Sunday, February 26, 2012


I know a lot of people are excited over the fact that the Oscars are on tonight, but I am left quite cold about it.  I don't believe I've seen any of the movies nominated and I KNOW I have never even heard of most of them.  And I really don't mind.  If I get interested, I'll just watch the movies I want to when they make it to HBO, Showtime, etc.  I have a few other things on MY mind tonight.  Now on to the TMI...

Already I have started my prep for my colonoscopy tomorrow morning.  Oh, yay.  Ten years ago I had my first one--it was done earlier than a 'normal' baseline colonoscopy is done because there were some 'issues' that needed checking out.  So, here we are, years later, getting ready again.

I began my 'prep' five days ago.  The first thing that I had to 'give up' were some of my meds and supplements--namely, the baby aspirin I take and my iron pills.  Then, three days ago I had to stop eating anything with 'bulk'--fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain foods, etc.  I have been on only liquids since midnight and won't be eating any solids until after the procedure is done.  I WON'T go into more details about the prep other than saying it involves taking pills and drinking Powerade that has powdered laxative added, in ENORMOUS quantities.  Needless to say, I'm not going anywhere until I leave the house to go to the hospital in the morning.  I KNOW this prep is different than the one I did before and I'm very pleased that it is a bit quicker than the last one.  And I keep telling myself, "Tomorrow at this time it will be ALL OVER!"

The other day I was thinking about when I had this procedure the last time and couldn't remember the name of the doctor who I saw.  Actually, he probably isn't even in the area any longer--the turn-over rate for some doctors in this town is astounding!  This, of course, made me start thinking about how I would even find out who did the exam the last time and it got me remembering something that I found out at my PCP appointment in January--and this is where the FYI comes in...

Over the last several years, I have had to find new doctors a few times.  I have had some difficulties in getting my medical files transferred to the new MDs and I STILL haven't found my GYN files.  While talking with my PCP this year, she asked me a question about what my last doctor prescribed and why.  I assumed she could just look up the info in my file, as my old doctor had been in this same office before he moved on.  Come to find out, this office only has my medical records for the last 5-8 years--or whenever it was that he moved in from his LAST office.  He was not allowed to take my records with him, as the last practice 'owned' them.  I wasn't aware of the fact that medical practices 'own' your records and don't necessarily move with your doctor if s/he goes into another practice.  While I THINK you can get copies of your records for yourself, I don't think I want to pay what would be charged for 35 years worth of medical records.  And this is assuming that I could find all of my records.  It's unbelievable to me that there is that much private information about me, SOMEWHERE, and I don't have access to it--and I don't know WHO has access to it.

When I got a bit upset over the 'losing' of my GYN records, I was told by the doctor (or nurse, I don't remember) that it REALLY doesn't matter that they don't have them:  They only worry about looking at the last couple of years worth of records and don't bother with the rest.  (And this is the main reason why you shouldn't 'doctor shop' and should find one MD and stay with him/her--as s/he knows you and your issues.)  While I DO realize that the pain in my right foot that I had 25 years ago probably isn't relevant to anything going on with me today, it doesn't necessarily mean it ISN'T something that the doctor should be aware of.  For example:  Almost anything that occurs during pregnancy--gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, etc--will show up as a medical issue at some later time in your life.  I do think it would be a good thing for your current MD to know exactly what the MD had to say about the issue that many years ago.  (I KNOW that doctors talk differently to their patients than they do when dictating their notes--so records are going to be more relevant to another doctor than what a patient might have to say.)   And frankly, I have no idea what some of the meds are that I have been on over the years--and I'm talking about all antibiotics, anti-depressants, pain meds, etc.  How many of us have a list of all of the meds we've been on?  Don't we just assume our MDs will take care of knowing this?

With all of this, I will now give my advice.  If you haven't started yet, write yourself a medical history that you can update as time goes on--and put as much info into it as you can, with dates, if possible.  A few years ago I did just that and keep the document on my phone.  I am amazed at how many times a year I am asked "Did you get a flu shot this year?" or "When did you have your last tetanus shot?"  My memory is getting so bad that I can't remember the answers without them being written down.  Also, it is hard to remember exactly when these every 5, 10, 15 year procedures have been done.  For the last four years I have been 'sure' that the doctor was going to send me for my next colonoscopy because 'it's been at least 10 years since the last one.'  The memory just isn't good enough to rely on it if you have to give some (potentially) life threatening information.  We are constantly told that we need to be good health consumers and being able to have relevant information at hand when needed is a good start.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wishing For a Time Gone By

The other day found me out and about--the cupboard was quite bare, so I needed to do some shopping.  As usual, my shopping trip started out at Walmart--a one-stop shopping experience for an awful lot of what I use. I spent a bit of time wandering around, as I hadn't been in the store for a while--AND the Easter candy was on display. ;)  Just before I went into the checkout line, I saw something that led to an impulse buy:  an AHHH! Bra. I have thought of trying one of these for some time, as I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hate wearing bras, so I was hoping this would be comfortable for me.  When I left the store, I had an AHHH! Bra in my possession.

I got home after spending far too much money at the grocery store and began to put away all purchases.  (Does anyone else feel as if the WORST part about shopping is putting everything away when you get home?)  I finally got everything squared away and took the box with the bra so that I could try it on.  I opened the box, looked inside, and...IT WAS EMPTY!  I just had spent $20 for an empty box.  What to do, what to do?

The first thing I thought was, "I will take this back to the store and get my money."  But the next thing I thought was, "HOW will they know that I wasn't the one who took the bra out of the box, kept it, and am now trying to return an empty box?"  After thinking about it for a time, I decided to call the store and find out what they would recommend.  As it turned out, I talked to a very sweet girl and she said that she would leave a note at the customer service counter explaining the situation so that there would be no problem when I went back for a refund.  I'm sure this is a problem that has come up before, so they have dealt with this in the past.  But I know from now on I will be much more observant before making a purchase--this box looked as if it had never been opened and the tape-tabs hadn't even been broken!  It's just too sad that we have to be so cynical and untrusting about everything these days.

Monday, February 20, 2012


As our society ages, I am finding more commercials on TV aimed at the 'seniors' in the viewing audience.  Of course we have a scunge-load of erectile dysfunction ads, but we also are seeing ads for bladder problems, reverse mortgages, and senior dating sites.  One very prevalent commercial these days is for Life Alert, or similar products.  I'm sure we all are familiar with the "I've fallen and can't get up!" commercial of several years ago and the ones being made today are not much better.

However, the one I saw the other day just made me shake my head and go, "HUH?!"

For those who might never have seen  the product, Life Alert--or generic equivalent products--is a necklace type emergency alarm that a person will wear.  There is a button on this device which can be pressed in the case of a medical emergency.  Pressing said button will summon help and this allows an elderly person to continue being self-sufficient, and live alone, for a longer time than normal.  I very much see the benefit to these devices, but I really wish they would advertise them in a better manner.  Most of the ads for these things are testimonials--and I think they scrape the bottom of the barrel for the people they get for the commercials.  The commercial I saw the other day was person after person telling how "Life Alert saved my life!"  Basically, they all said the same thing:  "I was having a heart attack, fell down, felt dizzy, etc, and I pressed the button for help."  Then they went on and said how they would never be without Life Alert.  This was all cut-and-dried until one woman came on.  And this is what she had to say:

"I will give up bread, beer, wine, and soda, but I WON'T give up my Life Alert!"

I almost wet myself from laughing!  Unbelievable.

***Now, an added bonus:  "I've fallen and I can't get up!" has become a much ridiculed and spoofed phrase for many years.  Of course, the interwebs have helped this along.  Here are some of my favorite uses of the phrase--enjoy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Love Furry Dogs, But...

I have always said that if I owned a dog, it better be BIG.  I'm not too thrilled with 'pretend dogs'--although I think Westies are about the cutest damn things I have ever seen and would seriously consider getting one.

But, if I had my druthers, I would LOVE to have a dog like Banshee (see last post), an Alaskan malamute.  Other than being rather large and needing quite a bit of exercise, malamutes have one other thing that is annoying and that's the fact that they 'blow their coats' every year.  Now, my long-haired cat sheds, but when a malamute blows its coat, that is another thing altogether.  And if you have never experienced this, it is hard to imagine, so here is a picture of Banshee being brushed by her mom when she is blowing her coat:

 All of that white in the picture is NOT snow, that is her fur.  And the dogs that shed like this need to be brushed multiple times per week--especially during this phase.  This is just one more example of how important it is to research the type of pet you want to get before actually doing the getting--it would save a LOT of animals from being brought to the shelters.  AND this is one reason why I DON'T have a dog like this:  FAR too much upkeep.

Dog, Dogs, and More Dogs

This weekend is the annual dog sled race here.  With our lack of snow this year, the race won't be starting downtown as it usually does, but that doesn't mean the activities will be any less than other years.  There WILL be a ceremonial start in town, but the 200 mile race will have to start where there actually is snow.  It has been a strange, strange winter.  We don't battle the crowds to go and watch the start of the race, simply because it is much too cold to stand around just to see the sleds take off.  That doesn't mean we don't get some of the effect of having the dogs in town--their presence is felt all around.  It is fun to pull into a parking lot and see the trailers with the dogs in their cubbies--and you see this a lot in the week leading up to the race.  The local newspaper and TV station have daily stories--with pictures--about the dogs and mushers.  This is a nice 'celebration' during the long, cold days of winter.  And the best thing about the race is the dogs.  I have NEVER seen happier dogs than ones pulling a sled during a race:

Just LOOK at those faces and tell me they aren't doing EXACTLY what they want to be doing!  I LOVE sled dogs--the bigger the better.

Banshee is the official mascot of the race and she has her own Facebook page here.  If you have a bit of time to kill--or just love looking at some GREAT pictures of dogs (and her 'brothers'--two cats and Seamus, who is in training to be the new mascot)--go on over there and spend some time.  I don't know if there is a happier dog around than Banshee--and she is quite good-looking, as well.

Both pictures I 'lifted' from Banshee's Facebook page.  I don't think she'd mind, though.  ;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's day--or, if you don't celebrate, a nice day.  Period.  The Red Wings broke an NHL record, so my day was very good.  ;)

This year I saw an interesting trend:  people apologizing.  If someone wasn't apologizing FOR celebrating the day, then they were apologizing for NOT celebrating.  My goodness, I thought the only day that caused THIS much guilt was Mother's Day!  (Or Good Friday if you're Christian.  ;))  I don't apologize for the years we celebrate OR for the ones we don't.  This year, we had a mixture of both.

For the most part, K and I tend to be a little casual about most holidays.  We pretty much have had to, as the first few years we were married, he was off sailing the seven seas, so we were apart.  Then he got his job at the power plant and was at work more times than he was at home for holidays, because of shift work.  So, we celebrate at OUR convenience and not necessarily on 'the' day.  This year, he is working night shift for Valentine's Day, so we didn't get to do anything special.  However...

About a month ago, I ordered K's gift for the day.  It was personalized M&Ms and a small bubblegum dispenser to put them in.  Despite the expense--personalized M&Ms are NOT cheap--the dispenser is a great addition to the hockey cave.  And the Wisconsin Badgers colors are red and white, so we can get 'team color' M&Ms from Sam's Club often enough to keep us supplied.  ;)  He likes his M&MS, so he was more than pleased.

I knew I wasn't going to be making a special meal for the day, so I pulled out the old cookbook/recipe cards to see what I could do instead.  When I came across my recipe for red velvet cake, I KNEW I had to make one. I used to do this every year for February 14, but haven't made one in many years.  I forgot how much work was involved--probably the reason I quit doing it--and I ALSO forgot how great tasting this cake is.  YUM!  I may have to make another one before the year is up.  K was very appreciative, as I'm sure he had himself convinced that he would never get another one in his lifetime.

Hopefully this looks as good as it tastes.  The picture doesn't do justice to just how red this cake is, however.  You DON'T want to eat too much and forget that you did when you go to the bathroom--it can be scary.  ;)

Kind of surprisingly, K didn't get me anything for V-Day.  I don't think it had anything to do with his not being thoughtful, however.  He most definitely gets a pass from me because he was extra-special good to me for our anniversary (October), my birthday (November), and Christmas.  (All gifts were jewelry, by the way--and he is very good at buying jewelry.)  Also, this past weekend I bought myself another NOOK, so I kind of look on that as my V-Day gift.  But I think what K DID do for me was just as special--if not more so--than any gift he could have bought:  before going to work, he made sure to tune the living room TV to the secondary station where the Wings game was being broadcast, so I wouldn't have to search for it.  Now if THAT isn't love, what is?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Far Too Early

I don't agree with the statement that only old people read the obits.  While I may be old now, I have read the obituaries for many, many years.  And since the paper 'back home' came online, I have read THOSE obits daily, also.  This is the only way I find out things, as I don't have  anyone to let me know any other way.  The last few days of obit reading in our local paper have been very disturbing, indeed.

On Monday of this week, among some very elderly people, there were five very young (and 'young' is a relative term) people who passed.  Their ages were 24, 50, 54, 58, and 59.  On Tuesday, four more young people were listed.  Their ages were 21, 50, 53, and 58.  Today we found three more.  The ages were 32, 59, and 59.  At least each day has less than the day before and we can only hope that by the weekend there will be no deaths reported of anyone under the age of 60.

I'm not obsessed by this deluge of early deaths, but I find it very strange.  It will be interesting to see if it continues.  Hopefully, it won't.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Haters Be Hating


The last time I really worried or thought about whatever font I was using was when I was the superintendent of our Sunday School.  I used to do a 'talk' every Sunday and used visuals whenever I could--and this included computer generated visuals.  I also did posters and other displays for the walls of the Sunday School and the classrooms. At the time, I wanted to do something 'different' as often as possible and I am certain I used Comic Sans at some point.  I never thought too much about what font I was using, only that it was something I didn't use the week before.

I don't know if I would particularly want to read an entire book published in Comic Sans, but I certainly don't hate it.  I find it easy to read and pleasing enough.   However, I think there IS a time and place for its usage, but even if it IS used poorly, I don't feel as if that is any reason for the pure venom that some pour out over this issue.

For some time now, I have read about all of the hate people have for the font.  In some circles, I would fear for my life if I even mentioned 'Comic Sans,' so I decided to do some interweb searching to find out just what was wrong with this font.  And I have come to one conclusion:  there is nothing wrong with i.

It seems as if most of the people who hate Comic Sans have no real reason for it.  Most of these people are sheeple who are hating because other pretentious idiots are haters.  The biggest reason that anyone will give for the hate--IF they give a reason--is that it is overused and used in inappropriate places.  Now, I can understand the not liking something that is used inappropriately, but the hatred goes much, much deeper.  There actually are entire websites devoted to the hating of Comic Sans.  Some people are trying to get it BANNED forever from the world.  Many haters seem to be 'designers' (or something) and are so pretentious that they must have a hard time breathing the lofty air where they live.  And we wonder what is wrong with this world when far too many are concerned and consumed with hating a fricking FONT!  Give me a break!

I also found it far too often that many of the haters seem to be haters of Microsoft--the company that brought Comic Sans into this world.  And I wonder if THAT isn't the big reason why the font is hated:  its association with Microsoft.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Don't Ask and I Certainly Won't Tell

K had to go to the grocery store before work today and he came home--as he does, at times--with a couple of lottery tickets.  As he was leaving for work, he told me to scratch the tickets, but "If you win, don't tell anyone. At least until we have the money in our hands."  I DID have to chuckle--as IF we would ever win enough to HAVE to keep it a secret, but, we can dream.  ;)

K and I aren't what you would call 'gamblers.'  He will get in the football pool at work and buys lottery tickets on a semi-regular basis.  We have been to Las Vegas once and a couple of times a year we will go to an Indian casino and 'donate' some money to the Native Americans.  ;)  As we don't go out to bars, etc, and spend money that way, the money we spend at the casino is for a form of entertainment--and cheaper than some other forms, actually.  If you can curb your spending, sitting in a casino isn't really all that expensive.  And who knows, you just MAY win some money.

Every so often, we will go off on a flight of fantasy and discuss what we would do if we won a lot of money.  First thing, I would NOT want a lot of people to know about my winning big--I just don't need that kind of attention.  K has a definite number in mind that he would need in order to quit work and if he won that amount, he would only go back long enough to sign his retirement papers.  Neither one of us has a lot of material things we would want to buy.  A new (modest) house and a couple of new vehicles and we would be pretty set.  Really, $1 million would be more than enough for us to elevate our life style!  (And $1 million doesn't buy nearly as much today as it once did.  ;))

Of course, if we ever won A LOT of money, then we would have some decisions to make.  We would need to decide who would benefit from our winnings, besides us.  We would want to 'do' for our kids and their families, naturally.  And several charities would benefit, as well.  But after that, just who do you 'help?'  I have always been family-oriented, but being estranged from my parents and brother would keep me from wanting to 'spread the wealth.'  We probably would help out my parents and K would want to do something for his oldest sister, at least, but beyond that, we would have to think long and hard about who else.

One question that has come up when talking the 'winning' scenario with friends is "HOW would you help your kids?"  I would be too afraid to give enough money for my kids to never have to worry or work again, but I definitely would want to ease their burdens.  I would like to set up a trust fund--or whatever it would be called--that would pay their bills and allow them to live a comfortable life, but not give them enough to become lazy and entitled.  I would want them to HAVE to continue working, if for nothing more than all of the 'extras' they would want to have.

So, have you ever done the 'what if' game?  How would you spend your money?

Friday, February 03, 2012

They Gave YOU A License To Drive??

Our local Walmart is accessed from the main highway.  On the other side of the highway is Target.  To help with traffic, there is a 4-way traffic light.  This, of course, isn't the most efficient way to keep traffic flowing on a highway, but when you don't have freeways or interstates, this is the way things are done.  (Also, the closest thing we have to four lane highways for the majority of the UP are stretches of 'passing lanes.')

I went shopping earlier and the first place I had to go to was Walmart.  When I got to the traffic light for my turn, there was one other vehicle in front of me and the light was just turning red.  I got into the left-turn lane and proceeded to wait for the green light.  However, the driver of the vehicle in front of me decided he didn't want to wait and MADE THE LEFT TURN ON A RED LIGHT!!!!!  This absolutely left me flabbergasted--which I don't understand because this is AT LEAST the second time in the last year that I have seen the exact same thing.  It was just sheer luck that there were no vehicles coming down the highway at the time the guy made the turn.  This could have turned into one bloody mess.

I am nowhere close to the world's best driver--actually, I could be better and I know it.  I have had brain farts while I've been driving and I certainly hope that is what happened to the driver tonight.  Otherwise, this person IS going to be the cause of someone's very serious accident at some time in the future.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Those 'I Feel So Bad You Can't Understand' Blues

We have all been sick, hurt, or in one way or another, in some sort of discomfort.  And these are times when we manage to say some very silly things.  And I have stories...

--The Sister-in-Law was in the early stages of labor with her first child.  She was at her parent's (my in-laws) house waiting until it was time to go to the hospital.  After a slightly uncomfortable contraction, she looked at my mother-in-law and said, "But you don't KNOW how much this hurts!!!"  My m-i-l just rolled her eyes and shook her head:  She had given birth to FIVE children, herself.

--The Second Granddaughter was experiencing some menstrual cramps.  This is the one who happens to be Miss Drama Queen.  After moaning and groaning all day long, she looked at her mother and said, "But no one has EVER felt like this!"

--Yesterday, The Son-in-Law had a hernia repair.  As surgery goes, this was quite minor--and the only incision was a small one made in the navel.  He was given a 'twilight' anesthetic and was in the hospital only three hours.  From the way he was acting, The Oldest said you would assume he had been in the ring with Mike Tyson for 8 rounds.  And he told The Oldest, "But you have NO IDEA how much pain I'm in!!!!"  The Oldest has given birth 8 times--five of which were by C-section.

Thank goodness we love those we take care of and are taken care of by people who love us.  Otherwise, I think there would be quite a lot of slapping upside the head going on.  :D

***I'm VERY thankful that there hasn't been a camera going while I was sick, in labor, or recovering from surgery.  I'm certain being around me wasn't any walk in the park during those times.  ;D***

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Police Log

Guess what?  We finally have a few good stories to pass on!

(These all happened on different days.)

--1:43 AM, subject on the roof refusing to come down.
Just one thing to say about this:  IT IS THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING WINTER!!!!!  I don't think I WANT to know why s/he was on the roof.

--9:41 AM, report of neighbors banging on walls, was just ice falling.
I kind of have the feeling that the person doing the reporting has some ISSUES with the neighbors.  ;)

--6:07 PM, two subjects arguing, throwing snowballs at each other.
So now we can't do snowball fights?  {shaking my head}

--6:30 PM, complaint that a snowman in front yard has male genitals;  removed by builder.
First of all, just wait two days and the genitals will either be covered with snow or will have melted enough that they would not be evident anymore.  And secondly, WHO examines a snowman enough to actually tell that it has male genitals?  Unless the builder made them so big that they couldn't BE ignored...  And I'm not too clear on WHAT was removed by the builder:  The snowman or the genitals?  :D