Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Hard Day

To say that Tuesday was trying, is putting it mildly.  I finally went to get my shingles vaccination and it definitely didn't go the way I had planned.

I was under the impression that my PCP was on-board with me getting the vaccine after being off of Enbrel for 4+ weeks.  This was discussed with the PA last week and Tuesday was the first day I had a chance to go in and get 'shot.'  I mentioned to the nurse the problems I had had in trying to get info on all of this and she left the room and came back with the doctor.  We wound up talking for almost 30 minutes about what I was about to do.  Without coming right out and saying it, I don't believe the doctor was happy with me getting the vaccine.  By the time the injection HAD to be done--there is a time limit as to how long the stuff can be left out of the freezer--I was so confused and teary that I couldn't make an intelligent decision.  As it turned out, I finally said, "Just do it!" and got my vaccination.  And then I came home, hoping I didn't make a very, very big mistake with my health.

Part of my problem was the fact that I was tired--I didn't get nearly enough sleep before I went to the doctor's office.  And the doctor came down pretty hard on me--and I finally figured out why:  she REALLY doesn't like Enbrel.  As it turns out, she had a patient die as a result of using Enbrel.  (I'm wondering just how much cause and effect there can ACTUALLY be attributed.)  Anyway, we went round-and-round and I got more and more confused as we talked.  I had the injection and then had to sit at the office for 30 minutes to make sure I had no ill-effects.  And when I was released, it was with the warning to call if 'anything unusual' happened to me--but with no time-frame.  By the time I got home, I was pretty close to having a panic attack because I was so sure I was about to die!  (Yeah, overly dramatic.)

As I said, I was pretty tired, so I took a nap and after waking up, I'm less stressed over what I did.  There are risks with whatever we do when it comes to our health.  Even treatments that have been around for decades--vaccinations, etc--have the possibility of causing life-threatening side-effects.  And, as I cannot UNdo what I did, I have to live with whatever consequences MIGHT happen.  I'm just hoping that there will be NO side-effects.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Do YOU Do?

Once again, someone on Facebook put a rumor as their status update.  This one is about Facebook beginning to charge a fee for anyone who wants to continue using it, etc, etc, etc.  This rumor has been going around for quite a few years and is completely false.  (However, that being said, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if it became a pay-for-use site in the future.  Just my opinion.)  Every couple of weeks or so, one of my 'friends' will post something like this--something that is 100% false and can be proved as such by taking a quick trip to for verification.  This type of activity used to be done by email and I would get them in my inbox regularly.  I would then point the one who sent the rumor to the proper site on the internet and let them know they were spreading false rumors. I don't get very many of those emails anymore--I think I got my message across.  With email, I was able to keep my 'chastisement' as a private affair--and the only people subjected to these rumors were the ones who got emails from the sender.  However, Facebook is much more public and I would hesitate to embarrass someone by telling them they were wrong in front of the whole world.  I realize I could just send a private message, but I don't want to embarrass anyone, even privately.

So, the questions come:  What do YOU do in a situation such as this?  Do you correct the person or wait to see if someone else does it first?  Does it matter if the person is close to you or merely an acquaintance?  I wouldn't hesitate to take one of my kids 'to the woodshed,' because they both know enough to check these things out first.  However, if a 'friend' that I have never even seen or talked to in real life does this, I don't have the nerve to correct them.  I KNOW that several people (those who sent emails in the past) have felt as if I was trying to prove my 'superior' intelligence or trying to belittle them in some way--which is/was NEVER my intent!  I don't know how to broach this subject without having it seem as if I think the other person isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.  Suggestions?

Questioning, Again

A few days ago, the Red Wings and Flyers played an exhibition game.  The score was tied at the end of overtime, so it moved into a shootout.  During the shootout, someone threw a banana peel on the ice.  Anyone with even a slight awareness of hockey knows that things are thrown on the ice all of the time--octopi, hats, rubber rats, slabs of beef, etc.  Now, other than the NHL powers-that-be, things thrown on the ice are pretty well tolerated by everyone--until the banana peel incident.  And why was this different?  The player on the ice at the time was the only black player for either team.  And someone decided this was a racist incident--which it probably was.  And the (hockey) world exploded for several days.

While I would never argue that racially motivated acts are okay, I do have some very serious concerns about this entire affair.  First of all, this game was a pre-season game.  That in itself meant that not a whole lot of people were watching it.  There was no audio or video broadcast of this game--other than to an area in and around Philadelphia.  So, the fans in the arena and the (relatively) small viewing audience were the only people who actually saw this happen.  And I question how many people saw this, even if they were at the game--several players were questioned about this later and they weren't aware of what happened until they were told. But, someone DID see this and ran with the story.  I don't know where it first appeared--Twitter, a news story, a blog--but someone made a story out of this.  And once it was out there, it became fodder for opinion pieces, blogs, newscasts, Twitter, Facebook, etc, etc, etc.  This was reported and talked about ad nauseum for several days.

As I said, I would never advocate for a racially motivated act.  I also don't believe society is benefitted by sweeping unpleasant topics/acts under the rug, BUT...  And there is the problem.  The person responsible for this was never found, so we really don't know what his motivation for throwing the peel was.  I'm NOT saying there wasn't a racial element to this, but I'm saying that the assclown who did this probably had a bigger reason for his actions:  PUBLICITY.*  And he got his share of publicity.  This is pretty much the only thing that was 'talked' about for several days.

Now, we come to my question.  Is this something that should have been ignored?  This could have flamed out very quickly, because of the small amount of people who saw what happened.  Actually, it would barely have been a spark if it hadn't been reported.  Have we become a society so politically correct that we have to 'make a big deal' out of everything, even if the intention was nowhere close to what others perceived?  We are finding in all areas of our lives where huge stories are (manufactured?) from small, insignificant incidents--from politics to our personal lives--and it doesn't seem to help do much more than inflame.  I do have to wonder who is benefitting from this--other than the 24-hour news sources and the assclowns who want publicity.

*I realize that I am publicizing this just as much as everyone else did, but I don't reach a big audience, so I don't think my little blog matters.  ;)

Men Are Perplexing

It is obvious that God, after he made Man, saw that he could do a bit better--and then he decided to create Woman.  And just so we wouldn't get too full of ourselves, he made sure that we would NEVER understand men and why they do the things they do.  I was confronted with this, yet again.

The new TV season has just begun.  This means that there are new shows being aired for the first time and there are new episodes of returning programs.  Also, football season is underway, so that means anyone can watch a game at any time of the day or night for the next few months.  And to top it all off, the comedian Jeff Dunham--who is probably The Husband's favorite--had his newest special air on Comedy Central last night.  My husband, who I don't understand at all, watched none of these.  Instead, he watched, for the 3,462 time, a rerun of Lord of the Rings.  On network TV.  With commercials and edits.

So, why should this bother me?  It bothers me because we own the entire Lord of the Rings collection.  Actually, we own TWO SETS of the Lord of the Rings.  Instead of getting up from the couch, going to the DVD shelf, taking a DVD and putting it in the player, and watching it in all of its uninterrupted glory, my husband watched it on network TV.  And he didn't even watch it in high definition!

I will never understand men.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Overly Critical, I Suppose

The FLOTUS decided her cause for the duration of Barack's reign is childhood obesity.  One of the things that went into effect because of her is the new 'food pyramid,' or "MyPlate."  While I don't get why this cost so much money to put into effect--somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million--there are a lot of people who like the change.  (I think it was a waste of money, but that is for another time.)  Along with MyPlate, there is a campaign going on called Let's Move!  This is an attempt to get children to be more physical in order to burn more calories.  Not a bad idea, as even I will admit that kids just don't burn off the calories like they used to.  While I don't agree that there has to be a campaign for this, some people do.  As far as I'm concerned, parents should just turn off the TVs, computers, DVD players, etc, and kick the kids outside for some 'play time.'  That, after all, was what we did.  And very rarely did you ever see obese kids--even though there WERE a few that enjoyed a bit too many sweets and were, at the most, 'pudgy.'  I think most of us found the pounds creeping on when we got a bit older and lost that 'play time'--you know, around the time we figured we were 'too cool' to run around outside like the kids we were.  ;)  It seems a shame that so much taxpayer money has to be spent on such things that are common sense, but I guess there is much more frivolous waste of money than this.

As part of the Let's Move! campaign, several PSAs have been filmed and are being shown on TV.  One of them bothers me--A LOT.

Okay, so I understand what they were trying for here, but it just seems like classic bullying behavior on the mother's part--you know, the kind of stuff that comes out of sibling interaction.  This is the exact kind of thing I did to The Brother when he was young--as I'm sure most of us did to younger siblings.  This video just left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Not Surprising

I ordered a new bed for our cat.  It was delivered today.

After spitting on it, she went here to sleep:


Monday, September 19, 2011

Playing The Waiting Game

I am not a patient person--never have been.  Waiting makes me testy and I tend to put my life on hold while I wait.  And that is one of the reasons why I have been MIA here.  My wait has been going on since before Labor Day.

My very good friend came down with shingles last winter.  She still is suffering from the side effects.  Thankfully, there is a vaccine for this and the recommended age to get it has been lowered from 60 to 50.  Of course, insurance companies aren't paying for this yet, but J said she would pay four times the amount it costs ($250) just so she wouldn't get shingles again.  K's doctor strongly suggested that he gets this--and with K's kidney problems, he definitely needs to watch his overall health closely--so we started doing research and making phone calls to see what we need to do to make this happen.  Other than making sure we could pay for this, K was good to go whenever he wanted.  For me, it was another story.

Being on Enbrel, I knew I couldn't get the shingles vaccine, as it is a live-virus vaccine.  Also, GETTING shingles while on Enbrel is not a good idea--there is the possibility for some extremely serious side-effects.  I knew I didn't want to get shingles, so I had to find out what I needed to do to make this happen for me.  There was next to no info that I could find on the interwebs--other than 'do NOT get a live-virus vaccine while on Enbrel.' So, my first call had to go to my dermatologist's office to find out how long I had to be off of Enbrel in order to get this vaccine.  I needed to know how many days/weeks/months after my last injection was a safe amount of time for me to get the shot and then I had to know how many days/weeks/months AFTER before I could go back on Enbrel.  This call took place a week and a half before my appointment at the internist's office--plenty of time for me to get the info needed so that the internist and I could plan my course of action.  At least you would think so.  The call-back from the dermatologist's office never happened, so I went to my appointment completely unprepared.  NOT. HAPPY.

As soon as my appointment was done, I marched up to the dermatologist's office to see if I could get any answers from them.  As it turned out, they weren't getting very much info themselves.  The closest anyone would come to answering their questions was a drug rep said that 3weeks before and after should be okay.  With that small amount of info in hand, I decided to make a couple of calls of my own.

My Enbrel is handled by a specialty pharmacy, so I called to see what they had to say about all of this.  The pharmacist said he is hearing that patients are abstaining from Enbrel from 2-4 weeks on both sides of the vaccination.  So, the 3 weeks that the dermatologist was told is in that time frame.  I then called Amgen, the company that makes the drug--WHY I didn't do this first is beyond me--just to see what they had to say.  I was NOT impressed or happy.  The recommendation?  'Every case is different and every patient needs to talk to his/her own doctor and plan a course of action designed specifically for him/her.'  Big fricking whoop.  So, it was back on the phone, this time to my internist to see how we are going to proceed.  I made the phone call last week Tuesday.  I still have not heard back.

Tuesday will be four weeks since I last gave myself an injection and I don't know how much longer it will be before I am in a full-blown psoriasis flare.  So far, my skin isn't reacting too much to the absence of Enbrel. I am finding some stiffness in my joints that could possibly be the beginnings of arthritis, but I'm not going to jump to any conclusions.  Right now I just want to get this over with so I can get back to my life--and the sooner the better.  When I finally get the go-ahead for this vaccination, I'm hoping there will actually be vaccine available--shortages have been occurring.  I'm really, really hoping all of this can be resolved in the 8-week time frame I had in mind when I first started considering this.  'Cause I REALLY don't play the waiting game well, at all.

***My update on this story can be found here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Make Your Own Title

They say 'a picture is worth a thousand words.'  I only took one picture at the Renaissance Fair this year.  The husband called this 'Pretty in Pink.'

Yes, that IS a male...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Public Restrooms

A bear may sh*t in the woods, but this is one woman who won't.  I also won't use outhouses, rarely use Port-A-Potties, and am very selective as to what public restrooms I use.  I became overly familiar with a wide variety of public facilities when my oldest was a child. She would RUN to the restroom whenever we walked in the door of a place--even if she just went before we left the house three minutes earlier.  There wasn't a restroom/facility that we didn't go into in the three-county area--for some reason she had a fascination for them.  Anyway, I saw more than my share and I certainly know which ones to avoid and which ones are fine for me to use.

***To completely get away from the point of this post, I MUST mention this.  There now is an app for your mobile phone that lets you find people who will allow you to use their bathrooms for a fee.  This is for those people who don't want to use public restrooms--and for people who are so desperate for money that they will let strangers come into their houses and use their most private rooms to do God knows what in them.  I CANNOT comprehend this, as I wish I had a second bathroom in this house just so I wouldn't have to share with my husband!  There ain't no way on God's green earth that I will let total strangers come into my house to use my 'throne!'  I. Don't. Get. It.  If you must read more, you can go here and here.  I get a great amount of pleasure in reporting that I couldn't find one person who thought this was a good idea--and most find this creepy and very, very dangerous.***

Now that we have traveled a bit, I have a greater variety of restrooms to like or dislike.  For the most part, McDonald's aren't too bad--but I usually go there in the morning or around lunchtime.  I don't have a clue as to how bad they may be in the evening.  Barnes & Noble facilities are more than adequate and decently clean.  I am very impressed with the restroom at the World Market store that we frequent--they even have taken a stab at decorating with some of the stuff from the store.  I have never seen it in a shambles and it comes the closet as any restroom to my bathroom in terms of cleanliness.  I'm very impressed with casino restrooms--both in Vegas and locally.  (Although, I DID get lost in a restroom in the Venetian casino in Vegas--I got turned around and had to ask directions to get out again.  Yes, I have problems.)  And, for the most part, I haven't been in a Sam's Club restroom that isn't taken care of very, very well.

The Sam's Club we usually go to just did a major re-model of the restrooms a year ago.  They put all new stalls and sinks, floors, counter tops, toilets, etc, etc.  The only thing I have a problem with is the fact that they used stainless steel for the stall walls--TRY and keep those looking good without spending hours a day cleaning them.  But they did a great job and everything works well.  I'm real pleased with the self-flushing toilets, but am less so with the automatic faucets--for some reason or other, I can't get those to work for me any more frequently than 50% of the time.  However, I am ECSTATIC over the Dyson hand dryers.

If you have never seen/used one of these, you have no idea what you are missing.  First, you place your hands straight down into this dryer.  Then the air comes on and blows your hands dry.  But, the WAY the air blows on your hands is a lot of fun.  While it doesn't FEEL as if it is strong, when you look at your hands, the skin looks just like those pictures of astronauts' faces when they are getting belted by strong g-force.  It's as if your skin is almost liquid itself, the way the air manipulates it.  I usually use this restroom JUST so I can wash my hands and use the dryer.  (Yes, I know that is off the wall, but these dryers are FUN!  :D)  I'd have one in my own home but 1) I don't know if they sell them for home usage and 2) I probably couldn't afford one even if they WOULD sell one to me.

Whenever I use a public restroom, I will use the handicapped/family stall if available and there aren't a lot of people needing to use the facilities.  I find it so much easier to have the space and the toilets are higher up, which is so much easier on my knees.  (I'm getting old and experiencing the family 'knee trouble.')  If you don't go into the family stalls, you might not have seen the 'seats' that are on the walls for babies.

These are where you strap your child in so that you can 'go' without worry.  While I'm sure busy mothers love these, I find them a bit creepy.  The seats are much too far away from the toilets, so that if the baby isn't strapped in perfectly, a person couldn't just reach over if s/he starts to slip.  And it looks too much like you're hanging your kid on the wall.  I just get creeped out by these things.

I have spent much too much time lately thinking about public facilities, but with our impending trip to the Renaissance Fair, I know I will have to use a Port-A-Potty if needed.    I just hope that if I really have to use one, I don't need it more than once.  I think I'm having a panic attack already.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Just Business As Usual

I needed to fill the refrigerator so that we actually could have food to eat, so I went out earlier to shop.  Of course, I can't go out without making the obligatory stop at Wal Mart--or, as the case was tonight, the land of the RVs.  WOW!!!  The RVs were lined up end to end all around the perimeter of the parking lot.  I don't think I've ever seen so many there at any one time before, so I was quite amazed.  But then, it IS the unofficial end to summer and people want to get that last trip in before school starts.

It is pretty cool that Wal Mart allows RVs to be parked in their lots for free.  Not that Wal Mart is losing out in the deal:  every time I see one of these things parked, there are people walking to the store to buy.  There is a definite method to this madness.  One of the guys that K works with laughingly says when he retires he will buy a Chevy, put all of his belongings in it, and park at Wal Mart to live.  I wonder how many have tried this already?  :)

This town is unbelievably crazy this weekend.  First, the students are back--and not one of them know how to drive in this town.  There is some sort of half K or full K run this weekend, so that has brought a lot of people in.  But the big draw is the annual blues festival--and THAT gets an awful lot of people from quite a distance coming here.  So, the traffic is absolutely nuts.  And the drivers are going to get someone killed.

Wal Mart is situated on the main highway that runs through the UP.  Of course, we don't have interstate highways, so every business has its own entrance onto this major road.  Target is across the highway from Wal Mart, so the traffic along the corridor there is quite extensive.  To help with left turns, a traffic light was installed at the intersection.  A pain in the butt for people passing through, but essential for those who are trying to get to one of the businesses.  When I go to Wal Mart from our house, I have to make a left turn to get into the parking lot.  The light for the through traffic was green, but the left turn lane had a red light.  When I got to the light, there was vehicle in front of me making a stop, but BARELY.    And then the car turned left while the light was still red!!!  I know people are always doing the wrong things while driving, but it still flabbergasts me when I see something like this.  Here I am, hours later, and I can't believe I really saw this.  That driver is certainly an accident waiting to happen.  And I am staying in the house until the holiday weekend is over.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Me Being Obsessive--As Usual

We just came back from an overnight road trip.  We actually haven't had one of our trips in a couple of months--the timing has been bad with K doing overtime and all.  So, this was a very nice outing.  Of course, we did far too much shopping and went to eat with our best friends--nothing spectacular, but a nice change of pace from our 'normalcy,' as it always is.  The last thing we do before leaving the town we go to is stop at Sam's Club and do our final 'spending of the money.'  We 'take orders' from friends and family and pick up whatever is needed, along with our own needs.  And it was in Sam's Club that one of my ugly obsessions came to the forefront.

When I buy something, I want it to be in pristine condition.  Whether it is a box of cereal (do NOT try and sell me a box with a bent corner), a can of beans (I won't accept a label that has a tear in it), or an apple (NO bruises at all), I want it perfect.  And there is NO living with me when the purchases are bigger:  my car better GLOW with shininess--and NO barely perceptible streaks;  my washing machine better not have a ding, scratch, or dent;  and my couch better have even seams and matching patterns.  If I'm paying the big bucks they are charging, everything better be to my satisfaction.  However, one thing bothers me more than the others and that is magazines and books that have been read and mishandled and put back on the shelf.  I hate wanting a book and finding only one copy that has bent pages or a wrinkled dust jacket.  It drives me insane to get a book in the mail and finding the corner of the cover bent.  Most of my books look like new AFTER I have read them, so I don't want them to look abused even before I get my hands on them.

Today in Sam's Club I had to hold back from going off the deep end.  There at the book table were several children going through all of the books willy-nilly.  They were playing with the 'read-to-me' features and over-extending the 'pop-up' books.  And I KNOW the books had to have that 'well read' look to them after the kids were done.  The kids were at the table by themselves with no grown-up to be seen.  It was obvious that this was where the parents dropped the kids off so that they could shop in peace.**  While I encourage reading in kids--and books are the ONLY gifts our grandkids get from us at Christmas--I don't like it when parents use the 'for sale' books as babysitters in stores.  At least at Barnes & Noble, they have a reading table--with books on it-- for kids to look at so that they don't have to be taking the ones off of shelves.  I really wonder how much money stores lose because of 'damaged' books that can't be sold as new?

**I have seen parents allow their kids to play with stuffed animals and any toys with noise, etc, features, also.  I can't imagine giving some of these toys as gifts after having tons of grubby, dirty, germy hands playing with them beforehand.  {shudder}

Thursday, September 01, 2011

To Whom It May Concern...

I know you love your kids and I'm happy that you think they are the greatest--as you should--but not all of us feel the same.  I don't need to hear that your kid just had its first haircut (with 100 pictures), learned to say "Hi" (with 20 minutes of audio), or spit his/her first carrots in your face (with an hour of video).  YOU might find all things that your kid does are the funniest, smartest, most interesting, etc, but I don't.  To you, your kids are cute, clever, beautiful, and geniuses, but to the rest of the world, they are quite annoying.  If you continue to inundate Facebook, Twitter, and your blog with every 'accomplishment'--and believe me, pulling the dog's ears is something EVERY child does--I WILL unfollow you.  And I expect you to do the same when I go overboard about my grandchildren.  Thank you for your time and now I will turn you back to your regular schedule.

***Yes, I realize that I don't have to go through the pictures or watch the video, etc.  And I don't.  This is aimed at those people who can't see that others don't share their fascination with their kids and continue to shove them in our faces at every opportunity--and get mad at those of us who DON'T find their kids to be the greatest to ever be put on this earth.