they are going to appreciate them. In addition to the socks, I found these really nice fake down booty slippers! They are like wrapping each foot in it's own little comforter. The ones I have are styled like in the photo, but are entirely light blue on the outside, and tan on the inside. I had them on while laying on my bed and watching America's Top Model and my feet were nice and toasty.

Yes, I like America's Top Model, as silly as it is. I also got sucked into watching an episode of The Pussycat Dolls. I like that America's Best Dance Crew. It's amazing how those young kids can move! I am hoping Kaba Modern wins, but I have a hunch that the judges like Jabberwockeez the best and it will probably win. I also am ashamed to say that I am addicted to Flavor of Love even though he is the ugliest little man, but seems to have a great sense of humor and likes to have fun. I don't get all these shows though where there are all these young women acting like sluts trying to get a man that isn't even that good looking. Like Rock of Love's Bret Michaels. He's an aging rock star and some of the women going after him have resembled Peg Bundy from Married With Children and they are all older but act like 18-year-olds and quite bizarre to watch. It can't be for real. I think these reality shows are a lot like the fake championship wrestling hubby watches. I make fun of that, but must admit that these reality shows aren't any better.

I think I got off track here a little bit. Back to telling you about my shopping spree at Filene's Basement. I got several pairs of socks, those booty slippers, and I found a pair of $60 designer knit soft pink pajamas for only $14.

We went to Olive Garden for lunch and got the all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks. I can only eat one bowl of soup and a bowl of salad and two breadsticks. Jon had two bowls of soup and all the rest of the salad I didn't eat and a few breadsticks. My favorite soup there is the Zuppa Toscana. I found a recipe for it online here.

After eating lunch, we went to pick up the heads for our son's car that Jon is working on while on vacation. Then we went pricing garage doors. Ours is disintegrating right off the hinges. Needs to be replaced before it totally falls off. We should have put on a steel garage door when we built the house 20 years ago instead of accepting the heavy, heavy wooden door that came with. It swells in moist weather, it broke the Genie door opener a few times, and finally he said screw it and just left the Genie disconnected so it has to be opened manually. I can't even lift it and wouldn't even try. Lucky we leave the cars parked outside since the hot tub is in there now. I know...odd place for a hot tub but if we sell and move, we don't want to leave it, and we don't want the thing outside because I don't want to sit in a nice warm hot tub with my head sticking out in the cold wind. If we decide to just stay living where we are, we may just build a little hot tub house out back, but that would require us to have a stronger deck. One thing always leads to another.

So, that was my day today. I will see how everything feels tomorrow. This has to have been my longest and busiest day out since being diagnosed with Lupus. I think my medication is finally starting to work. (And it's warmer out than it has been.) Hurry spring!

Friday, March 14, 2008

la lectura en español

El pasado pocos días, he estado repasando mi español de modo que pueda leer una novela que compré hace varios meses eso se escribe en español. Es como montar una bicicleta y todo comienza a volverse a usted otra vez una vez que usted comience a hacerlo. Estudié español en universidad, y no lo he utilizado mucho puesto que, así que se está un rato. Pero estoy consiguiendo la caída de ella y debo poder leer este libro que tengo en un par de semanas o tan. La lengua siguiente que deseo abordar es sueco así que puedo comunicarme con mi buen amigo Susanne que viva en Suecia. Ella puede escribir en inglés perfecto, pero sería agradable sorprenderla con una letra escrita en su propia lengua.


The past few days, I have been reviewing my Spanish so that I can read a novel I bought several months ago that is written in Spanish. It's like riding a bicycle and all starts coming back to you again once you start doing it. I studied Spanish in college, and haven't used it much since, so it's been awhile. But I am getting the hang of it and should be able to read this book I have in a couple of weeks or so.
The next language I want to tackle is Swedish so I can communicate with my good friend Susanne who lives in Sweden. She can write in perfect English, but it would be nice to surprise her with a letter written in her own language.

Online used car shysters

Our son's car bit the dust, and since he has to work, I was online at Craigslist Chicago looking at used cars for him. I found several that seemed affordable, and one 2003 Honda Civic that was extremely under-priced. It was only $3,500 and I thought it was too good to be true, but sent an email anyway.

Well, the next day I received a reply from an Allan C and he said he was in a big hurry to sell the car because his son was in the hospital and he needed the money. He then said that the car is in Utah of all places. He over-explained that the car was like new. low miles, never been in an accident, treated like his "baby" yadda, yadda, yadda. Then he said that if I wanted the car I had to send a payment via a pay pal account and then the car would be shipped here to Chicagoland by his brother who works for the shipping company and is allowed one free shipment a year. All of this sounded quite fishy.

I sent an email response back asking why he just didn't sell the car where it was in Utah, why he was advertising it all the way in Chicago, and I said we didn't want to buy a car sight-unseen and we would have to see and test-drive it first before agreeing to buy it. So, he sent me another email saying to send him all of my personal information and a pre-agreement to buy the car if he shipped it here and the car ran well for us. I said no, I could not make any such agreement, that the car would have to be in area, and we would come look at it, then decide.

I didn't hear back again. I then clicked on the bookmark to the craigslist page and saw a message that craigslist had flagged the ad for removal for some kind of violation. They were probably crooks. Whenever something seems too good to be true, it usually is. SO...beware of online advertising on craigslist. If something sounds fishy, report it

Monday, March 10, 2008

It was bound to happen sooner or later

Can't avoid cold germs forever especially when everyone around me is sick. Jon is still hacking up a lung after a week of being sick. It starts out with this really yucky scratchy, burning throat thing, then moves upwards to sinus congestion then drops down into the chest. Not fun. I ache all over, feverish and can't take anything for it. Fortunately, I see my Rheumatologist today and maybe he can give me a script for an antibiotic to keep on hand in case I need it. I dunno.

This is the new doctor I am seeing since my regular RA doctor mysteriously disappeared. I intend to at least try to get some answers about that today. I can understand if she is suddenly ill, or if she was fired for whatever reason. I can't imagine that she would just take off like that without letting any of her patients know. Weird.

Daylight savings time started. Now it's dark as night at 7 a.m. But at least it is now light out till around 7 p.m. I would rather have it darker in the morning and lighter later in the evening. I wake up and check my email and stuff early anyway so am not looking outside right away anyway.

Car troubles...our son still has our Impala. His car is really a piece of &*(^#! Hubby drove it to work today and says it has an oil pump problem in addition to needing new heads and a new muffler system. Since our son doesn't have finances at the moment to buy a new car, we have to think of something till he can get a better paying job to afford a newer car. We don't want to leave him hanging without a car or he won't be able to get to work. Lucky we have these extra cars we pass around the family for these type of emergencies. We have a 1990 Audi that our middle son owns now, but was ours for years. Now we are borrowing that back till this whole car ordeal gets settled somehow. In my opinion it would be better to chuck our son's car (which is still in our name) and get a newer one that at least isn't blowing smoke and sounding like a low-flying propeller plane as you drive it down the street.

Cars are a necessary evil. We have even bought new ones in the past that have given us problems. The worst new car we ever bought was a 1990 Plymouth Acclaim LX...piece of crap. The transmission was automatic, but was like a bucking bronco when coming to a stop. Took it into the dealer and they said "there is nothing wrong with it, it's designed that way." What a bunch of baloney! They just didn't know how to fix their design flaw.

Anyway, cars and sickness right now, and this long, long winter is really bumming me out.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My doctor just up and disappeared

WTF is right@! Wait till you hear this one. My Rheumatologist up and disappeared. Yep, that's right. Disappeared. My next appointment for tomorrow was scheduled three months ago, and this afternoon I got a call from their office saying that they had to cancel my appointment and would have to reschedule me with a different doctor because my doctor was no longer with their practice!

I asked, "well, where did she go? Is she with another practice?"

The receptionist said, "We can't disclose that information."

I said, "So, you just leave me and all of her patients hanging and wondering what happened to her? What are we supposed to do?"

She said that she would reschedule me with the main doctor, and asked if I was having any urgent problems and if I could wait awhile longer to be seen. I told her I had blood work done that had to be a week before my visit and tomorrow would be a week and since I am on medication that can cause liver and kidney damage I think it is kind of important to get in to be seen and go over lab results, at least so I don't die of poisoning from medication my missing doctor put me on. The girl said "Oh...ok" and she scheduled me with the other doctor for Monday. I think I am in for a really long wait on Monday along with all the other patients who are in the same situation.

How can a doctor just up and leave with no explanation to the patients. I truly hope she isn't sick, or that something happened to her. It would be nice to have an explanation. What is the big secret? Maybe someone is suing her and they don't want it known? I dunno. I guess I will try to find out from the other doctor when I go in on Monday.

I am having this happen a lot with doctor's lately. My back doctor cancels almost every appointment I make and wants to schedule me with his nurse practitioner...yet charges the full office visit price. Last time I scheduled with him I thought wow, they didn't call to reschedule this time. I went to the office, waiting for a couple of hours and when I got into the examining room in walks the nurse practitioner. He told me that my doctor was very busy and he was helping to pick up the slack. I asked why that ALWAYS happens with them. Does the doctor only want to bother with patients he knows he is going to get surgery money from? Seems like it to me since I am always blown off. The nurse practitioner gave me a prescription for more pain medicine and for two more weeks of therapy, plus an order for a traction device for home...and said to make an appointment with the doctor for four weeks. I told him that I will probably see him again in four weeks because the doctor is very elusive. He looked at me as if I was a smart ass. I admit, I was being snarky.

About my son's car. I got the distributor in that hubby ordered. I drove it straight over to the car repair place and said "see, we got a distributor in THREE DAYS"...asshats! I didn't say asshats but it's what I thought in my mind! I was good humored with them about it. I let them know that getting this car done was very urgent because our son has had our car in Chicago city limits too long now and who knows what is happening with it with him driving it around the city. He said it would be repaired this afternoon. Well...when hubby called to see if we could come pick it up, they said it wouldn't be done today. Does Jon ask any questions? Nope. I wanted answers dammit! So he told ME to call them back and nag if I wanted to nag. I said "ok, I will!" I called them back and said that my husband didn't get any details and I want to know what is going on so I can tell my son what's up. He said they had two cars on the rack ahead of ours, and he would get to it tonight and should be done in the morning. There is the weasel word SHOULD. I wanted to say "it BETTER be done" but I bit my tongue because we are kind of at their mercy at the moment. I will be very ticked if Jon wants to ever use this service again. They have shown me that they just don't give a hoot unless they are repairing thousand dollar transmissions.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Can't anyone do their jobs anymore?

Our son's car, a 95 Mitsubishi, broke down on Interstate 94 almost a month ago now, and my husband went out to rescue him, gave him our Impala to take to work while hubby waited for the tow truck. He had it towed back here to where we live since he said it would be better to have it repaired at a place where we have all of our car work done. So, he paid the umpteen dollars in towing to have it brought all the way from the north side to the south side because he assumed that we would get good and reliable service like we usually do.

Well...they have had the car since February 12th and it's still waiting for a distributor to be delivered. This is getting to be totally ridiculous. I don't know why these people have not been more diligent in finding a part for this car. If the place they ordered from is not delivering, why are they not trying to find the part someplace else. Finally taking matters into his own hands, Jon ordered the part himself online and should be delivered to our house any day now. Then I have to take the part over to the car repair so they can put it in the Mitsubishi and get it fixed so we can get our Impala back from our son.

It's like this with everything nowdays. We have to do everyone's work for them whether it be doctor's billing offices to telling people how to ring crap up at the grocery store and how much change to give us. Doesn't anyone know anything? Or are they simply just lazy and don't have the work ethics they had when we were young?

The doctor's billing office story is a frustrating one. All of my bills from September are all settled and paid except for one medical group. They were paid by the insurance company but instead of putting the insurance payments in the insurance paid column, they put those amounts in "balance due" and sent us a bill for double payment. When we sent letters explaining what they had done, they simply threw them away or something and sent us another bill saying "second notice" then another one "third notice". Finally, they called me and demanded the money they were already paid by insurance. I tried to explain to the office bitch on the phone that it was paid already and it is THEIR mistake, an accounting error. She would not listen and kept saying we have to pay the bill. I finally told her to call my husband. So, they did...and simply told him that we have to pay the amount that was already paid. He tried to explain and was getting pretty pissed off, but they would not listen. Finally, we called the insurance company and reported them for fraud...trying to collect funds from us that were already paid. The snotty bitch then would not listen to the insurance company when they tried to prove that they had paid the bill! The insurance company then faxed over evidence of payment so we will see how that goes.

Jon says he would love to see this go before a judge. He would be pretty ticked off at taking up the courts time for a bookkeeping error they refuse to correct.

Computer woes

I've been struggling for the past couple of weeks trying to debug and clean "bots" out of my system, however there are just too many of them. When hubby firs t set up this computer he didn't install any anti-spyware or anti-virus software, leaving it vulnerable to malware and all sorts of infections. When I started having problems, then he installed the anti-virus and I installed a program to get rid of bots. But it was too late. Once they are in there, they are nearly impossible to get rid of without wiping out and redoing the whole entire hard drive.

So, that is what we now have to do. We are going to buy a new hard drive, put all the best anti-virus software on their at the very beginning before anything else is added. Then he will have to figure out how to clean this one off. He tried to redo another hard drive but it won't let him clean it off. What joy do people get from creating viruses and bugs to infect strangers' computers? They cannot even "reap the joy" of watching a person swearing and frustrating as their computer does funky crap and doesn't work properly. The only reason I can think for them doing this is to get back at the computer industry somehow. OR they are working for a computer anti-virus software company to create viruses to keep selling upgrades to anti-virus software. Am I paranoid? I wouldn't put it past them to do something like that. And who is going to catch them?

It's just a shame that we have something so wonderful as computer technology and evil people who just want to screw up a good thing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

In memory of guitarist Jeff Healey

Blind rock and jazz guitarist Jeff Healey died yesterday at the age of 41 after a lifelong battle with cancer.

Healey had battled cancer since age 1, when a rare form of retinal cancer known as Retinoblastoma claimed his eyesight.

Due to his blindness, Healey taught himself to play guitar by laying the instrument across his lap.

When a Blind Man Cries...with Jeff Healey on guitar

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Garrett's Popcorn

This is the BEST popcorn in the entire world. Jon and I went up to the north side today to test drive the clown car I wrote about HERE, and on the way back down I-94 we swung by downtown Chicago to go to Garrett's to get some caramel pecan popcorn and caramel/cheese popcorn. I know it's not good for me, but haven't had this in so long and plan to graze on it all weekend. If you let it sit too long it become soggy, so have to eat it up right away, which is fine with me. It's buttery, sweet and crunchy...deeelicious!

As for the clown car (Smart car made by Mercedes Benz), it was so tiny! And all the men who showed up for a test drive today were all big and tall. Too funny! I could not contain my amusement. Jon had made this appointment a few weeks ago to test drive this toy, and that is exactly what it felt like...a toy. It was smaller than the Mini Cooper we test drove a few weeks ago. But he thinks it's fun. So, since the salesman convinced me of its safety features, which is a safety cage sort of a walnut-shaped protection that is around the whole thing, hubby can go ahead and get it if he wants one that badly. All the new vehicles we have ever bought in our thirty-three years of marriage have gone to me while he drove all the old ones to work. So, if he wants a toy to have fun with on the way to and from work, then I am not going to stand in his way.

There is a year-long waiting list if you want to buy one. He didn't sign up for that and is just going to see how the list looks in a year, if they are sold like a regular car by then. In the meantime he says he will keep looking. I don't think the gas mileage is so great for that tiny of a car. It gets 41 mpg and I was expecting something the size of a motorcycle to get at least 60 mpg. There are a few new cars coming out that are supposed to get over 60, so maybe he will change his mind in the next year. We shall see!