Friday, December 29, 2006

Curiosity Isn't Always A Good Thing

While I HAVE inherited The Mother's nosiness, I am NOT quite as curious as she is. Case in point: While washing bedding the other day, I bent over to pick up the fabric softener bottle when I felt something drip on my head. Now, I was aware that it could have been water from an overhead pipe, or detergent dripping from the spigot on the container, OR something I would rather not know about. I felt the top of my head, looked at my fingers, kind of smelled them, and then moved on without determining exactly what dripped. And I was okay with that. (I figure it was detergent.) The Mother, however, would have gone to a mirror to see what was in her hair, rubbed the drip, smelled her fingers repeatedly, and, finally, tasted to see if she could determine what the substance was. (There was no smell because I use unscented laundry detergent because of my sensitive skin.) Believe me, that is EXACTLY how she would have acted--she has done this before: once with battery acid!

Now we will do a little "aside" here. As I mentioned, I have sensitive skin. This has lead me to MANY places on the internet in search of soaps, lotions, and other products I can use comfortably. My latest obsession is the company Lush. Lush is a cosmetic company which hand makes their products using fresh organic fruits and vegetables, essential oils and safe synthetics, and don't do any animal testing. The company was started in England and became a big hit in Europe before moving on to North America. While there are some stores here in the US, it is easiest to buy online. (I can't wait to go to Chicago--hopefully this spring--as there are TWO stores there!) The SMELL of some of the products is to die for--they have a soap called Sexy Peel which smells just like a lemon drop candy! Unbelievable! The other thing about some of their products is they put PLANT materials in some of them. In the Sexy Peel soap you will find bits of lemon peel. Other products--like the bar shampoo I like so much--will have dry flowers embedded in them. You can find seeds, ground nut shells, and what looks like pieces of twigs in some of the products--a lot of which is for exfoliation purposes. I know, it all sounds very weird, but you would understand if you actually SAW the stuff and was able to use it. Now, back to the curiosity thing.

I think The Mother's curiosity has skipped a generation and has found my oldest. Here is THAT story. C has rosacea and has a lot of trouble finding products she can use that won't irritate her face. I decided to buy a bar soap from Lush that should be calming enough for her skin. When I got the soap, I cut a chunk off and placed it in a Ziploc bag in anticipation of the next time someone went up north. While I thought the soap would get to her before Christmas, it--along with some other non-Christmas gifts--were still here when K was ready to deliver Christmas greetings to her family. Along with the gifts, I packed a grocery bag full of the extra stuff that was going to her, along with the soap in the Ziploc bag. The soap is pink in color--about the same as calamine lotion--and has some 'chunks' in it, which are visible. Here is a picture of the soap. (The bar I got doesn't have the 'hair' on top--it just is pink.) I didn't think anything of the fact that I didn't warn C about what I was sending--I figured she would remember when I had told her about everything the first time. Later that day, she called me. She wanted to know what that 'pink, fudgy, nougatty stuff in the Ziploc bag' was that I had sent for her. And immediately I knew: she had tasted it! And I was correct! She said it was the worst tasting candy she had ever eaten and why did I want her to try it? Once I told her what it REALLY was, she explained what she had done: she looked at it, she felt it, she smelled it, and then she tasted it. Just as The Mother would have done!

Hockey Talk

The Wings played again tonight and won 7-4. While the score would indicate a run-away game, nothing could be further from the truth. First, the last goal was on an empty net, so it wasn't quite as lopsided as it would seem. The Wings had three goals--doing great!--and then Columbus scored 4 unanswered goals! Finally, the Wings got their heads out of their asses and started to play again and ended up winning. It seems as if they start to get lazy and sloppy when they are winning by three goals--as if they think they can't be beat. They have done this too much this year and it has to stop.

Cleary got his first-ever hat trick tonight. I really like him--he is a good player and I think he will just keep getting better. (It IS getting rather distracting to see him without his teeth, though. The two top ones were knocked out during a game a few weeks ago and he still hasn't had them fixed. But, then, he HAS been on fire ever since--maybe he should just go without them!:)) Datsyuk got two goals--he FINALLY is starting to earn the $3.9 million that he's getting paid this year. Lang is just doing an outstanding job and Lidstrom is still going strong with a +/- of 22 (as of the 27th)--the second highest in the league. They are playing decent hockey--NOT great--but that just may be to their advantage when playoffs come around: they won't have peaked too early.

My favorite player right now is Valtteri Filppula. He is the first ever Finn that the Wings have had as a player. He is only 22 years old and I saw him play his first game for Detroit at the end of last year. He can do some amazing things with the puck and I can see great things for him in the future. He has a play that is pure magic--at least when it works. As he is skating down the ice, he will pass the puck between an opponent's skates, skate around the guy, and pick up the puck on the other side--and then shoot it at the goal. Give him a few more years and that will be his signature play and he will do it as easily as I can walk down the street. I hope he will stay with Detroit--I don't want him to become dead to me, as Shanahan is! ;)

On Tuesday night the ceremony to retire Yzerman's number will be broadcast. What a sad night that will be. A great player AND a great gentleman--the likes of which we may never see again, at least in the same package.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas, Gifts of Vinyl, Obits, and---Of Course--Hockey

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve with friends of ours, as we have for many years. It is always a nice time and has become a tradition. On Christmas day, our youngest and her husband came for dinner and surprised us by telling us they were spending the night! That meant more to me than any gift I could have gotten--I wasn't expecting it.

As for gifts, K replaced the necklace I lost with a new one. This one is different, though. The old one was the Red Wings logo in all gold and it was about 1 3/4 inches wide. The new one is a round circle about 3/4 inches wide and it has the logo in gold embedded in black onyx. Very pretty! I'm just happy to have a Wings' necklace again. My good friend got me a porcelain doll that I have wanted for years--she is dressed in a sailor dress and has blonde hair, blue eyes, dimples, and the same name as our youngest. The part that is REALLY freaky about the whole thing: we have a picture of our youngest in a sailor dress--and it looks very much like the doll. A and her husband got me two vintage Eric Clapton albums in vinyl. I was THRILLED! Now I have to get some frames so I can hang them.

A told me a story that I found absolutely fascinating. She is really into genealogy and asks people about their ancestors whenever she can. One day she was talking with a man who had a very Finnish last name--we are 100% Finn--and she asked him the story of his family. His grandmother and her five children were set to sail to the United States to start a new life. They had their tickets and were all set to go, but at the last minute they had to cancel because two of the children couldn't get passports in time. They were quite distraught because they had to wait to continue with their plans. It turned out okay, though: the ship they were supposed to sail on was the Titanic. This was another time that the saying 'everything happens for a reason' was proven so true in a good way!

I read the obituaries in our local paper AND the paper from where we were raised, every day. I am not understanding what is going on with the writers of these things. Now, I am sure the writers are members of the deceased's family, but, REALLY, they are going over the top. Here are some things that have been written in recent obits: "His mother wrote “such a precious baby, such a loving child, such a wonderful man, and such a gift from God”." and "He was a constant source of inspiration to his children and a constant source of humor and love to his wife and friends" and "fell asleep in death" and "loved to read and had a natural curiosity and interest in learning anything new." Well, I think you get my drift. Now, I understand wanting to remember your loved one, but isn't that what the eulogy is for? Some of these obituaries go on for two--and sometimes more!--newspaper columns! (I don't mean to speak ill of the dead--it is the ones left behind that have to get a grip!) I have already said that I want a closed casket for my wake--NO ONE is going to stand over my body and say: "Doesn't she look good." "She looks just like she's sleeping." "They did such a nice job on her." (All of these things I have heard people say at wakes I have attended!) AND I also don't want anyone shedding any crocodile tears--if The Brother appears to be even a little sad, I will rise up from my coffin and tell him to stop being a hypocrite! And, thank goodness, I DON'T have a nickname. This is another one of the newest things that have been showing up in obits: adding someone's nickname to the listing. So, you will see "John 'Yucky' James Doe" listed. This past week, a man was listed with his nickname of 'Goofy.' Oh, well.

I received an email today inviting me to join the NHL Bloggers group. I am sure that whoever sent this to me has NEVER read my blog. I probably was found by some search engine because I DO blog about the Red Wings at times, but I don't think I am exactly what they are looking for. It made me chuckle, though.

We Have A Diagnosis

We got the call from the nephrologist today and there now is a name for what K is going through: IgA Nephropathy (IgAN) or Berger's Disease. And there really is nothing that can be done about it. Essentially, they don't know why or how you get this and there is no cure. It isn't an unknown disease, but it isn't that common, either--at least as far as they can tell. You can only be diagnosed with this by having a kidney biopsy and the only reason to do so is if there are other symptoms to begin with. So, many people may have this and not be at a point where they need to be seen by a doctor. The nephrologist will be seeing K every 4-6 months to make sure he isn't getting any worse, but other than that, he just has to start living a healthy life style--as we all need to do! Of course, his blood pressure needs to be kept under control and he may have to address his cholesterol, but other than those two things, it is a wait-and-see approach. There is so much that is unknown about this disease that they can't give any real answers to questions. We have no idea if things will get worse or how bad things could get. Obviously, if things deteriorate, there could be dialysis in the future, but that DEFINITELY is not a sure thing. From the research I did online, there seems to be differing opinions about this disease: some say there is NOT a hereditary factor, others say there is; some say omega-3 helps the condition, some say it doesn't; some say diet should be restricted, others say it isn't a real factor; etc. And these ALL are highly respected websites: WebMD, NIH, the Mayo Clinic, etc. The really strange part of the whole thing is the absence of 'normal' symptoms in K: the only thing he has/had as a symptom was the elevated protein in his urine. No blood in the urine, no edema, no pains, as some people have. He also seems to be older than when people are normally diagnosed with this: by the time a person is 40--and usually while in the 20s--a person has been diagnosed. All in all, the news could have been better, but it DEFINITELY could have been worse! So I guess we will just listen to his doctors (DUH!!!) and take it from here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Idol Worship or "I Am Your Biggest Fan..."

Are you a very big fan of a celebrity, musician, actor, author, sports figure, etc? Would you ever want to meet your 'idol?' What would you do or say if you got to meet him/her? Well, here is my take on the whole situation.

I am a HUGE fan of Eric Clapton. Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows this. And I have been a fan for many, many years. I don't have a 'crush' on him. I don't think he is the best looking man there is. (Although, while he SHOULD look like twenty miles of bad road because of all he has been through in his life, he DOES get better looking with age.) I don't think he has the solutions for all of the world's problems. What I DO feel about the man is he is the most amazing musician I can name. The things the man can do with a guitar are pure magic--he plays beautifully, he sings decently, and he writes good songs. He amazes me.

I love the Red Wings. I think most of the players are just as cute as a bug's ear--and most of them are young enough to be my kid! Their talent is awesome--the things they can do with a puck are simply breathtaking. While watching a game, I very rarely multi-task because I just want to bask in the pure beauty of what I am watching.

John Grisham is one of my favorite authors--among others. I am totally awestruck by the way he can tell a story and pull me into it. Losing myself in a well-told story is a passion of mine and anyone who can write well completely amazes me.

I think the model Giselle is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. While I don't know that she has any particular talent other than being beautiful, I am a fan of hers simply because I couldn't imagine being that gorgeous. I would be soooooo grateful to have a fraction of her beauty.

I am a fan of quite a few actors and one I am particularly fond of is Kyra Sedgwick. I have seen her in a few things and she seems to play the 'Southern belle' quite often. I was truly amazed to find out that she actually was born and raised in New York! The woman has talent, for sure.

I have many famous people who truly amaze me because of their talents and abilities and I don't particularly want to meet any of them! My fear is that I would be so disappointed in what they REALLY are like--and not how they are portrayed by their PR people--that I could never truly enjoy their work again. If the actor was completely ego-centric, if the athlete was 'brain-damaged' from being hit too many times and couldn't form a cohesive sentence, if the author was a stuck-up snob, if the musician was stoned and could only slur his words, this would just be too much for me to take. So, I do not want to meet the celebrities that I truly admire. Does this mean I am not someone's biggest fan?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Moving Along...Ho, Ho, Ho

Today I had to go and get the boobs squeezed. Yes, It was time for the annual mammograms. I tell you, during the month that I have my annual GYN appointment and my mammograms, I get felt up more than I do the other 11 months combined! I'm just glad to have it over with for another year.

I was out and about anyway so I decided to finish my Christmas shopping. The only person I had left to buy for was K, but he is becoming the hardest one to get gifts for. I didn't have a clue what I was going to get--I so counted on him buying 'us' a flat-panel for the living room. Then it occurred to me: he REALLY could use some place to organize his tools and I decided to get him a rolling tool chest. Yes--a stroke of genius on my part. AND it is just as much a gift to myself as it is to him--this way, maybe the basement will FINALLY get cleaned up. I can only hope. Of course, I had to have someone bring the thing to the Jimmy and load it into the back--which COMPLETELY blocked the back window. I didn't like driving like that--it just feels so unsafe. And I KNEW I couldn't get the darn thing into the house, so I decided that K had to get the gift early. As soon as he got home from work--he was called in to do 4 hours of overtime--I had him look at the tool chest and decide if he liked it or not. I was going to make him take it back himself if he didn't like it! Long story even longer: he was very pleased and it is now sitting in the basement where it belongs. I got him a couple of other little things, also, so he will still have gifts to open on Christmas Eve. Have to save SOMETHING for then!

We still have to do some grocery shopping for the weekend. It would be nice to know if the youngest and her husband were going to be here for more than one day, but I don't think I will know till tomorrow night at the earliest. We have to do a Wal Mart run, too--can't run out of toilet paper on Christmas day!

K will have to run the gifts up to the oldest one's house on Wednesday. I would like to go, but I still have some gift-giving baking to do. And if I don't go, I won't have to go to The Parent's. If K goes there and gives them money for Christmas, I can't do a thing about it--if I am with him, we will have a fight. Not a good thing at this time of year. Such is my life.

Our weather has turned colder, but it doesn't seem as if we will get much snow. Looks like we might actually have a brown Christmas. So very strange for us. It doesn't seem like Christmas without the snow.

There is a good chance I will post again before Christmas, but many of you will be too busy to get online for awhile. To those people, I want to wish a very Merry and Blessed Christmas--may it be joyous and may all your wishes be fulfilled. To those who will be back: I offer the same sentiments, but I will probably do more as it gets closer to Christmas. You just never know.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Ten More Days


Yes, people, only ten more days till Christmas. I'm chomping at the bit just waiting for it to be over! Then I only have to get through New Year's and K's birthday on the 4th and everything will be over for another year. YAY!

Part of my problem is the fact that I have no idea what to get K for Christmas OR his birthday. I thought everything was decided when he said we should get a flat-panel TV as a Christmas gift for 'us' this year. Now, the fact that I very nearly NEVER sit in the living room to watch TV matters very little to me--if HE was happy with that, I was happy. As if I really NEED anything that I just don't go out and get for myself, anyway. I have no idea what I would like as a Christmas gift this year, so a flat-panel TV to keep him happy was good enough for me. ( I DO want a Nintendo Wii, but K NEVER buys me the tech gadgets I want--and I'm happy with that. I know tech gadgets better than he does and would rather just get them myself.) Now all of a sudden it seems as if he is backing off from getting the TV before Christmas--I think he feels as if the prices will drop drastically in January, so he will wait. I suppose he is right. And he also is making 'jewelry' noises at me--I just can't imagine what he will buy this year. Maybe he will just replace the necklace that I lost. Hmmm.

Talked to the youngest daughter and it seems as if we won't see them till Christmas Day. Now, I am happy that they will be around, it just would be nice to have them here on Christmas Eve--that is when we actually DO things. I guess The Family will have them--I'm sure they are absolutely delighted that she picked THEM over us. I can't fault her too much: defying The Mother takes a lot of living and self control--something that doesn't come at her early age. I'll be happy to have them whenever they get here.

Watched the Wings and Blackhawks play last night and the Wings won. YAY!! I don't know if it's my imagination or not, but there seems to be something special, different, BETTER when two of the original six teams play each other. Unfortunately, we don't get to see too many games where Detroit plays an original six team--they are in different conferences. Another Detroit player was hurt last night--Kopecky. He got checked, got tangled up in the other player's stick, and went shoulder-first into the boards. He broke his collarbone, but it could have been much worse if he went in head-first. I don't even want to think about how bad of an injury THAT could have been. It seems as if losing a couple of teeth during a game--which a Wing did a couple of weeks ago--are the 'good' games! Don't know WHY all of the serious injuries. A tough game to play.

Cindi has finally been able to post comments--YAY! I don't have any idea what was wrong. Maybe there was some kind of bug in Blogger and they fixed it. I sure hope it STAYS fixed.

I have something going on with my desktop and PDA. I can't figure out WHAT the problem is, but it seems to center around my Documents To Go program. When I try to synch, the PDA freezes. So, I decided to delete the program and reinstall, thinking this would help. WRONG! I am able to delete it from the PDA, but I can't from the computer. Actually, when I try to delete using install/uninstall programs, it freezes. When I try to uninstall using the Documents To Go uninstall utility, I'm told it is already uninstalled. Great. I looked online for a solution, but didn't find anything too helpful. The only thing I could find for the error message I have gotten is that spyware, malware, a bug, Trojan horse, or other kind of nasty is on my computer. I used numerous programs to scan my system and nothing showed up. I guess I have more searching to do. I COULD try synching by using my laptop, but I don't want to cause problems there, too. I love using the computer, but I am so over the love of trying to fix problems! Maybe I'll just hire someone to clean this machine up.


I want to thank Cindi and Burg for the compliments on our Christmas tree. I has taken me many, many, many years to get it to look the way it does--and it doesn't change from year to year. I guess if it works... :)

Throughout this post I have put close-up pics of some of the ornaments on the tree--as per requests from Cindi and Burg. (Sorry some of them are a TOUCH out of focus. I guess I SHOULD have used the tripod after all.) Anyway, the 'stained glass' ornaments have become the focus of some interest, so here is their story. I made these 23 years ago. I was pregnant for my youngest and I remember sitting at the breakfast nook table putting them together. I purchased these as kits and haven't seen them anywhere since. The kits consisted of metal frames (aluminum or something equally as lightweight) and different colored plastic beads. The beads were quite small, so they wouldn't have been too good for very young children. It was almost like a paint-by-number kit--the different colored beads were placed in the designated areas of the frames and then the ornaments were put in the oven to 'bake' which caused the beads to melt and become smooth and 'glass-like.' I had bought the kits from a local chain-store and I don't believe they ever had the kits after that one year. Now, we don't have any hobby stores such as Hobby Lobby here locally, so I don't know if the kits or the materials would be available in places like that. If anyone finds these, I would love to know--I would make some for my girls. The main reason my tree is decorated the way it is was because of our kids: I wanted unbreakable ornaments so they couldn't hurt themselves.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Christmas Tree

Here is a picture of our Christmas tree. As I said, I made all of the ornaments. The snowflakes--and other white ornaments--are crocheted and the 'stained glass' ornaments are actually made from plastic crystals and then baked. They are nicer looking than they sound--if you don't get too close, they look like real stained glass.

A Christmas Meme

I will not tag anyone specifically with this meme--everyone reading this can consider themselves tagged!


1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Definitely hot chocolate—egg nog is ‘ewwie!’

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Presents are ALWAYS wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No

5. When do you put your decorations up? I have always tried to get them up on Thanksgiving weekend—that way I could take them down on December 26 without any guilt!

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? We never have had a traditional Christmas meal---not our thing.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child. I don’t have many Christmas memories from my childhood—so, no, there isn’t a favorite memory. My LEAST favorite memory goes like this: I ALWAYS searched for my Christmas presents. The Mother always hid them in their closet and I would look for them whenever they left the house. AND it didn’t matter if they were wrapped or not! I became an expert at unwrapping and rewrapping without anyone knowing the difference. So, anyway, this one year I found and unwrapped EVERY present that was mine, so that, on Christmas, there were NO surprises left. That was the last year I searched for my gifts.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? The year I couldn’t get to sleep and I heard The Parents putting the gifts under the tree. It had to have been when I was in fourth or fifth grade.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Ever since the girls were old enough to not believe anymore, we have opened all of our gifts on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Basically in white with white lights—everything on the tree (except for the lights and garland) I made.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Don’t really mind it—especially since I usually don’t HAVE to leave the house.

12. Can you ice skate? I used to—haven’t been for many, many years.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I think it was my three-stone diamond necklace from K. It was a hard holiday—on the outs with The Family as well as with at least one of the girls. The love it conveyed meant more to me than words can say.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?! I’m sorry to put it this way but, the most important thing to me is that they will be over soon and I can get on with my life. I HATE the holidays.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Cranberry bread—which I haven’t made in toooo long of a time.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I always loved being in church on Christmas Eve for the candlelight service—something we haven’t done in far too long. My other favorite tradition is spending Christmas Eve at our friends’ house—we didn’t make it one year and it just didn’t seem as if the season was complete!

17. What tops your tree? An angel—which I made quite a few years ago.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? I love to give and always wish I could give more. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to spend, without limit, on those I love. But it is also VERY much fun to receive!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I don’t believe I have a favorite—I love all of the Christmas hymns—especially sung during a candlelight service.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? ! I don’t particularly care one way or another.

21. Favorite Christmas Show? I DO enjoy ‘A Christmas Story.’ I have seen it so many times that I can quote lines from it and laugh! ‘Fragile! Must be Italian!’ ‘You’ll shoot your eye out!’ Funny, funny movie.

22. Saddest Christmas Song? Most Christmas songs that AREN’T ‘Jingle Bell Rock’—or anything like it—have the tendency to make me melancholy. So, any of the traditional ones can make me sad. But, then, that is what the holidays are about to me: sadness. (Sorry for being such a downer!) :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blogger, JibJab, and Geico--and, Of Course, Hockey

I just found out from reading Cindi's blog (Somewhere Over The Rainbow) that she has been having some problems posting comments here. Hmm. Is anyone else having problems these days? I guess if you can't leave a comment, just email me at outofmymind.cmk@gmail.com. Don't know what could be wrong OR how to fix it. If it is a big problem maybe someone could let Blogger know?!?! This just may be my incentive to switch to Haloscan for my comments. I'll have to give it some more thought and probably change after the first of the year.

JibJab has put up their newest video--a review of the year 2006 (Nuckin' Futs). It is pretty good--I usually laugh at whatever they do. Their 'Deck the Halls' is good for a chuckle, too.

I'm sure everyone has (or is it 'have'?) seen the Geico commercials with the 'real' people and the celebrities--well, it turns out that the 'real' people ARE actually real! mental_floss commented on this today and here is the story.

The weather continues to be warm here--again it was in the 40s. It is so strange to have it be this warm AND have it rain. The temp won't be going down too much over the next five days or so. If we don't get any snow, Santa won't have a place to land his sleigh!

I have been watching as much hockey as I can--about three games a week. The Wings lost tonight, but they made a valiant effort: they were losing 3-0 and came back to end the game at 3-2. Not too bad--could have been better and definitely could have been worse. They now have a streak of 140 some odd games without being shut out--not too shabby. I think they finally are getting their act together and are being a bit more consistent with their play--I think they will do well in the standings at the end of the season.

On the hockey topic: I lost my 'hockey' necklace last week and can't figure out how or where. It was a gold chain with a Red Wing emblem/pendant on it. I am absolutely devastated--K gave them to me and I hate to lose anything he gives me--not to mention how much he spent on the darn things! I just keep hoping that, somehow, it will miraculously show up one of these days.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Moving On Along

Two weeks till Christmas and we continue with the doctor's appointments. K went in for the physical with the internist today and came out with an okay report. The doc said everything is looking pretty good, but he still will be doing a number of tests. I really think 2007 will be the year of medical appointments for K--and he only has himself to blame! (I hope that doesn't sound too harsh--I didn't mean it to!) Anyway, K will be having an ultrasound on Wednesday to look for peripheral artery disease--NOT because he has any symptoms but because two of his siblings have it. He also has to have a stress test next month--mostly as a follow-up to the LAST one he had eight years ago. He never had the second one like the doctor wanted, so he has to do it now. Also, the doc said a colonoscopy is on the list to be done--but probably won't happen for a few months, at least. Tomorrow he goes for the entire spectrum of usual blood tests and then gets to see the internist in a month to go over all of the results. Until all tests are completed and everything going on with him is stabilized, I think he will be having monthly appointments, if not more often.

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes--we appreciate all of the prayers and good thoughts. Leazwell asked if K will have to go on dialysis, but I don't think that is in consideration right now. The nephrologist seemed to be pretty certain that some of the kidney function will be able to be restored--just not all of it. And he still seemed to be thinking that the damage was done from high blood pressure--and now that K has that under control, no more damage should be done. At least, I HOPE this is the case. We just have to wait and see. And, really, the strangest thing about all of this is the fact that K never felt sick or bad in any way. I guess that just goes to show that high blood pressure really IS a silent killer!

On to other things. I finally got all of the Christmas decorating done. I put up the tree and decorated it tonight, so that is finished. I usually don't go this long before finishing, but this has been a strange year. I'll try to remember to take a picture of the tree and post it.

The weather has been really nice here for the past few days. The temps have been in the 40s and the snow is melting like crazy. I like having this weather when I have to go out and do shopping, but the ski hills and the people who depend on snowmobilers and other winter recreation tourists aren't very happy. I don't mind if it doesn't snow till Christmas Eve.

Today I was talking to C and she was telling me how she has to study up on how to use the remote control for the cable box. She has to set the parental controls because the 2-year-old ordered a movie the other day--AND he recorded it on the digital recorder! She doesn't know HOW he did it, because she said neither her nor her husband have a clue how to do it! I just don't know why she isn't gray and why she hasn't gone completely insane.

It seems as if a gray squirrel has decided to make our attic its home for the winter. We have been hearing the scratching for awhile and K finally went in the attic and saw it. We have to figure out how it got in, trap it, and then block off the entry. I wonder if this means I can't feed the squirrels anymore?

A couple of days ago one of the guys that K and I graduated with, died. Now, we hadn't seen him since we graduated, but it kind of affected us as he is the first of our class to die. (Actually, he is the SECOND--K's twin brother died as the result of a motorcycle/car accident when he was 21. A bit different than natural causes or age-related.) I'm not sure WHAT he died of (it WASN'T an accident), but it really brought our mortality to mind--this on top of all of the medical things happening. The doctor told K today, "I guess if you would have known you were going to live this long you would have taken better care of yourself, huh?" This he said with a smile. Of course, no truer words could have been spoken. (And, yes, it is an old joke.) :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Crazy Tired

I know this is going to sound SOOOOOO selfish and self-centered, but K's stay in the hospital yesterday has made me absolutely exhausted! Sometimes I think a hospital visit is as hard on the family as it is on the person who actually is there for a reason! Anyway, here is the run-down of yesterday:

We got to the hospital before 5:30am, as we were told to. (Of course, this meant I had to get up by 4:00 in order to be ready in time!) We were sent to a room where blood was drawn and all of the preliminaries took place--all of which took about a half hour--and then we sat and waited beginning at about 6:00. Every so often--take that as reading 'once or twice'--a nurse would show up and do a blood pressure reading, but other than that, we sat and stared at the ceiling, the TV, out the window at the cold, dark world, or each other. FINALLY, at shortly after 9:00, they came to get K to go for his procedure. He was scheduled for the biopsy to be done at 8:30, but I don't think ANYONE knows how to tell time in that place! While I was expecting K to be brought into an operating room, we were, instead, brought to the ultrasound lab and put in a procedure room. (I keep using the word procedure because this illustrates just how trivial everyone seemed to think this biopsy was! And I don't mean to imply that anyone thought it wasn't serious, it's just that they seemed to feel, in the whole scheme of things, that a biopsy is quite routine and not to be considered a major thing.) Once he was settled into the room, we had to wait for them to find a nurse to assist the doctor! Unbelievable! Anyway, the doctor, nurse, and ultrasound technician--this was called an 'ultrasound guided biopsy'--came in and started to get things ready. All this time, I was standing there and NO ONE ASKED ME TO LEAVE THE ROOM! I believe I would have been allowed to stay, but I quickly removed myself--I don't need to see anyone stick a long needle into my husband's back--EVER! So, the procedure took less than thirty minutes, went well, and we were back in the hospital room shortly after 10:00. And then the LONG wait began! We finally left the hospital around 6:00pm--and THAT almost didn't happen because K's hemoglobin had gone down too much when they did his noontime blood work. Thankfully, the count was up slightly at 5:00 when they drew blood--otherwise, he would have wound up staying the night! He was more than thrilled to be able to sleep in his own house last night.

Now, for the results: NONE!!!! And we won't know anything for at least two weeks! The doctor is hoping the holidays won't interfere with getting results back, but he's not counting on it. What we DO know: K's kidneys are only working at 30%--not 70% as we thought. There definitely is damage and the doctor is pretty sure it is from uncontrolled high blood pressure. He also is sure there is permanent damage, although he thinks some of it CAN be reversed. As to how much might be able to be reversed, we won't know till POSSIBLY after the results come back. So, right now I'm going with the good thoughts: there is nothing other than high blood pressure that caused any damage and keeping the BP under control will keep any more damage from happening. I think K realizes that WE will have to undergo a drastic--though gradual--lifestyle change. I almost think this might be harder on me than it is on him, as I have to do the food prep, but it is something we have to do. We have our work cut out for us and the next few months will be very interesting.

Today, K is still doing a lot of sleeping. They only gave him a mild sedative and pain meds for the biopsy, but the emotional beating he took has him unbelievably tired. He also feels as if George Foreman punched him as hard as he could in the left kidney--it is quite difficult for him to get around very easily. But he should be fine by the time he has to go back to work on Thursday. He doesn't have to see the nephrologist on Monday as was scheduled, because there just won't be anything for him to tell. K does still have to go for his physical appointment with the internist on Monday and the nephrologist will be there in the office also, in case the internist needs to talk to him. It all just seems too complicated. I have a feeling K will be coming home with at least one more test scheduled: a colonoscopy! He is NOT going to be a happy camper.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Talking Geek With A Gynecologist

Well, I had my annual tech talk/gynecological exam today and everything is about where it belongs--that is, everything on/in my body--except everything is a bit more south this year than it was last year. The passing of time has the tendency to do that. It always amazes me that I have my longest and most interesting geek conversations with my GYN. He is trying to convince me to build my own computer--he built his a couple of years ago--and I truly think he would be disappointed if I go back next year and haven't done it. Something for me to think about, for sure.

Only a day plus a few hours and K and I will be at the hospital for his kidney biopsy. I hope they get to him on time--which will be 8:30 am--so that there will be no reason for him to stay overnight. He has never been in the hospital, so I don't think he would be too happy about staying. Besides, it is always better to be in your own bed whenever possible.

The snow just keeps right on a-coming here. We are under a snow and blowing snow advisory right now. There are predictions of up to 8 more inches through tomorrow. I hope it stops because K is already worried about what will happen if he can't take care of the driveway. Things should start slowing down by Friday, however.

I STILL haven't gotten much further with my decorating. It just seems to be such a chore--especially with all I have on my mind. I'm pretty sure I will be done by the weekend, though.

And, finally, for those who haven't heard: Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn have broken up. Can we all say a collective "Who gives a damn!"? I can't believe this made headlines!

Monday, December 04, 2006

All The Craziness

Yes, people, I am still here. Quite a few things have been going on, but I think what has been keeping me occupied so much lately is what is GOING to happen. It is amazing just how inactive physically we can become (well, me, anyway) when we have a lot on our minds--especially things that can be frightening. So, to explain a little about that truly strange statement, here we go!

K got a call from the nephrologist last week and he is going to have to undergo a kidney biopsy this Friday. His kidneys are working at only 70%, so the doctor wants to go in and see if he can figure out the cause. K has been through all of the blood and urine tests and ultrasound, so the next thing to do is this. Of course, being the stoic and stubborn Finn that he is, we don't share too much in the talking department. (And I don't bring up upsetting topics because I don't want to cause/have any angry confrontations. Not good.) Communication about very important and frightening things has never been one of the better aspects of our marriage and we are not doing much better in that department as of late. One of the good things about being married as long as we have is the fact that I can read him pretty well most of the time, so I know he is concerned. He IS having some difficulty sleeping--has the tendency to wake up and not get back to sleep--and he actually HAS made some off-hand remarks about 'waiting' till all of this is over. So far, there is NO indication that his problems are diabetes-related at all--something I have been concerned about because his mother had very bad Type-II diabetes. The doctor is concerned that K has had untreated high blood pressure for long enough that it caused some kidney damage. Well, if there are no answers on Friday, K has to see both the internist AND nephrologist on Monday, so I am hoping they can give some then. If nothing else, this whole thing has been a good lesson in how important it is to have a primary care physician and to see him/her on a regular basis.

Saw my PCP last Monday and I am back on blood pressure meds for the duration. I really think I finally have to realize that I will never get off of them--and that isn't too bad cause it COULD be much worse. My anemia has reared its ugly head again, so I probably will be on iron pills for always, too. Again, it COULD be much worse. I get to have more blood work right after Christmas--have to check on that pesky old thyroid--and then I will see him again in three months. I can handle three-month visits--just don't care for the monthly ones.

So, I had a birthday on Tuesday--and that is about how exciting the day was! :) Although, I received MORE cards and well-wishes this year than I have gotten for quite a while--and I TRULY appreciated it. K bought me a new white-gold chain--needed a shorter length for some of my pendants--and C and her family sent me flowers. A dear friend made me two evergreen sprays for the front and back doors and another friend gave me some wonderful gifts, one of which was an antique cookie cutter for my kitchen-utensil collection! I also got cards and a phone call from the youngest daughter--who sang 'Happy Birthday' to me. All in all, a low-key day, but happy nonetheless. Now I'm done for another year.

K and I went out one day last week and did at least 75% of our Christmas shopping. With all of the medical things going on, we will not be able to get out of town to shop, so we had to do it locally. I am happy to say that I have only a little more shopping to do and then I am done. It REALLY helped this year for us to decide that the grandkids are getting money for their savings accounts and books as gifts--no more of all that other 'crap' that they will never play with or break before the New Year. C is absolutely thrilled with our decision as she just doesn't have room for more stuff for six kids! I probably will have to do a little online shopping--which I should get done tonight--and that will be that! Hooray!

I am plodding along with my Christmas decorating. I usually am all done with it by this time--I try to have it done during the Thanksgiving weekend--but just can't get myself in gear this year. Again, I am waiting for everything to be over with so that I can get out of this funk. I should be able to get most of it done today.

We now have winter. Over the weekend we got six to ten inches here in the city and I have no doubt that it is here to stay. I was hoping it would hold off for another week or two, but it didn't. While I don't mind the snow, I don't particularly like driving in it. But, of course, it IS much better with the four-wheel drive than without, so it isn't too bad for most of the winter. There really are very few days during the year that are iffy when it comes to driving, and I usually don't have to go anywhere then. I STILL can't believe we went for so many years without an SUV--what fools we were!

K's brother was in town last week to have surgery for peripheral artery disease. K had to bring him home the following day, so his days off were pretty well filled with hospitals and driving. While he doesn't mind the driving in the least, I'm sure he didn't need the reminder that he will be in the hospital himself THIS week.

I have my annual GYN appointment this week and THAT is always good for a few laughs! After all, what woman DOESN'T like having a strange man look at, and feel, parts of her body that neither her husband or HERSELF have ever seen or touched! That appointment is ALWAYS the high-light of my year! Thank goodness I like my doctor so much, or I don't know if I would EVER go to the appointment without first taking a massive dose of Xanax.

And, finally, C called the other night when she got home from the emergency room. Yes, the two-year-old boy had to be taken in because he shoved a popcorn kernel up his nose and she couldn't get it out. I am trying to understand WHAT is is about males that they are CONSTANTLY thinking about only one thing: sticking something into body orifices! (And, yes, that is a VERY dirty reference!) :D

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And Is MY Face Red!!!!

I don't usually pass on stories or 'facts' that I get by email until I verify them by going to Snopes or other sources. That is why I am totally embarrassed by my last post: Red pointed out that none of the 'cases' sited in the post were true. I hadn't bothered to look them up before passing them along--sorry everyone! So, to make up for my last post, I will offer the winners of the 2005 Stella Awards--THE REAL ONES! They are just as ridiculous and outrageous as the made-up ones. Enjoy and get mad. :

The TRUE Stella Awards -- 2005 Winners
by Randy Cassingham
Issued 31 January 2006

Unlike the FAKE cases that have been highly circulated online for the
last several years (see http://www.StellaAwards.com/bogus.html for
details), the following cases have been researched from public sources
and are confirmed TRUE by the ONLY legitimate source for the Stella
Awards: www.StellaAwards.com . To confirm this copy is legitimate, see
http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html

-v-

2005 Runners-Up and Winner:

#7: Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the
Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to
it when he sat down. "This is not Home Depot's fault," he proclaimed,
yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty
complained that offer is "insulting" and filed suit demanding $3
million.

#6: Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven
by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the
Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers
arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered
brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess
that's reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who
risked their lives to save hers.

#5: Michelle Knepper of Vancouver, Wash. Knepper picked a doctor out of
the phone book to do her liposuction, and went ahead with the
procedure even though the doctor was only a dermatologist, not a
plastic surgeon. After having complications, she complained she never
would have chosen that doctor had she known he wasn't Board Certified
in the procedure. (She relied on the phonebook listing over asking the
doctor, or looking for a certificate on his wall?!) So she sued ...the
phone company! She won $1.2 million PLUS $375,000 for her husband for
"loss of spousal services and companionship."

#4: Rhonda Nichols. She says a wild bird "attacked" her outside a home
improvement store in Fairview Heights, Ill., causing head injuries.
That's right: OUTSIDE the store. Yet Nichols still held the Lowe's
store responsible for "allowing" wild birds to fly around free in the
air. She never reported the incident to the store, but still sued for
"at least" $100,000 in damages. In January 2006, the case was thrown
out of court.

#3: Barnard Lorence of Stuart, Fla. Lorence managed to overdraw his own
bank account. When the bank charged him a service fee for the
overdraft, he filed suit over his "stress and pain" and loss of sleep
over the fee. A few hundred thousand bucks, he says, will only amount
to a "slap on the wrist", whereas the $2 million he's suing for is
more like being "paddled". Kinky!

#2: Wanita "Renea" Young of Durango, Colo. Two neighborhood teens baked
cookies for their neighbors as an anonymous gesture of good will, but
Young got scared when she heard them on her front porch. They
apologized, in writing, but Young sued them anyway for causing her
distress, demanding $3,000. When she won(!!) $900, she crowed about it
in the newspaper and on national TV. Now, she's shocked (shocked!)
that everyone in town hates her for her spite, and is afraid she may
have to move. But hey: she won.

AND THE WINNER of the 2005 Stella Award: Christopher Roller of
Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he
sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their
secrets to him -- or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong
earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and
$2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the
magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using "godly
powers" -- and since ROLLER is god (according to him), they're
"somehow" stealing that power from him.

TO CONFIRM THE VALIDITY OF THESE CASES, get more information on the True Stella Awards, or sign up for a free e-mail subscription to new cases
as they are issued, see http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html

Copyright 2006 www.StellaAwards.com . This message may be forwarded as
long as it remains complete and unaltered.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Some People Shouldn't Reproduce

NOTICE: None of these stories are true. To read my apology, explanation, and retraction, see the post on 26 November 2006. Here is the link.

To read my reply to the commentator 'never forward a chain letter,' you will find the post here.

Here is my original post:


Not only should these 'winners' not be allowed to reproduce, the lawyers and juries should be sterilized, also. I give to you, the "Stella Awards":



Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States.

Here are this year's winners:

5th Place (tie):
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.

5th Place (tie):
19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th Place (tie):
Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed, to the tune of $500,000.

4th Place:
Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who had climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3rd Place:
A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500. She slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2ndPlace:
Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

1st Place:
This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back & make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs.Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.

Black Friday

I still am among the living--despite my lack of posts. We managed to eat ourselves into oblivion the last few days and it just continues: leftovers again tonight! Instead of the traditional Thursday meal, I cooked on Wednesday. It was so nice to be all done with the cooking and clean-up before everyone else had even STARTED to cook! I got to relax and do nothing yesterday as K relaxed and watched football--surprisingly, not a much different day than any others we have around here. :)

Today, as everyone knows, is Black Friday--the busiest shopping day of the year. The last time I went out shopping on Black Friday was five years ago. Youngest daughter and I figured we would give it a go and wound up shopping our little hearts out. She really got into the spirit of the day--she ran, sprinted, and elbowed others out of her way in pursuit of the almighty gifts we were hunting down. We had an absolute great time that day. That was only the second time I have faced the early-morning crowds and it just probably is my last. I checked out the ads this year and didn't really find much of anything I was interested it. I couldn't justify standing in a line at 4:30am just to get something I didn't really need and wasn't going to give as a gift. Oh, well, I guess I'm not all that much of a bargain hunter. Besides, five years ago was the last time I gave gifts to The Family--why give gifts to people who you don't see and don't talk to, right?

Speaking of gifts, I pretty much am sure what we're giving this year--and it isn't all that hard to figure out as we have a VERY short list. We only give to our children, grandchildren, goddaughter, and a couple of close friends--makes for an easy shopping experience! Anyway, we are giving money and books to the grandchildren, money and something little to the girls, and will save the special shopping for our friends. The grandkids don't need any more toys--and there isn't anything they want really badly--and the girls can always use the money, so we figured we would keep it easy and simple this year. And that's fine by me. I can actually do most, if not all, of my shopping online--which is ALSO fine with me! However, we WILL be doing a couple of road trips--a day run to Milwaukee and an over-nighter to Appleton. I can't stay away from Barnes & Noble at Christmastime!

During the month of May 2007, The Lion King will be playing at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton--AND WE GOT TICKETS! Our friends, her sister and husband, and we will be there watching the spectacle that is The Lion King the end of May--I can't wait. Youngest daughter saw the play in Toronto a few years back and STILL can't stop talking about how amazing it was. This should be a lot of fun--shopping AND a play all in the same trip! Who could ask for anything more!

Not much to report on the health front with K or me. My dr took me off of the blood pressure meds that were causing me to be sick--thank goodness--and I see him on Monday to discuss where we go from here. K is still going through testing in anticipation of his appointments on the 11th of December--he sees the internist at 8:00am and the nephrologist at 9:15--so I'm hoping we will then have some solid answers about his health. I'm not too worried--he says he is feeling very well and better than he did when all of this started.

I am feeling my old 'scrinchiness'*coming over me. I should really begin the Christmas decorating and I just don't feel like it. I probably WON'T, but I sure feel like not doing a damn bit of decorating at all this year--it just doesn't seem worth it. We'll see if I can get myself out of this funk--yeah, right--and get it together. I really haven't felt THIS 'scrinchy' in several years--I have to try and figure out WHY and then, maybe, I can work my way out of it.

Tomorrow night a very good friend of mine is taking me out for dinner in celebration of my birthday--even though my birthday isn't for a few more days. It is kind of a tradition between us--we take the other out every year for a birthday dinner. It will be nice to eat something besides turkey, already.

Tonight AND tomorrow night I get to watch the Wings play--they played on Wednesday night and lost, again. I won't even discuss Wednesday's game--let's just say they screwed themselves out of a win and leave it at that. I hope they can pull themselves together tonight and play like they were playing a week ago! Only time will tell.


*Scrinchy: a cross between Scrooge and the Grinch.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Things ARE Getting Better

Just a few updates:

--The guy just came to pick up the snow blower. Now we just have to wait for him to get around to checking everything out and fixing what needs to be fixed. All this could take a week or so. Hopefully, we won't have any storms so that the damn thing will actually be NEEDED before we get it back! I guess K will just have to take care of the thing earlier next year--after all, it isn't as if we are SURPRISED that we get snow every year. I don't know why this is one of those things that gets put off till the last minute--kind of like Christmas shopping.

--K had his appointment with the nephrologist on Monday. The guy said--what we kind of were thinking ourselves--that the kidney-thing was probably due to the fact that K was sick at the time of the blood work. That being said, he still wanted to do more tests just to be sure--after all, it HAS been 8 years since K has been to see the doc, so there is no way of knowing how long his blood pressure has been high. And high blood pressure can cause kidney damage--something I didn't know. Anyway, K had an ultrasound of his kidneys this morning and will see the nephrologist in about a month--that is, as long as the ultrasound doesn't show anything major going on. So, again, it is a wait-and-see sort of thing. I'm not as upset about the waiting anymore--I figure if there was something the drs were REALLY concerned about--something that would be considered life-or-death--they would be hauling K into the office IMMEDIATELY!

--The dr took me off of the blood pressure med because of the side-effects I was having--THANK GOODNESS! I am feeling MUCH better since going off and I hope he won't put me on anything else--or, if he has to, I want to go back on what I was on a year ago. I REALLY don't think I need anything, as my numbers have been okay, except for the spikes--small AND large--I get during times of stress. I've been doing quite well for the last week without anything.

--The oldest daughter decided to bring home a 10-week-old puppy last Friday. Into a house with: two adults, five kids, one half-time kid, and a full-grown dog. The puppy only visited for the weekend, because she was told by her husband--in NO uncertain terms--that she WOULD bring the puppy back on Monday. She is royally pissed. I agree with her husband: they didn't need to have anything else brought into their lives at this point!

--The youngest daughter and her husband have decided to keep the kitten she took in to foster. They now have two dogs--60 pounds each--two full-grown cats, and the kitten. All I can hope is that she doesn't become pregnant any time soon--there would no place for them to put a baby!

--STILL haven't figured out what is going on for Thanksgiving. All I know is that we WILL be here in town for the day and that I will cook. I just don't know if I will be cooking on Wednesday or Thursday--and I don't know if K will be working or not. He hasn't decided if he wants to take the vacation day or carry it over till next year. Doesn't matter to me either way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Snowblowers, Escondido, Innocent Man, AND Hockey

--K has waited for the last two days for the snow blower to be picked up for servicing. It is still sitting outside and we have YET to hear from the guy as to why he hasn't been here. I don't understand why some people in business can't even do the barest minimum of customer service--such as calling and saying they are sorry, but something came up! We might not be happy that the service wasn't being provided in the timely matter we wanted, but at least we would know that they still wanted our business! K is STILL waiting for a guy to come and give us an estimate for a new driveway--FIVE YEARS AFTER THE FACT! I don't think he is coming.

--On Tuesday the new CD by Eric Clapton and JJ Cale came out and I LOVE it! (But, as I have said before, I would love listening to EC sing the damn phone book!) It is called The Road to Escondido and it is a bit hard to explain--it's a nice blend of blues, jazz, country, rock. Cale wrote 11 of the songs and they both sing and play--along with a roster of some great musicians. Nice music.

--I'm reading the new book by John Grisham, An Innocent Man. This is his first non-fiction book and it is really good--has the tendency to read like a novel. I hope it continues to be as good--I'm not quite halfway through. But like my love for anything EC does, I love Grisham's writing and will read anything he does.

--On Wednesday, the fall 'season' of Lost ended with a cliffhanger--DUH! The show will take a break until February when it will have 16 more episodes. I'm not too sure if this whole idea is a good thing. I'm really rather disappointed in the season so far. I think the show is being dragged out way too much and I'm getting too impatient to sit through the same storyline over and over and over again. Let's get some things going and then I will be more enthused about coming back to the show in February! But then, something may come on that interests me more and I may NOT be back watching the show. Hmmm.

--Speaking of shows that have been disappointing lately, I have to add Gilmore Girls in the mix. If the show doesn't get any better pretty darn soon, I may have to stop watching. And if I stop watching in the middle of the season, you can bet I WON'T be buying the DVD when it comes out! I keep hoping that the ones in charge know what they are doing and that things will work out in the end. Just have to wait and see.

--The Red Wings player that got hurt the other night, Jason Williams, WAS knocked unconscious for a moment or two when he hit the ice. He suffered a concussion and received 30 stitches. What a way to make a living!

--And finally, the Wings won again last night--their eighth straight win! They are doing quite well--something I didn't think was going to happen by the way the season started. One of the reasons they are doing so well is that they are leading the NHL with allowing the fewest shots--after all, if the opposing team can't shoot at the goal, they can't score. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Owie!

Last night while watching the Red Wings play--they won their seventh straight game!--I saw something that I had never seen in all the years I have been following hockey. In the second period, one of the Wings' players, Jason Williams, was coming around the back of the Oilers' net, trying to score. He was watching one of the Oilers and didn't see another one coming at him. The player he didn't see, came in and hit him in the face with his shoulder--it was a legal check--and Williams went flying through the air and landed on his face onto the ice. And he just laid there on the ice, not moving. Then, of course, all hell broke loose as doctors, trainers, medics, etc, went to see how badly he was injured. There was quite a bit of blood on the ice, but all that could be seen were the people surrounding him. It was quite scary and tense for several minutes. After the stretcher was brought out, the camera managed to show him moving his left foot--at least this proved he wasn't paralyzed and was conscious. An ambulance was brought right up to the ice and they took him off with the stretcher. As they were moving toward the ambulance, he waved to the crowd, indicating that he wasn't as bad as it looked. He was brought to a hospital for some tests and stitches and he will be fine. He is expected to miss a couple of games before returning to play.

As I said, I am so surprised that this is the first time I have seen anything so frightening while watching a game. I started watching hockey before the rule changes--back when a 'good' hockey game included at least one fight...WITH blood. The game today is so much less aggressive--but, then, the whole incident had absolutely nothing to do with a fight or any wrong-doing on anyone's part. Even though I don't in any way believe that athletes are worth the enormous salaries they get, I guess there just is no amount of money that is worth the kind of injury this player could have sustained in last night's game. Jason Williams is only 26 years old.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thought It Would Happen Sooner

Yes, I know, I'm jumping on the bandwagon with every other gossip rag and news source, but I just HAD to announce the news: Britney has filed papers to divorce K-Fed! Oh, what a tragedy!

As if everyone didn't see this coming from the first time the news reported on them. I REALLY feel so sorry for the children. Those two pieces of white-trash were made for each other--too bad they reproduced. Oh, well, it will be interesting to see what produces more headlines--Britney and K-Fed or the election! (Now all we have to do is wait for the inevitable break-up of Brangelina.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thanks

Thanks to all for the well-wishes and concern. I know all will turn out right and not be as serious as I worry it will be. I will keep everyone informed as to what is going on. Have a good week!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Long, Boring Story

Here is what has been happening around here, in chronological order:

--A week ago Thursday, K went to the walk-in clinic to be checked out because of his cough.

--He was told he had a viral-thing that is going around and it will go away on its own.

--He ALSO was told his blood pressure was VERY high and needed to see a primary care physician ASAP. He hasn't seen his PCP--who is also MY PCP--in eight years. The physician's assistant gave him a prescription for BP meds.

--Friday at 7:30am I called the dr's office to set up an appointment for him--NOT because he couldn't do it himself, but because I was awake! :) They said the dr would be given the notes and reports from the walk-in clinic and decide from there what is to be done.

--At 9:00am the PA called from the walk-in clinic to say the lab results showed some possible kidney problem and he needed to be seen right away by a PCP. He said he would call the dr's office and get them moving along.

--At 2:30pm, a half hour before the dr's office closes for the weekend, the PA called to say that K needed to come in and sign papers so that his reports could be sent to the dr's office.

--Not realizing that the dr's office closed early on Friday, K didn't go to sign the papers until 3:30--not that it would have made any difference if he went any earlier, I believe.

--Through the weekend, I monitored his BP and the meds were helping--his pressure was elevated but not at the terribly high levels they had been. His pulse rate came down, also.

--HOWEVER, MY pressures went up--higher than they had ever been--because of the stress.

--I went for my physical on Monday and the second the nurse saw me, she began explaining what was going on. The dr wanted K to see a nephrologist first to see what was going on with his kidneys and THEN he would see K and do a complete physical to rule out any other problems. She told me to make the appointments on the way out and she would tell them at the appointment desk that I would do so.

--My physical went about the way I expected: I'm fairly healthy despite the chronic problems I have--blood pressure, thyroid, weight issues. I got the same old, same old 'diet and exercise' routine, which I was expecting. I will be having more lab work in two weeks to look at my thyroid and make sure my anemia is fine. Of course, he went crazy when he saw my BP--and I let him know it was because of the stress I was under because of K's health. I needed him to know that I wasn't happy over the lack of progress in getting appointments for him. (I don't believe the dr had a clue that there weren't appointments in place.) He prescribed a BP med--an ACE-inhibitor. A year ago I went off--with his okay--of the beta-blocker I had been on for years, and I had been doing VERY well until this stress-induced problem. He wanted me to try this 'new' (for me) drug.

--To make sure things get even MORE screwed up, when the nurse came in to give me my flu shot, she told me the nephrologist in the office who is actually taking new patients wouldn't be able to see K for two weeks, so she would talk to the dr and see if he could move things along, so I didn't need to make appointments--they would call me.

--The nurse called me at 5:30--the office staff had already left--and said the dr said to get the earliest appointments possible: he would see K first and get started on the lab work, etc, that the nephrologist would need. The scheduler would call me the next day as the computers were off for the night.

--Tuesday at 9:00am, the scheduler called and told K--he answered the phone--that his appointments were this: nephrologist on November 13 and PCP on December 7. EXCUSE ME! THIS is getting him in to see someone ASAP!!!!

--Tuesday afternoon I called and spoke to the nurse and asked WHAT WERE WE TO DO NOW! She said she would get back to me after talking to the dr.

--After 15 minutes--they are getting back to me sooner--she said the dr wanted K to keep the scheduled appointments and to have his BP checked in the office before he came in to see the nephrologist. I guess they figured he wasn't dying by looking over his numbers that I gave them. And, yes, the meds seem to be doing their job very well--his BP is in perfectly acceptable levels. Okay, so that is taken care of--NOT to my satisfaction, but what can I do?

--Then, of course, on Wednesday night, I begin to feel as if I have a stomach bug. This continued through Thursday. I slept for most of the day--except for the trips to the bathroom. Couldn't eat much because of the stomach pains and I was completely exhausted.

--Friday I put my game-face--or mother-face--on and pulled myself up by my bootstraps and willed myself to do the laundry and cleaning that needed doing. As a mother, I learned early on that I could only wallow in an illness for only so long. I got through Friday with a lot of help from Pepto-Bismol tablets! :) I was pretty sure I had gotten over the worst of the stomach bug.

--Woke up today and guess what? I'm STILL feeling just as lousy! So, I figured I better investigate. I now am pretty sure I DON'T have a bug, but what I am experiencing is side-effects of the BP meds. Oh happy day. Now I have to call the dr's office on Monday morning and see if he will change my prescription--I just hope he won't tell me that these are symptoms that will pass in time and that I just need to hang in there! I think the office will be installing caller-ID just so they can screen for MY phone calls.

So there is the long story made even longer. Boring, I know.

Now, as for what is going on in the dr's office: I don't think it is my PCP's fault. Several years back, he and his partners sold their practice to the local hospital, so they are now employees of the practice. Granted, they are very high level employees, but I don't think they have nearly as much say-so in how the practice is run as some people would think. (I mentioned something to my dr about the office not faxing a prescription for me--against office policy--and he was shocked that that was the case!) So, I really believe he has very little say-so in the scheduling of appointments. My guess is that the office personnel want to leave AT 5:00pm and not a minute later--they probably don't get over-time pay. I came to this conclusion the last time I tried to pay my co-pay on the way out of the office: it was 5:15pm, the receptionist was sitting at the desk with her coat on, and she told me to forget paying, that they would bill me. I have let them bill me ever since. SOOOOOO, I guess appointments are never made that could possibly go beyond 5:00pm.

The other problem we have here is this: we have only two internal medicine practices in town. If you leave one practice and are not happy with the other one, you are left with the Family Care doctors--who happen to be residents that leave the area after their two year rotations! Not exactly good for someone--like me--who takes a long time to get used to a new doctor! So until something VERY HORRIBLE goes on with our dr, I guess we will keep on keeping on. It just isn't good for my stress level!

I worry about K's health, of course, but NOT because he has had problems in the past! My worry comes from the fact that he is no longer 25 (or 30 or 35...) and he has a family history--mother and father--of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early heart attack, and heart-related problems. I know he doesn't want to face these facts, but I am not going to let him ignore the facts any longer. However, he IS feeling very well, so I am trying not to worry too much.

Friday, November 03, 2006

MIA

Sorry I haven't been posting--we have had a few medical issues going on here and I just haven't felt much like writing. I WILL get to posting about what has been going on soon. Hang in their, people, and you will be able to read a very uninteresting account of what has been happening in my life!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Being Pissy

Yeah, I know my last post had my mis-adventures while peeing in a cup, but this is a different kind of pissy. I have really been in a lousy mood lately--not so much that I'm crabby, just that anything can set me off at any time. And of course, the only one I can go off on is K. (Well, I can get pissed off at the cat, but she just gives me a withering look and turns her back on me.) And, for the most part, he doesn't deserve my moodiness. It isn't so much that I will SAY anything to him, it is just my general lousy attitude right now. Not sure what is going on.

I guess I can put the blame on the time of year. Yes, people, we are coming into that wonderful time called the 'holiday season.' Oh, yay. I have gone on and on at different times about how much I hate the holidays, so I won't do so and bore everyone again. I DO know that part of my problem is the fact that the holidays are supposed to be for family time--and I don't have family to share the season with. And I definitely DO know it is my own fault--I could be with my family any time I wanted to, I just CAN'T. But, I then feel badly about not being with family... It is a vicious cycle and I just have to get through it best I can.

With Thanksgiving, K and I have been asked to two different places for dinner. Dear friends of ours want us to go there and C has invited us to their house. And K wants to have the meal at home so we can have left-overs--because, what is Thanksgiving WITHOUT left-overs?!?! I already told C we probably wouldn't be there--it is too worrisome to be traveling at that time of year, especially to the 'snow-belt' of Michigan. And she totally understood, thankfully. As she said, that is quite a distance to travel just to eat and turn around and go home again. What probably will happen is this: we will have Thanksgiving dinner here at home on Wednesday and then spend the following day with our friends. Good solution and the best of both worlds.

My birthday is the week after Thanksgiving and K will be working the night shift on the day. There goes any plans for ANY kind of a celebration. Not that we ever do anything that special, it just is nice to have the option--which we don't have this year.

And, of course, then comes Christmas. For years and years I worked myself ragged trying to put on the perfect Christmas for everyone around me and now I barely get the house decorated. I realized my efforts weren't really that appreciated, so I decided to scale down--a lot! And I also realized that no matter how hard I tried, I could NEVER make it a perfect Christmas. The big problem I have now is there just doesn't seem to be anything overly special about the time for me. There is no real reason for me to do any of the cooking, baking, decorating, gift-buying that I used to do, so the holidays are pretty flat for me. I am kind of thinking about putting on a Christmas party this year, though--it would give me a reason to look forward to the season. I have to think about it and talk to K and see what he has to say. It is an idea.

But anyway, I wasn't planning on going on like this. I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven't been posting as much because I have been quite pissy lately and haven't had much to say. Maybe now that I got all of this off my chest I will be better. I can only hope.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Life--That's All

Not a whole lot to report from here--just life going on as I know it. So, here goes.

--K came home from work four hours early last night. No real explanation, just took the time off. I have a suspicion that he isn't feeling completely well--he has a bit of a cough and that may be why he came home. Of course, it isn't like you can ACTUALLY go to see a doctor if you're not feeling well--you have to wait till you get so bad that it will take twice as long for you to get better! Chances are he'll go see someone tomorrow.

--Today K decided to cook dinner--which he does every once in a while. The biggest reason he does it is so he can make ONE dish: pot roast. Now, I don't mind the meal--it IS easy to make and clean up--but if he had his way we would have it every week or two. BORING and I get very tired of the same thing, so I don't make it very often anymore. I truly appreciate it when he cooks, but I have one question: When I cook, I clean up afterwards. When K cooks I STILL have to clean up afterwards. WHY? I could never understand this.

--The temp has been in the 30s here and it snowed off and on most of the day. We had flurries, ice pellets, and 'Christmas Eve' snow at different times. I have a feeling we may get snow to stay by Halloween. I don't mind the cold, I just don't particularly like driving in the snow.

--Watched the Red Wings lose their third in a row on Saturday. They won't be playing again until Wednesday. I must say they actually were playing better on Saturday than they had the other nights--at least they got their penalty killing together. On Thursday, EVERY goal--for BOTH teams--was a power play goal. Not good. They didn't camp out in the penalty box on Saturday, either--another good thing. I don't see a great year, but I think they will do a decent job of playing once they learn to work together--after all, they have a lot to work through after losing Yzerman and Shanahan.

--Today I went for my semi-regular blood-letting--yep, it was lab work time again! I have my physical on Monday, so I had to go and be jabbed with a needle. I looked at the tech's teeth just to make sure she didn't have fangs, and she didn't, but I still think she may be a vampire. After all, the office is totally enclosed with NO outside light, so she could be out during the day. I'm fairly certain my doctor isn't a vampire--despite his absolute delight in sending me for blood-work--I did once see him at a Bat Mitzva in the middle of the day!

--As for the rest of my labs, I also had to give a urine sample. Now, with men, it is a very easy situation. Plain, simple, pee in a cup. For women, it is a production. First, you must settle yourself on the toilet so that you can place your arm, WHILE holding a cup, between your legs and under your bottom. Next you have to clean yourself in order to give a sterile sample. THEN you must start peeing--NOT TOO MUCH--and stop, so that the urine is sterile. FINALLY, you have to place a cup--which has an opening the size of a Coke bottle--in the proper spot so that you can direct a few drops of urine into it. Of course, it doesn't work that well. To begin with, there are no mirrors. Let's face it, if there WAS a mirror, positioning the cup would be much easier--at least you could see WHERE the cup should be placed. So, this is all a guessing game. Place the cup, start peeing. Pee on hand, move the cup. Pee in toilet, move the cup. Pee on hand once more, move the cup. Pee on arm, move the cup. By the time the cup is where it should be, you are lucky to have enough urine left for them to test! And, of course, the whole while you are trying to 'catch' a sample, you are also aware of the fact that you could, very easily, miss everything and pee on your clothes. Once you have a sample, you must decide where this pee-soaked cup must be placed by your pee-soaked hand. Then you must decide how to wipe and pull your pants up with your pee-soaked hand. This leads to the scrubbing of the hands and arms--all the way to the shoulders--in order to make sure no stray drops of pee are left anywhere they are not supposed to be. As I said, it is quite a production and not at all fun. The only thing I can figure out is this: a man must have decided this would be funny!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Smiles All Around

Today I got phone calls from BOTH of the girls--and it sure was nice.

First off, the youngest daughter called to tell me about two of the patients she had a chance to meet today. As anyone knows who has been reading this blog for awhile, she works at a vet clinic--actually, she now works at TWO clinics, both part time--so the patients we are talking about are animals. Now, before I go any further I have to say this, I am a BIG fan of the sitcom 'Newhart'--the one where Bob Newhart is the owner of an inn in Vermont--and my favorite characters in the show were the brothers Larry, Darryl, and Darryl. I won't go into the show or the characters, so if you have never seen 'Newhart,' you won't have a clue as to what I will be talking about. Sorry. Anyway, YD got to meet Larry and Darryl today: two twenty pound cats. She said they were EXACTLY like the characters from the show: Larry wouldn't stop 'talking' and Darryl--according to his people--has NEVER said a word! She said their personalities fit their names, also: Larry is very gregarious and Darryl has nervousness issues. She said the people are on the hunt for one more cat, another Darryl! Too funny.

The oldest daughter called a short while after I talk to YD and had this story to tell me. Seems as if the 2-year-old, the boy, got into the pantry and took a can of powdered baby formula. He proceeded to dump it on the floor. He got punished. OD started cleaning up the mess and when she got the formula into a pile, the boy walked into the room, looked at the mess, put his hand on his head and said, "Oh, shit. Oh, shit. What happened?" At this point, OD said she realizes why some animals eat their young! Of course, by the time she called me, she couldn't stop from laughing, but she said it definitely wasn't funny at the time! I told her that this is probably a good time for her to start cleaning up her language or she WILL be embarrassed by one of her children saying something improper at a most inopportune time--like SHE did! I fixed MY language mighty quick. :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Came Back!

I have been AWOL the last few days, as my loyal readers know. (And that is all three of you? :D) Anyway, here is an update on what's been happening.

First off, we went on another one of our road trips on Monday morning--so, of course, my Sunday was all about getting ready to go. While I very much appreciate the fact that K does ALL of the driving whenever we go anywhere, I still cannot understand why EVERYTHING else connected to a trip remains MY job. This includes packing, doing the laundry, cleaning up the house, garbage, feeding the cat, opening/closing the blinds, filling the humidifiers/emptying the dehumidifier, hotel reservations, etc, etc, etc. I guess it goes back to many, many, MANY years ago when the girls were young: I would get everything ready for us to leave right at the time he would come home from day shift. My life, it could be MUCH worse. :)

While I LOVE getting together with our friends and having dinner and visiting, every once in a while it is nice to have the time just for ourselves--and this is what happened this trip. Our friends had plans on Monday evening, so K and I had NO time problems and got all of our shopping done on Monday--with the exception of Sam's Club. We were able to have an early dinner at Outback--mmmmmmmm, Walkabout Soup--and get to sleep early that night. After breakfast on Tuesday morning, we did our Sam's shopping and headed home. I STILL can't figure out WHY it takes us so long to go through Sam's--it isn't as if we needed that much stuff this time--heck, we JUST were there a week and a half ago! But, we go through those doors and it's as if time speeds up or something--and before you know it, two hours have passed and you're rushing to get out of there!

We found a new place that will be a must-stop-at every time we are in Appleton: the Breadsmith. Oh, my gosh! As if I need another place to buy food! The stuff they have there is absolutely amazing! I loved the cranberry/orange scones and the chocolate chocolate chip muffins are to die for. We brought home the cranberry/orange bread and have been eating it toasted with butter on top. Mmmmmmmmm. There comes another five pounds onto this short, stubby body of mine.

So, anyway, we get home. You know how you can walk into a room and SOMETHING just doesn't feel right? You can't put your finger on it at first, but you just KNOW something is wrong? Well, that is exactly what it was like when I walked into the house. The first thing I do when I get home is to walk through all of the rooms to see if the cat hacked up a hairball while we were gone--gross, I know, but that is one of the joys of having a long-haired cat. As I was walking through the house, I was seeing white spots on the floor no bigger than about the size of a quarter. Well, this was something new and I was SURE the cat was dying of some horrid disease! Then I noticed a few of the spots on the recliner and sofa--and the mini-blinds were all whacko! About this time I realized it COULDN'T have been the cat because she just can't jump and reach the TOP of the windows--and it hit me, there had been/was a bird in the house. There was bird crap on the mini-blinds and window sills and all of the blinds looked as if the bird had tried going THROUGH them. So, the search was on. K went through the upstairs room, the basement, and the main floor--finally we found the culprit. There, in all it's nervousness, was a starling sitting on top of the books on the top shelf of the living room bookshelf. K opened the front door and after a few minutes, the bird flew out. Thank goodness.

I don't know what is going on with our house--it is as if we cut a hole in the wall and put up a sign saying 'Accommodations Here--ALL Wildlife Welcome.' This has been SUCH a strange year for us with wildlife getting into our house--and for the most part, we can't figure out HOW the damn stuff gets in! This bird just REALLY baffles me. Chipmunks, and even the raccoon, I understand, but a BIRD! Oh, well, I just hope it stops soon.