Monday, October 31, 2011

Possible Obsession?

A few years ago, while doing some research on the Sami people, I came across a website that sold handmade bracelets.  They are made in Sweden by Sami artisans and use reindeer leather and antlers, along with pewter coils--which the Sami developed hundreds of years ago.  The bracelets are of both traditional and modern design--some of the modern ones use Swarovski crystals, among other elements.  I tend to be more enamored of the traditional styles.  And I knew, very early on, that I wanted several of the bracelets.

The first bracelet that I got is probably the closest to traditional design that the website carries:

The second one I got still has a lot of traditional elements, but has a little bit of a modern feel:

The third one has more of a traditional look, but has an added color:

I was satisfied with having the three bracelets until I saw my fourth on the site a week or so ago:

This one has a silver cross medallion and a silver button, instead of antler.  It is quite plain and the leather is EXTREMELY soft.

All of the bracelets can be worn separately, but they also work very well together.

This picture helps show some of the details better.  They really are beautiful.

I'm not completely done buying bracelets.  I still have one more in mind and it will be much different from the rest.  It will have to be custom made for me and it will be two strips of leather--one red and one white--braided together with a pewter coil.  And of course, it will be the bracelet I will wear with my Red Wings jersey.  I'll post a picture when I get it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hopefully This Is New

I was so sure I posted about this, but I can't find it anywhere in this blog.  But, after putting up the post about dying, I had to add a couple of 'inappropriate things' that I have heard at wakes/funerals.

K had an identical twin brother who died less than a year after we married, as the result of a motorcycle accident.  (He was hit by a guy driving without a license or registration.)  We were in South Carolina and had to rush home for the funeral.  With the sadness of someone so young losing his life, much too much managed to be said in an inappropriate manner.  And before I start to bash anyone else, I will start with what *I* said!

K's boat was getting ready to set sail to the Mediterranean for a several month cruise, when we got the word of his brother's accident.  While he was on the cruise, I was going 'back home' to live so that I didn't have to be by myself in a place where I knew practically no one.  His brother did hang on for a few days before he died, and when we got the call, we decided that I would just move back home (early) when we went for the funeral.  He came home in the middle of the afternoon, after he was told of his brother's death, and we began the task of packing up the apartment.  After breaking our lease and getting packing boxes and tearing down the place, we got a few hours of sleep and were on the road around 4:00 AM.  And then we drove for 22 hours until we were in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, when we finally stopped and checked into a hotel for a few hours.  We got 'home' late that afternoon and K went for a nap, as he had done all of the driving.  He was supposed to go to the funeral home with the rest of the family, to make decisions, but he needed the sleep more.  And this is where I 'stepped in it.'  I made the phone call to K's mother to let her know that he wouldn't be able to meet them at the funeral home. And the words I used were this:  "K can't make it to the funeral home because HE IS SO DEAD!"  Yes, I said it.  If a hole would have opened up and swallowed me, I couldn't have been happier.  More than 20 years later, I mentioned this to K's oldest sister and she said nothing had ever been said about all this.  Whether she was trying to make me feel better or K's mom had been so distraught to have noticed, I'll never know.  So, I can't really blame anyone else for being inappropriate, because I've done my share, as well.

As I said in the 'dying' post, people say wrong things at very inappropriate times.  I understand that it has a lot to do with being nervous and not knowing the RIGHT thing to say, but some people need to keep talking, no matter WHAT they are saying.  And here we have remark number1:
Woman to K:  Wow!  I looked in that casket and it's just like seeing YOU in there!

And for remark number 2:
Woman to K:  I never could tell the two of you apart.  One of you was taller than the other, right?  I guess if he were standing here next to you, I'd be able to tell which is which, right?

Oh. Boy.  But, as I said, people get nervous and talk just to talk--and don't filter anything.   Maybe this is a lesson we all can learn from.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Buying Locally

With the economy the way it is, we are constantly being asked to support our local businesses.  As far as I can, I try to do this, but there are times that it really isn't possible or feasible.  Getting medications from a local pharmacy is something that we are--pretty much--banned from doing.  We CAN use a local pharmacy if we want to, but our insurance company won't pay its part beyond three months, and I have to pay my deductible every month instead of every three months like with the mail order pharmacy.  Going with the mail order pharmacy that the insurance company 'forces' us to use, is really a no brainer on our part--if we want to use our benefits to the fullest and spend less money, we go along with what is dictated.  And this has ALWAYS been a sore spot with me.

When I first began getting my medications by mail, I questioned the safety of the meds.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I was worried about whether I was getting the correct meds, just that I questioned the way they were stored and transported.  My meds (except for Enbrel) come by US Postal Service, so they are put on trucks--NOT refrigerated--and transported from great distances before they reach my mailbox.  It seems as if every place my meds come from are in the south--and I get meds all year long, from the coldest days in winter to the extremely hot days in summer.  In my mind, I can't feel that this is, in any way, good for the medications. While my local pharmacy may be getting medications by truck, they, at least, are getting MEDS and not all forms of junk mail at the same time.  I would think (hope) there are safeguards in place.

I also like the personal touch of shopping locally.  Not only do the people know you, but they quite possibly are your neighbors.  When I was getting my meds from our closest pharmacy, I would be greeted by name, asked how I was doing, and told everything I needed to know about what I was taking.  They were always willing to help before I even asked--and a lot of times problems were detected and solved before I was even aware of them.  Somehow, this just made me feel a bit safer than when I talk to a faceless voice over the phone.

Today, I got another dose of why I hate doing business the way I am forced to.  After nine weeks of not being on Enbrel, I have gotten the go-ahead to begin again.  Last night was my first injection and I only have one dose left, so I needed to call and schedule a shipment, which I did today.  While I probably should have done this last week, other times when I've tried to get more Enbrel when I had two or more doses on hand didn't go so smoothly, so I waited until I was down to my last dose.  First, I was told that they would have to call my doctor to get permission to restart my shipments, as they had been halted.  When I said that *I* was the one that halted them and explained my reason, the woman did agree it was a valid reason to not have to call my doctor.  But then, she said that my prescription had expired and they needed to call the doctor after all.  Now, I'm not sure if I made a mistake, if the pharmacy made a mistake, or if the doctor did, but I began using Enbrel in the month of May and if the doctor writes my prescription every April/May, then I should still have a couple of refills left.  I don't understand what happened, but you can be sure that if I was dealing locally, we could have figured it out.  To say I'm a bit upset is putting it mildly.

So, the pharmacy has to get in touch with the doctor to get a new prescription.  The doctor has to get back to the pharmacy and begin a new, valid prescription.  The pharmacy has to get back to me to schedule a shipment.  THEN, I have to wait for the delivery company to get my meds to me.  When I asked how long this will take, the woman said it will be a week to get the prescription validated, if the doctor gets back to them right away.  Excuse me?!?!?!?!?!?!  Telling her that I only had one dose of medication made her 'assure' me that they will put a 'rush' on this and, hopefully, get it all straightened out in less time.  I can pretty much guarantee that my local pharmacy would have had this straightened out in one day's time.  I'm REALLY not a happy camper tonight.

It's Inevitable For Everyone

Today's topic du jour?  Death.  But really, not in a morbid way.  And why has this topic been on my mind?  Well, The Mother called the other day to get my 'info' as they are updating their wills, etc.  Of course, this made me think about how my feelings about my own death have changed as I've gotten older.

First of all, I don't fear death.  This doesn't mean I WELCOME death or can't wait to die, I just don't fear dying like I did when I was younger.  If I was to die tomorrow, that would be fine with me.  The only thing I fear in terms of dying is to die a slow, painful death--THAT I fear.  But as for death itself, I am not afraid of the unknown because I am sure there is a better place for me when I'm done with this world.

Up until a few years ago, the thoughts of being an organ donor left me cold.  I have always admired anyone who would make the ultimate decision to leave their organs to people who could use them, but the thoughts of my body being hacked up and sent to the four corners of the earth wasn't appealing.  Now that I'm older, I am 100% committed to being an organ donor--provided there is anything on my sad-sack body that is still viable.  After I'm 'gone,' I will have no use for my body or any parts of it, so whoever can use them is welcome to have whatever.

I think one of the reasons why I'm not worried about what happens to my body when I die is the fact that I have decided to be cremated instead of buried.  This, also, was a decision that took some time for me to come to.  I just didn't like the thoughts of my body being burned up.  After thinking about where I would like to be planted for eternity--and not having an answer to that question--I decided to be cremated and have my ashes scattered, somewhere.  We have never been a family that goes to the cemetery to visit on a regular basis, so having a place where my family could go and 'talk' to me just isn't very important.  Besides, I just don't feel as if I need to have my own little piece of real estate for all time.

As for my funeral, I haven't changed my thoughts on that.  I want my closest family members to be able to say their good byes to me while I'm in my casket, but then I want the casket closed for the wake.  It has always bothered me to no end to hear what people say when they look at a body in a casket.

  • "S/he looks so peaceful."  Yes, people look peaceful in their caskets because they are fricking DEAD--and have no worries anymore!
  • "S/he looks like s/he's sleeping."  NO!  The person is DEAD and looks DEAD!!!
  • "S/he looks so good."  Again, NO!  S/he is FRICKING DEAD!!!! Dead is dead and it doesn't look good.

Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stupid things people say.  BUT, I would sit straight up in my coffin and deck someone if I had to 'hear' those sorts of things at my wake.  And I KNOW I would haunt the person who was less than kind to me in life, yet cried hysterically at my wake because 'it is so sad.'  HEY!  If you like/love me NOW and will be sad when I'm gone, let me know NOW and don't cause a scene at my wake/funeral!  If you haven't realized by now, I have very serious issues with funerals and mourners.  I have attended far too many funerals/wakes in my time and I have seen it all, so I have very strong opinions about what I do and don't want to happen at my funeral.

Coming to some decisions has really given me a sense of peace--just as we all should have when it comes to our final wishes.  And this, despite the uneasiness it causes to most people.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Say It Isn't So

Today I looked out the window and in the front yard of 'the crazy sheep lady's' house was a "FOR SALE by owner" sign.  OMG!  How will I ever know it is spring without the sheep doing their annual migration to the front yard after the snow goes?

(I can't believe I actually found a site that sells the sheep--and had a pic!  This is EXACTLY what the they look like.  I'm really thinking that I like these.)

Anyway, I can't believe the woman is selling the house already.  She is a retiree and hasn't lived here for more than 5 years.  She spent a lot of time and money upgrading the house--it was built as a Habitat for Humanity home--and it seems unusual to do so and then sell this soon after.  K suggested it might be a medical issue with her and that might be true.  However, she still looks as fit as ever, but you never know.  So, it looks as if we will be having new neighbors in the near future--and all I can hope for is that they fit in with the quietness of our street.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Couple of Things

I got a package today.  While it wasn't unexpected--I placed the order several days ago--I had to chuckle to myself when I opened it.  I believe I have now, officially, joined the ranks of 'little old ladies.'  One of the items in the box was this:

What you have here is a pocket/telescoping back scratcher and I bought it to put in my suitcase so I never have to be without one.  Far too many times I find my back itches and I NEED something to take care of the itch, so a back scratcher comes in handy.  I have scratchers in almost every room of the house--next to the box of Kleenex--so that they are within reach at all times, but I never had a traveling one.  Until now.  And this just makes me feel SOOOOOOOOOO old to admit.  Do ALL little old ladies have back scratchers and boxes of Kleenex within reach at all times?  I think we might.  :D


A few days ago, we had an item in the police logs that I forgot to save or post.  It dealt with a missing woman, in her 50s.  The police were called because her family couldn't find her for several hours.  When she was found, it was determined that she had spent her time at the local casino.  Mystery solved.

This story just tickled me because it raised so many questions.  First, I am assuming the woman had no medical issues that the family was concerned about:  Alzheimer's or other dementia, etc.  I wonder how long it took the family to figure out she was 'missing' and does she live alone?  Did the family just call on the phone or did they actually go to the house and look for her?  Does the woman have a history of going off on her own?  (I would think she doesn't do this often, or the family wouldn't have been so concerned.)

This is the kind of thing that would happen to me.  And it would be my KIDS rather than K that would call the police.  If I don't let my girls know that I am going out, they track me down in any way possible and let me know that it is not nice of me to leave the house without letting them know I'm going to be gone.  The problem with this is, I WILL call and say--for example--that I'm going shopping or out to eat with a friend.  The response is usually less than enthusiastic that I would bother them with such trivial news.  However, if one of them would happen to call when I was out--and I didn't enable call-forwarding or answer my cell phone--I would get a message that goes something like this:

Daughter:  WHERE ARE YOU?  You leave and don't tell anyone you're going!!!! What the heck--you NEVER leave the house!!!  I wanted to ask you something and you're gone!!!  Call me when you get this!!!

I cannot say how many times I have gotten that same message from my girls.  I guess I am supposed to be at their beck-and-call even though they've been away from home for so long.  It DOES make me feel loved, however.  :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Making Donations

It's that time of year again when all of the organizations are out and about trying to get our money.  The 'season' seems to begin around the start of the school year, as so many school groups beg for money all school year long.    Yesterday, I got hit up for the second (third? fourth?) time this year.  While I really don't mind--and I always will give when a kid actually takes the time to come to my door and try to sell me something--there are times I just feel like handing over the money instead of 'buying' something I really don't need.

Just before school started, I was asked to buy a discount card from the football team.  This involved several businesses in our town giving discounts on goods and services when presented with the card.  While this isn't too bad of a deal, it turns out that the ONLY business I do regular business with is the hair salon where I get my hair done.  I could use the card there, but it is just taking money out of the hands of one of my very best friends, so I can't do that to her.  So, I'm left with a pretty useless, plastic card that will be thrown away when it expires.  I should have just handed over the ten dollar bill and told the kid to keep the card.

The Boy Scouts came calling at my door yesterday and I felt the need to pay them for some crappy popcorn.  Between the Boy and Girl Scouts, I'm very disappointed in how commercial they are becoming.  Much too much time is being spent on selling stuff that--let's face it--isn't all that tasty.  We had the popcorn a couple of years ago and I wasn't impressed.  The only thing going for it is the minuscule amount you pay for--there barely will be a one-time snack for one person in the can I paid $20 for, so I won't have that hanging around the house for too long.  And when was the last time you bought Girl Scout cookies?  Those things are getting smaller and less in a package, while the price is going up every year.  And they ARE NOT as good as they used to be.  But I still buy them and pay the money.

I had a few years where the money train had come to a complete halt here.  My girls were out of the house, so they weren't selling and there were no kids in the neighborhood coming door-to-door.  The guys that K works with had their kids moving on out of the house, so we weren't getting hit up through work.  The grandkids are home schooled, so there aren't any fund raisers through them, so I wasn't shelling out the big bucks like I had.  It was nice.  But now things are changing--the neighborhood is getting filled with school-aged kids again and so they are on the move once more.

Within the next few months, I figure I have the hockey kids, the band kids, the kids from the French club, and the Girl Scouts knocking on my door.  The only ones I'm really waiting for are the ones who will sell me the fudge-filled Easter eggs that a local candy company makes--and I don't know WHO sells those anymore as fund raisers.  But whoever comes selling the eggs will be surprised, because my order alone will fund their group for the next six months.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Frustration: UPDATED

Since Friday, our cable, internet, and phone has been wonky.  Everything keeps 'winking' off and on, sometimes for seconds, other times for minutes.  We have all three from the same company, so I am assuming that our high winds have wreaked havoc and are what is causing the problems.  But just in case it is something else, I have to 'make the phone call' today.  I HATE talking to customer support.  Whenever this problem is taken care of, I will post again.  On the other hand, I may try later today and see if things work out.  I'm leaving my options open.  :D

UPDATE:  I made the call and we 'fixed' our phone by rebooting the modem, but they still scheduled a service call.  When the guy came to the house, he said there was an amplifier that needed to be repaired/replaced and THAT is what was causing all of the problems.  Thing is, the person who reported this is an employee of the cable company and he lives just up the street--yet, he never reported the problem until Monday morning.  Maybe he was afraid he'd have to work on the weekend, so waited until his regular work day?  Anyway, problem solved--for now.  ;D

Monday, October 10, 2011

You CAN'T Make This Stuff Up

This did NOT happen here, but I found the story in our local newspaper.  I will put up the story with no comments--and you can come up with your own jokes.  ;)

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP)--A 50-foot-long bridge in western Pennsylvania has been stolen, and its owners say they're baffled by the crime and have no idea who took it.
New Castle Development spokesman Gary Bruce said Friday that he "couldn't believe it when they told me it was gone."
A state police report says the 20-foot-wide span in North Beaver Township went missing between Sept. 27 and Wednesday. 

You can find a little more on this story here.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Just A 'Keeping In Touch' Post

One thing is really hurting my chance for being over-the-top happy today and that's the weather.  Now, most people are unhappy with rain/snow/sleet/cold/etc, but not me.  Noooooooooo. I'M not happy because it is October and the temp is close to 80*--and should continue to be this warm through the weekend.  I just want to get on with the fricking fall already--is that so wrong?  ;)  And we are doing a road trip this weekend, so that means I will be shopping in stores that have already turned their a/c off, so I will be sweating like a thoroughbred right after running a race--NOT a pretty picture, by any means.

In other news...

Today K and I celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary.  After this many years, we don't go all-out in celebrating, though.  I think we'll probably order pizza for dinner and then watch the Tigers and some hockey--a REALLY big night for us.  ;D  And it's not as if we are/feel so old, it's just that 'special' days aren't all that different from any others and this far into the marriage, we don't necessarily need to make big deals out of them.  That being said, K DOES do extra nice things on big days.  Today he gave me a beautiful matching necklace/earring set as a gift and he also brought flowers home.  I really did get one of the 'good ones' when I married him.

The NHL starts its new season tonight and the Wings begin theirs tomorrow night.  I should NOT be this happy.  ;)  While other people wait for Christmas, my biggest day/night of the year is when I finally get to watch hockey again after a very long off-season.  I'm warped, I know.

I have been playing around with my nookCOLOR and have been having far too much fun.  Finally, I got around to trying to load some DVDs onto it and I must say it is EASY!  Surprisingly, the picture is fantastic when seen on the nook and I'm amazed at how nice it is to watch something on a 7" screen.  Now, all I have to do is take the time to transfer some things onto the nook--it IS VERY time-consuming--and then I'll have movies/TV shows with me at all times.  I also found out that transferring music onto the thing was super-easy, as well, so I can always have music going while I read, if I want.  I am very much loving my rooted nook and can't wait for 2-3 years down the road when I get myself a full-time tablet.  (I am waiting a bit before getting a tablet because there just aren't that many options with Android right now.  I WILL NOT buy an iPad, so I will wait until things settle down and a clear front-runner is named in the Android market.  I'm thinking this will be an anniversary gift I get myself in a couple of years...)

With fall here, I'm looking to get back into some crafting.  I have been doing a bit of sewing now and then and need to get into it much more.  I have baby shower gifts to make--one of the babies is almost 4 months old already--and bridal shower gifts.  Of course, I ALWAYS have things I need to make for the grandkids.  Last night I made a reusable, cloth snack bag.  I think it will do very well for dry snacks--trail mix, pretzels, etc--and will be used a lot by the friend I made it for.  I used ripstop nylon to line the 'bag'--which is made out of cotton material--and put Velcro as the closer.  It came out pretty neat and is one of those things that I have to make for the granddarlings.  The original instructions called for using oilcloth as a liner, but I didn't have any in the house, so the ripstop was used as a replacement.  I think I'll be getting some oilcloth and trying that variation, too.  So little time to do so much.  ;)

I have mentioned how the neighborhood dogs come to the house on a regular basis to beg me for treats.  The dog from across the street is a daily visitor.  The poor thing is getting up in years and every day I notice how old he is looking.  He is getting more and more 'pigeon-toed' as time goes on and his joints really seem to bother him when the weather 'turns.'  I hate to say it, but I don't think he will be with us for much longer.  To top it all off, his face is getting that 'old dog' look--the fur is turning whiter and whiter.  He still is happy and smiles whenever I give him his treat--he will be missed when he is gone.  (However, I will NOT miss him using our yard as a toilet...)  Here is (as K calls him) my boyfriend:

After he got through his 'puppy' years--which lasted until he was almost three--he became one of the nicest, sweetest dogs I have ever been fortunate enough to know.  But, I really don't know how many more winters he'll be able to last.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

This Should Have Been Done Sooner

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been concerned about me.  And yes, I am doing fine--knock on wood.  It has really been a busy time, so I didn't get this posted earlier, as I should have.  The Youngest and her husband were here for the weekend--they came in on Thursday night--so that he could participate in his first half-marathon.  While he didn't do very well, he also didn't come in last--he was more in the bottom of the middle of the pack--but I give him so much credit for actually FINISHING.  I wouldn't be able to do a quarter mile before saying "The hell with this!" and going home.  :D

Now back to the afterwards of the vaccination.  I have given myself four milestones that I feel I have to pass before I think I'm pretty much past any side-effects.  My first milestone was the 24-hour mark.  I figured if I could make it through that long without an allergic reaction, then it probably wasn't going to happen.  My next one is at the one-week mark, followed by the 2-week.  My final is going to be 4 weeks and I think I'm pretty safe after that.  (Of course, are we ever completely 'safe' when something is introduced into the body?  But, that is beside the point.)  I see my dermatologist after the 3-week mark, so we will discuss my going back on Enbrel--which should happen after 4 weeks.

A couple of days after getting the injection, I would up with an injection site reaction.  My arm got a rather large red, warm area to it.  This is not something that would be unexpected with me--after 2+ years of using Enbrel, I STILL get a reaction at the injection site.  The redness finally went away on Saturday and I can barely see where the color was anymore.  I also got a tremendous itchy feeling in the area, but that, too, is pretty much gone.  So far, that is the extent of my side-effects.  And I feel as if I can breathe a bit easier with each day that I am symptom-free.

Every day further from when I got the injection is a bit easier for me emotionally.  As I haven't kicked-off (yet), I am feeling a bit more confident that I won't because of this vaccination.  And I am actually feeling a bit more confident and pleased with my doctor.  I was very much thinking that I was going to have to find a new PCP after last January, but I am slowly beginning to change my mind.  While the woman is EXTREMELY CONSERVATIVE in terms of medical advice, that isn't always a bad thing.  And I do give her a lot of credit to come and talk to me for 30 minutes--unscheduled--before I got the vaccination.  She really didn't need to take the time to do it.  And I feel as if she talked WITH me much more than she did in January.  In January I felt as if she was talking down to me a bit too much, but last week we had more of a discussion.  Of course, it wasn't exactly a meeting of equals, but she seemed to treat me a bit more like someone with intelligence than she did in January.  (All of this could very well have been a perception problem on my part, too, so I'm not completely blaming her.)  As of right now, I'm leaning toward keeping this doctor and seeing if we can work things out.  It's looking good right now.