Friday, December 30, 2005

End of the Year

Well it's almost the end of 2005… it's been a rough year for me, a great year for growing and learning for Little A and a year of popularity and maturing for Big A.

Some highlights?

For me - near constant health issues that make me want to crawl into a hole. I've spent almost $3000 on deductibles and co-pays for my healthcare, yet other than the fact that I survived my pulmonary embolisms - there really hasn't been too much good news to report there. I have a new job which greatly decreases my stress levels (both financially and emotionally) which was absolutely a requirement I felt for getting better. It hasn't been the answer to all my prayers - as I feel that the commute has been rough and the hours rougher for me. But, I'm not feeling constant pressure not to miss any work and I work for someone who seems to truly appreciate the skills I bring to the job. Since it's a contract job, I have the flexibility to figure out where I want to move to in the future… although I really don't know where I want to end up being.

I'm feeling pretty torn with the urge to move closer to my mom as I know that I value the time I spend with her and moving closer to home would give me a chance to enjoy her companionship more and perhaps assist her as her needs grow. The other urge is that I'm making a good living here in Des Moines and by moving, I can't guarantee that I can continue to earn anything close to what I'm earning now. If I could find a feasible home-business opportunity where I can use my programming and business talents I could live anywhere and work from home… that would be so awesome. But it isn't like I want to continue to buy into scams - more like I realize that if I was going to do such a thing - it's going to take some risk and some specific opportunities that I'm convinced will never come my way - unless I stop doing what I'm doing and MAKE them happen.

Little A on the other hand is truly thriving right now. He's gaining weight, getting taller, talking more and basically rules the roost around home. He's finally sleeping a bit better. There's only been two nights in the past two months where he stayed up past 10:00 pm… (even though I think 10:00 pm is terribly late for him to stay up) but given that we lay down for bed between 8:00 and 8:30 pm each of those same months (barring trips to grandmas) I'm pretty sure we're not going to get any better than 10:00 pm. He's speaking so much more and so much more of what he's trying to say is with more purpose and pronunciation than ever before. He does actually repeat after me sometimes now where as before he wouldn't even try. We've got a little ways to go before he catches up with 'normal' but he's so smart - it's just a matter of applying himself more than anything else.

Big A has serious senior-itis which is something I'm learning how to live with. Chores are met with a look of disgust… I'm trying to be more appreciative of what work he is doing. After all, it's really not his fault that his mother has become a near invalid lately who wants nothing more than to curl up in her bed all day every day. He helps with Little A and he helps with the laundry… I just hate the fact that the house looks the way it does and I don't have the strength, energy or health to tackle it and keep it clean. So I ask a lot of him. Can't say I blame him for feeling the stress from that. He's come a long way since we first moved to Newton - yes, he still spends way too much time on the computer - but these days, oft as not he has friends in the basement with him playing on their pc's along side him. Everyone loves having LAN parties at our house since there's so much room in the basement for them to spread out…. Too bad it isn't cleaner.

So, either I'm going to win the lottery and no longer need to be employed or I'm looking to create the miracle that I need so that I can support myself from a home business.  In the meantime, I'd like to find the miracle that will let me return to a normal life… not too much to ask for a New Year's miracle, is it?

Can, you imagine - it was only about 1 year ago when the worst illness I'd ever experienced had been the chicken pox or the flu with nothing more serious in my medical history than a tonsillectomy as a child and a c-section… I didn't appreciate my health as much as I should have.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


  • 30 minutes per day cleaning house -- house is a pit and can't stand it
  • Move cat litter box upstairs so I can tend to it - smell is getting to me - Adam won't keep it scooped - and the stairs are just too much for me to handle
  • Insist on 30 minutes per day from Adam as well -- he needs to chip in a little bit more to help out
  • Force myself back on the doctor's office until I start seeing relief from symptoms -- tired of appts and useless tests, but I need to see relief
  • Work a minimum of FIVE days a week no matter how lousy I feel until I have a holiday or true vacation planned -- missing too much work to illness, need the money
  • Finish the blessed f*cked up bathroom remodeling I started 18 months ago by March -- sick of the stripped walls, need to prepare for listing the house to sell this summer
  • PURGE out-dated/too small clothes for Adam, Alex and I, PURGE junk, out-grown toys and baby items over eBay or Goodwill by March - need to prepare for moving out this summer
  • Pull up carpeting in Living Room by April (hardwood floors underneath) - prepare for listing the house to sell this summer

Migraine Auras

Apparently, my spells are related to migraine auras which usually start a little before a migraine (but not always) and does not always come with pain.  So, since I hated the neurologist I saw at Mercy and he never bothered to call to schedule the tests I was supposed to have in November ( I hate tests, so I never called in to tell them they forgot me though)…. I think I'll find someone else to treat me. It would be nice to get the auras suppressed or prevented…. And then it would be nice to have my pain pills to keep my chest and arm from hurting me, and then it would be nice to not be so exhausted every day. I've been getting like 10 hours of sleep every night now for almost a month - shouldn't I be a little less tired now? I've got a call into the doctor who is back from vacation starting today - so we'll see what our next steps are.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

One unpleasant moment due to Christmas

Little A was allergic to either the wipes I was using that contained lanolin (which I am allergic to) or something he ate. His little bottom got a little red on Christmas day, and redder as the day wore on - by afternoon I was using "Bag Balm" which is completely miraculous in fighting little red bottoms. But by evening it was even more red to the point of crying each time he wet his diaper or pooed. Screaming would ensue when wiping him clean. So, we switched back to the regular wipes… but by then both of his legs started turning a bit red and the middle of his back - which is why we started wondering if he ate something he might have been allergic too - who knows though. At my mom's house on Christmas day the food is all laid out all over the place and the little ones eat whatever they find. From ham, to cheese, to clam chowder, to tons of cookies (little A's favorite) - and as grandma said - "It's Christmas, let him have whatever he wants". So about 8:30 pm I was holding a very tired (no nap), very sore, little boy in my arms. I decided to leave his diaper off for a while to see if it would help with the soreness.. And then he fell asleep in my arms. About an hour later he wiggled a little bit and woke up just enough to empty his bladder, and wanted nothing more than to stay curled up on my lap to go back to sleep. Nice. I ended up in the shower because I was covered in pee from waist to knees. He cried until I was re-dressed in my jamma's and had him diapered and back in my lap. At least the rash was cleared up by morning.

Christmas has come and gone

We spent a lovely weekend at my mom's. Saturday was pretty quiet, spent getting ready for Christmas day… I made ornaments again this year as has been my tradition. Only I didn't get them made until about 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve… oh, well, I got them done. And I enjoyed making them, which is what it's all about.

Christmas day was a ton of fun with a house full of family and good cheer. Even bah humbug step-dad and oldest brother were on their best behavior. Instead of being mean and ornery they hid out in the other room so at least they didn't bring anyone else down. 

I got everything I asked for, plus more…. A pizza oven which makes frozen pizza yummy (a boost to my budget, with less delivery pizza), suitcases (ornery new kitten thought the last one needed more 'scent'), a nice guardian angel bracelet, a new body pillow, and best of all a Cashmere sweater. Little A got toys, books, more toys, videos, and more toys… Big A got a 250 GB hard drive for his pc, an fm transmitter that he has to take back (grandma got the ipod version instead of the mp3 version), a DVD that's been on the wish list since last spring and a leather coat.

Little A and his cousin Benjamin got along fabulously, which I think is amazing considering their both a little over 2 years old. Only one fight I know of and they were both under the dining room table when we heard Benjamin crying - little A must have done something, but it was a little vague. Little A spent almost six hours with his Dad on boxing day - which is like a record. Managed to come home with a soccer ball, a big wheel, and I'm not sure what all else.

Then we took the boys to see my brother's TEN five week old chocolate lab puppies. Very cute… very tired when we got there though, they just wanted to sleep in a doggy pile. But it was funny to watch them anyway, with a close eye on the boys to make sure they were picking them up by the bellies and not by the neck. They got a real kick out of all those puppies. Benjamin would find one he would want to play with for a while… while little A kept picking one up to bring it to someone and then go get another one. Not sure what his goal was, but by the time he'd bring me another one, I'd put down the first one and it would run back to the corner to start all over again. Pretty cute. I fell for the female runt of the litter - a sweet little puppy. And every time mama dog came by, the puppies would all wake up and follow her everywhere she went. If she stopped moving for a second they'd all try to latch on for some mama milk… so she'd pace around the room trying to keep them off and the 'herd' of puppies would just follow her back and forth and around the room. When it was time to go, they were going out to the garage for some sleep, half of them followed mama and the other half started darting for other outdoor places to explore, so we all followed and several of us ended up with two puppies each trying to get them all to the same place at the same time. Too cute. Once we were in the garage, little A decided the puppies were fun and all, but the four wheeler in the corner was WAY more fun.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Looking for info on migraines

I've actually be trying to find information on webmd, and various other sites about the spells I've been having. Not too much luck so far, not sure what terms to use for search.

The spells themselves are painless. I lose the ability to focus my right eye, I get dizzy and disoriented. The dizziness usually upsets my stomach. My right side of my face, right hand, right foot goes numb. This lasts anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes - although I did have one spell that lasted about 36 hours. Supposedly these are a rare form of migraine and NOT warning signs of a stroke per the Neurologist. According to him it's because it's the same nerves that would pass the 'pain' signal, just not painful. I did have one spell during an MRI - which did turn into a full-on migraine, if you've ever had one, you know why. It sounds like they're trying jackhammer the thing two inches from your head.  I've had one serious migraine since then that had me in bed for 24 hours… and I don't usually get migraines. None of the over the counter migraine meds do a thing for me.

The ER doctor has me on an adult aspirin per day for stroke prevention "just in case" the neurologist is wrong. Three months later, I'm not seeing any improvement. There are times when I get fewer spells for up to a week at a time, but I think there's only been two days in the past three months where I've gone a whole day without a spell.

So, anyway, I've been trying to find information on the web about this kind of spell… but have no clue how to find it. If I do the symptom thing - it tells me to call an ambulance, I'm having early warning of stroke. If I do migraine - it gives me the traditional type of migraine results and even after serious digging in the migraine sites, I'm not finding anything that deals with this. I did find 'eye migraine' which affects the vision of one eye - but no other symptoms. Anyone have any 'search terms' to help me find something?

I guess I partly want to see if the chest pain is related… which would ease my mind some. But so far, I just feel like people are just telling me something to get me out of their office instead of really figuring things out. I don't think I'm actually dying or anything, but there's so much room for improvement in my quality of life. I've had a couple of doctors get truly serious about digging into things - the Pulmonologist in CR and the Rheumatologist in Des Moines…. But the Pulmonologist said, nothing's wrong - you need to go to a rheumatologist… the rheumatologist said - you've got a clotting disorder, that explains everything - you need to see a hematologist. The hematologist says, you've got a clotting disorder - go home, call me if you ever get another clot… and we'll put you on anticoagulants at that time and your regular doctor can take care of that. My doctor says "I don't know what to do with you."

Chores left?

Same chores as yesterday… what did I do when I got home last night? I sat in my chair for about half an hour - then I went to bed around 6:30 pm. Think I was tired? I tried to convince Adam to watch movies with Alex… but he wasn't feeling very well either. So, Alex watched movies by himself until his movie got over by 9:30. Then he turned the tv off and came to bed with Mom. He wiggled for half an hour - until I almost took him to his bedroom. He slipped out of my arms and ran as fast as he could back to my bed… and laid still blissfully until I fell back to sleep. So, did I get up in time for work today? Nope, still overslept. Took 20 minutes to convince myself to get out of bed. Took 40 minutes to get only myself dressed and out the door (Adam's babysitting this morning). But, I'm leaving around noon today to head out to my mom's for Christmas - I'd say yeah because I love Christmas - but I truly feel like bah humbug this year. Maybe I'll make everyone listen to Christmas Carol's all the way to grandma's house…. That'll teach them.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Four

Four jobs you've had in your life: Adjunct Faculty (teacher at community college who don't speak college-eze), Waitress/Bartender, Programmer, Business Analyst

Four movies you could watch over and over: The Fifth Element, Harry Potter, Bridget Jones, While You Were Sleeping

Four places you've lived: Hale, IA (Olin & Wyoming count here), Des Moines, IA, Cedar Falls, IA, Mount Vernon, IA

Four TV shows you love to watch: How I Met Your Mother, Survivor, CSI (all), Medium

Four places you've been on vacation: Florida, Wisconsin Dells, Seattle, St Louis

Four websites you visit daily: Google,  Blogger, CNN, Hotmail

Four of your favorite foods: Lasagna, Stir Fry, Chili, Goulash

Four places you'd rather be: Playing with the kids, sleeping in my bed, sleeping on the couch, sleeping - ummm anywhere

Health progress

Things seem to be getting a bit worse - but I'm going to go to work every day anyway… even if it kills me. At this point, we've got things to work on even if 90% of my time is still spent not doing too much. But there are things I can do every day AND I need to keep my financial status in mind. Until I win the Power ball Jackpot, I'm going to need to go to work.

The 'migraine' spells seem to be getting worse right now, as is the chest pain. It's becoming more prominent and more frequent. I can't take the stairs anymore without having to sit down and learn how to breath all over again. I feel like a broken record… but no one seems to know what to do about it. Per my chiropractor (who I'm not seeing anymore due to location and timing for my work hours)… something's wrong with my lungs that keeps throwing me out of wack… and it's the throwing me out of whack that's causing some of my extremities pain. Every time I talk about the shoulder pain he wanted me to go back to ER - but I know that's futile.

Maybe in the New Year I'll talk to the Dr about how much longer we're looking at for Mayo - and if not there, then maybe try UofI in the meantime? We'll see.

Got a lot done last night

Just a few things left on my list:

  • Make more Oreo balls - took them to work, have given out the recipe twice already… and got two high fives from a couple of managers. Guess they were a hit.
  • Make ornaments - I cheated with the babysitter's presents and sent along a couple of the ornaments I made last year.
  • Wrap a ton of presents - I don't know how we'll get them all into the SUV to go to grandma's - thank god for on-line shopping!
  • Pick up the meat for the Chili I'm making on Sunday at my mom's

Short list for the 22nd of December! Too bad about the ornaments… I usually have them almost finished by Thanksgiving… but this year I just wasn't in any condition to work on them.

Dilbert Blog

OK - I've been reading the Dilbert blog for a while now - find it brings a ray of light into the day kind of thing… I usually don't post links to 'fun' blogs assuming that if someone wants to find one, they can do so pretty easily all on it's own.

But, I have to post this link - Here he's been ranked #12 in the Most Influential Management Thinker in the World - the guy who writes the Dilbert comics. Too flipping hilarious!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Progress with Holiday errands

What did I do last night?

  • Stopped at EVERY dollar store in Newton looking for children's gloves that my sitter SUGGESTED I get Alex to find 0 children's gloves
  • Picked up stocking stuffers, a gift for sitter, a gift for one of the boys at the sitters ( they said I didn't need one for the other boy, but changed their minds this morning ), a gift for dear Stefanie - although I've already got Liam's gift as well, just not wrapped yet!
  • Picked up two 'other' gifts for Alex I wanted to get him
  • Got groceries, including supplies to make Oreo balls (yummy) and Chili for Christmas Day afternoon snacking
  • Returned the Vagina Monologue on CD to the library

What's left?

  • Shipping the last train by Fed Ex tonight (they say 3 days and they'll deliver to the home address on Saturday - so I've got my fingers crossed).
  • Picking up gift for two baby boys (1 at sitter, and 1 for Carson)
  • Picking up two gift certificates at fast food places for Sitter
  • Making Oreo balls (ooohhh yummy) but time consuming!
  • Making Ornaments (damn!!!) - I make ornaments every year for my nieces and nephews (and adopted nephews) ever since I was first a single mom and dirt poor and couldn't afford gifts for them… Since I didn't have any ornaments for my own tree that year - I made a set for me and a set for them - figuring if I give them an ornament every year, after 18 years they at least have a few ornaments for their first trees. It's now a tradition and I get a lot of boos every time I suggest discontinuing it. AND I've been told that my original plan of discontinuing the practice once they hit 18 is ALSO not allowed - so I guess I'm going to be doing this until I'm 90.
  • Wrapping Presents (like 0 wrapped now) - I may end up just taking all of them to Mom's house and wrapping them while we're there on Christmas Eve

Not too bad, after all…. Since I'm in bed by 8pm every night and not home from work until after 5 pm I think I've completed a major miracle last night to get this caught up.

But, didn't they run a bunch of articles saying the water was fine?

Hypocrisy and cover up….. I smell something rotten.

EVERYONE who listened in those late August/early September days KNEW that the water flooding New Orleans was TOXIC STEW…. Yet, they ran tests and said it was fine - they pumped it into the lake and said it was fine. Now, anyone who ate or drank ANYTHING in New Orleans in the past three months can no longer donate blood because it's probably contaminated… geez… I thought the water was not so bad, it was fine…

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Going to be a busy week

Just catching up on a million chores and trying to get my last minute odds and ends shopping done for the holidays.

I refinanced my SUV and paid off a couple of credit cards to get my payments and interest rates down - have a couple more left to consolidate into one so that I have fewer payments and less interest payments due. Already starting to notice that it's helping on the stress end of things.

They're still pussyfooting around at work - per the project manager (who I still haven't met after 3 weeks on the project) he can't get us resources to identify the business requirements because 'his hands are tied' - but he expects the first draft of the data mapping to be completed by Jan 6th. All this with 90% of the office out of the office from Thursday before the holidays to after New Years… which gives us about five days - all without anyone to discuss requirements with let alone to map that against the database systems. LOL - so I'm waiting to see how things go today and tomorrow - I'm supposed to go to a meeting on Thursday to discuss project progress and discuss how he's tying our hands when he doesn't provide resources…. What can I do? 'My hands are tied'.

It's driving my manager up the wall because this guy doesn't have a clue what's required in managing a project and is having trouble with documenting scope, project plans, etc…. And she could manage this guy off the planet with one hand tied behind her back… oh well - what do I care? Their paying me to do the best I can with what I'm given. Albeit it isn't much. Oh, well, it helped me finish most of my Christmas shopping.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Next step?

Got a message from my doctor. The latest news is that all my thyroid tests are completely normal - even the same test that was abnormal yesterday. No next step... nothing left to test. I'm fine. Sure...

He said that he was hoping that the antidepressant he gave me would start helping more.

Me, I hate going in to get tests and my only thought this last time was - thank god, they finally figured something out, it's just a matter of time to figure out what treatment to give me and I'll be able to start feeling better finally.

I spent the day in bed yesterday... I woke up after 12 hours sleep - laid in bed for another four hours before finally getting up. Was up for an hour before laying down for a nap - slept for two hours. Got up for a couple of hours - went to bed again and slept another 12 hours. Today - I got up at 10, by two thirty I was semi-functional, but only able to be up on my feet for about ten minutes before the dizziness gets so severe that I have to sit down or puke. I'm fine - sure I am... what am I to do? Is there no hope left that I'll ever be me ever again? At least at work, I get to sit down all day. I just don't know how to survive this anymore though.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Lessons Learned This Week

  • Stefanie is awesome at supplying ways to make money… we need to team up more often in business adventures.
  • Phil can make me laugh even at over 300 miles away - so when you get your new job in New York, plan on a visit from your friends in Iowa.
  • I LOVE having all wheel drive - with the idiots cutting me off every time I turn around, me and my car have managed to avoid accidents each and every time (so far).
  • My timing is good - if my health is going to worsen, it did it between projects when there wasn't a lot of work going on and my missing work isn't going to delay anything.
  • There are more nicknames for vulva than I EVER could have imagined even if I'd tried to come up with a list of nicknames, it would have probably ended up with less than a handful instead of the 50 or more that were on the CD.

An on-line version of the game "I've never"

Thanks, Phil - though I think the drinking game is wayyyy more fun.

Thanks Phil

Check the statements that apply to you:
(_) I've Never Been Drunk
(_) I've Never Smoked Pot
(_) I've Never Kissed A Member Of The Opposite Sex
(_) I've Never Kissed A Member Of The Same Sex
(_) I've Never Crashed A Friend's Car
(X) I've Never Been To Japan
(_) I've Never Been In A Taxi
(_) I've Never Been In Love
(_) I've Never Had Sex In Public
(_) I've Never Been Dumped
(X) I've Never Done Cocaine
(_) I've Never Shoplifted
(_) I've Never Been Fired
(_) I've Never Been In A Fist Fight
(_) I've Never Had Group Intercourse
(_) I've Never Had Sex In My Parent's House
(_) I've Never Been Tied Up
(_) I've Never Been Caught Masturbating
(_) I've Never Regretted Having Sex With Someone
(X) I've Never Been Arrested
(_) I've Never Made Out With A Stranger
(_) I've Never Stolen Something From My Job
(X) I've Never Celebrated New Years In Time Square
(_) I've Never Gone On A Blind Date
(_) I've Never Lied To A Friend
(_) I've Never Had A Crush On A Teacher
(X) I've Never Celebrated Mardi-Gras In New Orleans
(_) I've Never Been To Europe
(_) I've Never Skipped School
(_) I've Never Slept With A Co-Worker
(_) I've Never Cut Myself On Purpose
(X) I've Never Had Sex At The Office
(_) I've Never Been Married
(_) I've Never Been Divorced
(_) I've Never Had Sex With More Than One Person Within The Same Week
(_) I've Never Posed Nude.
(X) I've Never Gotten Someone Drunk Just To Have Sex With Them
(X) I've Never Killed Anyone
(_) I've Never Received Scars From My Partner
(_) I've Never Thrown Up In A Bar
(X) I've Never Purposely Set A Part Of Myself On Fire
(X) I've Never Eaten Sushi
(X) I've Never Been Snowboarding
(_) I've Never Had Sex At A Friend's House While They Were Throwing A Party

Man… a few less X's than I thought?? scary.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

On a more positive note - even if it kills me

OK - the whole purpose behind this blog was to get a chance to refocus on the positive. I'm failing miserably at this lately.

So…. Some good things that are happening to me.

  • I've actually made money at both my books and eBay toys - thanks to a friend or two.
  • I still love my job - I'm on a new project now, finally have permission to contact someone to discuss requirements (since my job is to gather requirements). First person - was no longer allowed to talk to me by the time I contacted them, less than two hours after I was told they would be. Second person - isn't available to talk to me until next week. No biggie, I'm getting good at wasting my time at work. And thankfully, less stress since I've been sick, at least I'm not causing inconveniences now that I'm not at work every day.
  • Alex is adorable and becoming less of a terror lately. He's learning to throw away his trash and put his dishes when he's done in the kitchen or at least give them to me. He's even agreeable to pick up his toys as long as I ask and help. Even putting crayons back in the drawer in his art desk when asked. He gives kisses when asked (if he feels like it) and is starting to want to have conversations with me.
  • Adam is starting to help out a little more, without complaining the entire time… I think he still thinks I'm faking illness, but he's at least willing to compromise a bit more.
  • I borrowed the Vagina Monologues on CD from the public library - very funny, should be required reading (or listening) for all who own one. It's quite interesting listening to various types of moaning on headphones while sitting at a desk at work. I'm not sure what I'm going to borrow next, but I can pretty much guarantee that nothing will possibly compare.
  • While I haven't stuck 100% to my resolution of devoting 30 minutes to cleaning per day - I have been working every day, just not quite as much time as I had hoped. AND I am gaining, slowly but surely, there's less laundry to do, each room upstairs has improved at least a little, there's a dent.
  • I have my own car, still a joy, even after a week of having it, it's mine and I love it.

Back to work again today

Well, still not very good, only working 2 out of 4 days so far this week? Far cry from all five days last week. But, I'm trying. Yesterday I did plan to come in, but when I didn't wake up until 7 am (which seems to be the norm even on days I do make it in)… and there were icy streets and school delays, and I knew I had to take off before noon to make it back home in time for the ultrasound, I just couldn't imagine facing driving with my dizzy spells on icy roads for just a couple of hours of work.

I made it in today - again, still oversleeping. UGH, I don't really want to come here to whine, but it seems like it's all I'm doing.

Anyway, I shipped off my train last night and delivered books to Marshalltown from my book party. Between the two, I made $200 which helps given that the work I'm missing now means another short paycheck.

They didn't say anything during the ultrasound (as they never want to do) and so we're now waiting on word from the doc. If they don't find anything in the ultrasound - they might put me on meds to 'block' the extra hormones my thyroid is producing - supposedly that only works for about 30% of the people it's given to - so they might skip that step. Second step if those pills don't work or they decide to skip it - is a dose of radioactive iodine… which I'm not sure what I'm going to do about… I can't be near anyone for 24 hours - no biggie - I would just camp out in my bedroom more or less… get a sitter for one day, not a big deal… however, after that 24 hours, I can't be within 3 feet of any children for five days. OK - how do you explain to a toddler that mommy can't hold him, can't hand him his drink, can't tuck him in to bed, etc???? I'd have to have someone take him for the whole five days, I think - I don't know how else I'd be able to handle him crying when he doesn't get to be picked up by me. Even though this isn't the worst case scenario as far as the doctor is concerned, it is to me…. I'm not sure how I can handle that.

If they do find something in the ultrasound - the next step might be to do a biopsy - I guess it's a painless out-patient procedure where they use a needle to draw out a couple of cells.  Then the worst case scenario (as far as doc is concerned) is to do a partial or total removal of the thyroid… but apparently it's being done practically as an out patient or the minimum 24 hour stay, so it's really pretty minor surgery - of course, worse case to me is that they may want to do the radioactive iodine before the surgery if that's the way we have to go… so I've still got my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sold one of my trains - with buy it now option

Yahoo - wasn't sure I should add the buy it now option - but I put it at $275.00 w/ $50 shipping & handling and a $7.50 charge for gift wrapping… and one of them sold already. Which is way cool since I only listed them two days ago. And at $275 - I'm making $125 on that one. Hopefully the other will go for that as well, I can live with the $250 profit.

Back to work today

Well, I'm back at work today. I didn't get in until 8:30 am because every time I turned around I had to sit down for a little while so the dizzy spell would pass. I've only had to put my head between my knees a couple of times since I got in this morning. As I told my boss, I know that she's ok with me missing so much work, but my bank balance is complaining more. I don't think I can go an hour without my head starting to spin - ugh these dizzy spells are rough. And reading a computer monitor? Ugh - that just seems to make things worse. I was really worried about driving in, but luckily I didn't have any dizzy spells this morning on the drive in. I did have a couple of bouts with blurred vision or double-vision - but I just closed my right eye and it seemed to help. 

My ultrasound is tomorrow, so I'm hoping they can make up their mind how they want to treat this and start the treatment ASAP, I'm not sure how much longer I can handle this. It's so depressing - I can't even make Christmas cookies or finish decorating my Christmas tree or anything. I've got most of my shopping done - thanks to eBay (Paypal Credit) and my Target credit card, but I need groceries and don't have the money to get them right now. I'm looking into refinancing my Rav4 they can pay off a couple of credit cards and lower some payments for me… probably a mistake in the long run, but I need to figure out how to lower payments now, not six months from now… and this is one way to do it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Home ill again today.

Man, this really sucks. I really, really hope they can run their tests, only need to prescribe some pills and I'm me again someday soon. I can't find my cell phone for some stupid reason, so I ended up sending an email to my boss. I explained why I didn't call, hope she understands. Man, this is getting old. I can barely stand up, the dizzy spells are really bad today. I can't imagine trying to drive like this, so home, I stay.


Friday, December 09, 2005


BTW - I drove down 7th Street today through the Grand intersection so I could double check - and NO there isn't two right-turn lanes. In fact, the right-most lane isn't even a right-turn only lane. What would she have done if I hadn't been turning? So, now I feel totally justified in my dirty, what the f*ck are you doing look I gave her and completely justified in my anger when she gave me the same look.

2005 Holiday meme

Welcome to the 2005 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  Colored  - and on the tree almost all blinking and flashing - but on the house no blinking allowed.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. not ever

5. When do you put your decorations up? The first weekend of December

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Why can't it be dessert????!!! I suppose! We do a weird tradition of soups for Christmas instead of the traditional meal - so my favorite is Chili -hehe

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Seeing the gifts under the tree - spending time with family

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I still believe

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Just one

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? Whatever the kids pick out - and if it's the kind Santa doesn't particularly want  (sh…. It gets put back in the container with the rest of the cookies)

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Hate it - hate it - hate it  - I can enjoy watching a snowfall with big fluffy flakes for about two minutes and could enjoy it as easily if it were a recording as the real thing and then it can all go away

12. Can you ice skate? Not in a million years

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really - I do remember getting the Pong game as a family gift and the pool table as a family gift though

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? traditions and spending time with family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Now - Oreo balls - before fudge covered oreos - before that - strawberries that my mom makes with condenced milk, sugar, coconut, etc.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Don't think I can list just one - spending time with family - opening presents the night before - wrapping presents - making ornaments for my nieces and nephews - decorating the tree - listening to carols - all good

17. What tops your tree? Nothing yet - I can't find a lit star like I want

18. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Giving!!! I love picking out gifts for people even though I'm not sure I'm always on the mark.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Carol? Silent Night

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Not so much a mint fan... Give me chocolate any day.

Iowa has been added now

Here's a link to search for sex offenders in your area - - it's easy to use and awesome!

Being from a small town, I know that usually people in small towns know who to watch for and avoid. But when you move there, you don't know what to expect. There are over a dozen offenders in Newton alone.

Lessons Learned this week...

  • That it's impossible to keep Little A from eating Cream Cheese right out of the container no matter how hard you try to hide it in the refrigerator.
  • That it's not a good idea to try to wear Little A out even after an hour of chasing him around the house - all it does is wind him up and it'll be midnight before he's ready for bed.
  • That there is a way to get boys and men to improve their aim in the bathroom - They even have some for sale on eBay - - $3.99 each - which is a real bargain!
  • Being a contractor is awesome - even if I'm not going to get paid for a lot of the days I've missed in the past two weeks - justifiably… at least I don't have an employer breathing down my neck about it. There wasn't a lot of work that I could have done anyway - since we were between projects, and other than a friend scaring them asking if I was ok - they really weren't too worried about my absences. Certainly not as much as I was worried about them.
  • That as sick as I am of getting poked and prodded, sometimes, just sometimes they actually do find something that they can help you with.
  • Stress can cause thyroid issues! Hmmmm… I've been under physical stress with my illness, financial stress with hospital bills and now credit card bills, emotional stress over illness and teenagers and toddlers who think they need to eat everything they see therefore end up calling poison control every time I turn around… hmmmm…. While thyroid issues are unrelated to clots and clotting disorders, stress from clots and clotting disorders can cause thyroid issues!!! Which just might explain the majority of my symptoms since last Spring. Chest pains and heart palpitations, painful extremities, exhaustion, anxiety, irritability, blurry vision, double vision are all in the list of symptoms - the only thing not on the list is the numbness on one side of the body. Things on the list of symptoms that I didn't tell the doctor because I thought they were unrelated - increase in appetite with no increase in weight - which I've been eating constantly lately and a lot of junk food and I haven't gained an ounce. I just figured it was stress. Shakiness or jittery sensation - which I was putting as related to my caffeine consumption since I've been downing a 24 ounce Pepsi every day first thing in the morning - since it's the only way I can get through my day.
  • I seriously need to consider some changes in my life - thank god big A is finishing school this year… I don't think I could survive a second year in Newton. Although I'd miss Dr Frost and little A is going to be heartbroken if he doesn't keep going to see Grap-pa Shor-ty every day.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Time killer

In this one, using your favorite search engine, type in your first name and the word 'needs' in quotes (ie: "Penny needs") and list the top 10 results. Here's mine...

1. Penny needs a new home
2. Penny needs to add the following lines (linux do-it-yourself)
3. Penny needs to register her domain
4. Penny needs to consider what she wants to allow the world to see
5. Penny needs a permanent home
6. Penny needs some worky lurky
7. Penny needs your help to be able to continue on her antibiotics
8. the ”help“ Penny needs is not financial
9. Penny needs someone to spend time with her and teach her manners
And my favorite!
10. Penny needs to learn to walk on a leash and to come when she is called

Progress on the home front?

  • I've spent four of the last five days cleaning for half an hour or more (on the weekend and before I made my resolution)… the only day I missed was the day I drove to and from Cedar Rapids after work to fetch the 'train sets'.  Which I think shouldn't count against me. And I'm seeing a bit of progress. Not a lot, but enough to encourage me to continue.
  • I love having my SUV back - driving in today with several inches of new snow and dozens of stupid drivers out there went really well. Only - I have to ask this - Going South on Seventh Street and taking a right onto Grand Avenue - since when are there two right turn lanes???? According to the person in the lane left of me - she couldn't understand why I almost hit her when I turned right into the farthermost left lane…. But I'm convinced there aren't two right-turning lanes there. Of course, with snow covered roads, who knows whether I'm right or she was until they clear the streets. But I'm checking!
  • Alex growls at the boxes in the hallway that are the 'train sets' - why??
  • I've got my orders in for my book party and about five or six of the books are out of stock, so now I have to follow up so I can get the order placed ASAP.
  • I've got work to do at work - hallelujah - or however that's spelled. I've dived into the new project. I don't have a single person I get to talk to yet, but am working with existing documentation to capture the information I need anyway. Full speed ahead.
  • 90% of my Christmas shopping is going to be done on eBay or Target - why you ask? Because those are the only credit cards I've got that have any available credit on them. Man, after Christmas I'm going to have to start digging myself out of this hole!!!!
  • But to do that, I have to abolish all of Adam's driving rights so I don't end up spending even more on car repairs!
  • I forgot to stop and get bled out last night for the rest of the tests for my thyroid - so I'm repeating over and over to myself - stop for blood letting tonight - stop for blood letting tonight.
  • Really, really missing the what's for dinner meals since I ran out. Don't have the money to go again right now, but man it's so handy to have good, easy to fix meals after work instead of cooking everything from scratch.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Latest health news

Last week when I asked for a new anti-depressant, my doctor ran a standard thyroid test because low thyroid hormones can seem like depression. Found out today I have too high a level of thyroid hormones... ? Since I've been so overtired for so long and still get up, drink caffeine to survive, but am still exhausted, I have been feeling a bit 'jittery' or 'jumpy' but assumed that that was from the caffeine.

So - I go in tonight to get more blood drawn - I swear I've probably put at least five liters of blood in the lab in the past few years.

And they're making my appointment to get an ultrasound to check it out.... Yippeee - more tests.

Busy Night

Well, I am fighting my 'avoid risk' instincts and taking a good friends advice. I have bought two expensive toy items that were the last two of their kind available in the midwest - that aren't available anywhere on-line other than ebay and am going to post them on eBay to try to make a profit. They are originally priced at $250 in the store and I've seen one spot on-line where they will have them in stock again in February at a price of $340. I bought them on sale at $200 and with a coupon for an additional $50 off of each. It took a three-hour round trip drive to pick them up. I figure the cost of gas and dinner that night are a business expense... :-) fortunately. Currently they're selling at around $250 each on eBay, and there are several listed, so I'm going to wait a bit before listing them to see if there will be less competition next week. Hopefully everyone else isn't waiting. Even if they are; even if I can't sell them for a profit, I should be able to return them to the store for a refund if they don't sell. Sooooo... it's not THAT much of a risk. But, it still goes against my norm of taking the safe road. I.e., buying books for a nickel or a dime and selling them for a couple of bucks. While that was fun and all, it's hardly worth my time for a couple of bucks here and there. I wasn't losing money, but it really wasn't worth the time I spent on it. BUT, I need to make sure that any of my adventures now STOP affecting my work life. I left work early yesterday to make the trip. Got home at a reasonable time, but Little A woke up after the drive home and got his second wind. I fell asleep on him at around midnight. Not sure when, but Big A dropped him off in my bed sometime after that mumbling something about poison control. Not sure what he was going on about, but apparently Little A had gotten a cleaner and was spraying it around and cleaning (well, actually probably spraying the cat or shooting imaginary bad guys with the 'gun' on top).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I've got my CAR!!!!

OK - I know it's an SUV but it's easier to think "car" than SUV.

Funny thing is that I spent a great deal of time identifying which SUV I wanted, what features I thought were critical, which features I wanted, etc. Then when I bought this - might I add - as my very FIRST bought NEW from the dealer car, I thought it was the best vehicle I could have possibly bought. It was wonderful! I loved the short body length for easy maneuvering, quick and easy parking, the height for drive up ATMs and fast food places, the all wheel drive for slick roads, the remote door opener, the convenience for hauling things, I could go on and on.

I drove it for over two years and it reached the point where I really didn't appreciate all of it's features - it was just my vehicle, and it was nice, but I didn't get 'joy' that I felt for the vehicle when it was still now. It's got it's dings and scratches, it needs a thorough cleaning and some conditioning... it's ok, but not 'great'.

But, deprive me of it for six weeks and make me drive my son's car or a rental car - and bam! The appreciation is back! I LOVE MY SUV!!!

I drove it back to work after picking it up and swore that I wouldn't let big A drive it without supervision for a very long time as punishment for hurting it and that I would make sure that he never hurt my baby ever again.... It's still got it's dings and it's scratches - but tonight it's getting cleaned up (well as much as I can given that it's in the single digits).

BTW - The spare car seat, a folding four foot long table, a full-size stroller and various other items are in the back and there's STILL room for more to haul! How cool is it to have that kind of hauling ability in an easy to drive, love to drive day to day vehicle? Can you tell I really missed my baby?

Winter Cheer Up Cards

OK, I need a flashier title - but here's the gist...

  • No one REALLY has time for Christmas cards - let's face, the few who get them out in time is because they really don't have a life, all us single moms really, really don't have time to do everything we have to do for a normal winter month, let alone the additional work that the holidays adds, let alone spend several hours doing Christmas cards, I don't care how well you're organized. And for me, at least, if there isn't time, the cards are the first thing on my list that get scratched because I don't have time to do everything.
  • But, I love the tradition of getting an annual update on the lives and families of some of my cousins and aunts and uncles that I exchange cards with... it's a nice change to 'bills' in the mail, you know?
  • Currently I tend to get a bit depressed after Christmas as it is, all the decorations go back to storage, the weather usually sucks for several months in a row, it's cold and dreary, and there's no holidays past New Years - which to be honest, I don't tend to celebrate a whole lot other than to use the extra day off to clean, or do chores.
  • I also tend to have a lot of 'down' time by mid-January to mid-March where I don't want to go outside to do anything, I don't have money to go shopping, etc.
  • So, I think we should push a new tradition. Instead of sending Christmas cards, we should send Winter Greetings or Winter Cheer up Cards. We can make it a tradition to exchange cards over a period of several months (so we don't always end up sending Christmas cards in January when it's late - we've got lots of time to procrastinate and still get them sent). We can include the little letter that updates everyone about our lives and in return we receive little updates from everyone else which will make for more cheery mail on a cold winter night.

What do you say? Hop on my Soap box and put out the cheer - Down with Xmas Cards up with ?? Something that sounds cooler than Winter Greeting Cards. LOL

Rough night

Good news:

  • I did my half hour of cleaning that I wanted to do...
  • and I got a $300 order from my book party the other week - yahoo! Quite the sales lady the hostess was - only $11 of that order was placed the night of the party - the remainder by outside orders. Unfortunately, I screwed up and when I emailed to myself at work I messed up the email address; can't just print it unless I run around my house with my jump drive. I think I'm going to have to commandeer managing the network setup if Big A doesn't get it up and working again...
  • I get my SUV today - yahoo!!!! Can't wait to be driving my all wheel drive vehicle again with all this snow.

Bad news:

  • Little A kept me up until midnight last night - because while I was checking my email and cleaning Big A who was supposed to wear him out - only managed to wind him up... not his fault, I told him to wear the child out, it was my mistake in assuming that wearing him out was possible.
  • Little A's one eye was rather red - I hope that it's not pink eye - that's all I need!

Monday, December 05, 2005

OK - early resolutioning

According to a dear friend, first things first specifies has a concept that if you can identify one thing that you can change about yourself, your actions, etc. that is only a matter of willpower that by changing it can make a dramatic improvement in your life, that it should be the first thing you should do...

My depression and attitude is horrible lately, and I know part of that is lack of sleep (that I've put as much control over as I can) and my health (which is in the hands of doctors waiting for an opportunity to go to Mayo clinic) - neither of which I can control. HOWEVER, another factor is that I absolutely hate the condition that my house has gotten into - it's a complete disaster zone only missing the police barrier tape. I know that if I spent 30 minutes a day working on it that I would have dramatic progress. However, being tired, it takes a LOT of willpower to do any housekeeping when you don't feel well.

So, that's my goal - for the next 30 days, I am going to spend 30 minutes a day doing some serious damage control around my house. After the 30 days, I'll either increase it to 45 minutes, then to 60 minutes OR I'll have handled it to a point where I don't get all down in the dumps just looking around OR It'll be ok to keep it at 30 minutes, but I can then add in some home improvement projects to not just 'keep up' with things but make some of the improvements I've wanted to make since I bought the house. Out of which - none are finished... the mural in Alex's bedroom isn't complete, the bathroom wallpaper was stripped and the bare walls now show, etc.

Here's hoping to make a dent!

Another long week

Well, I was home Wednesday, Thursday and Friday... but am back to work today. Tuesday night was rough with Alex and he threw up again - so no daycare on Wednesday for him. Then Wednesday night - Thursday morning I managed to spend half in the bathroom with the stomach flu. Every time I moved my head, stood up, etc... it felt like everything was shifting and getting jostled around in my head - then I'd get sick to my stomach... ugh. So I sat in my recliner trying not to move my head and watched cartoons that Alex liked so he would be 'content'. I'm a terrible mother, I know.... I sacrificed some quality time just to have time to stay immobile for a few minutes at a time. Adam came down with it on Thursday night - so we've at least all been through it now - ugh. Friday I set my alarm because I thought I should be over it... but when I stood up - I got dizzy again, laid down for a second to 'steady' the world.... And slept until 11:30 am... guess I wasn't meant to go back to work, huh?

Saturday wasn't much better - but I think that part of the end of the week was the flu and part was I was transitioning off of one set of happy pills to go to a new set and it took a while for it to get out of my system. The packet says you can't just stop taking them... but the doctor thought I could - well, news flash - it's not worth trying. Sunday was better. I'm still not 100%... But I'm taking things slow and working my way back. I actually cleaned the living room on Sunday and vacuumed... which is like an amazing feat these days.

I hate that I can't keep my house clean, I hate that when I wake up in the morning that my body feels like I'm wearing a medieval suit of armor. Some how, some way, either things have to get better OR they have to figure out what's going on medically.

My symptoms are odd and tend to vary by day or by level of activity:

  • The right side of my face is now perpetually numb/tingly/heavy - like a shot of novacain that's just beginning to wear off... you can start feeling sensation, but it's like it's filtered... the tingling is mild, but it's really, really weird when the right side of your tongue is tingly and the left side is normal... like really weird. The heavy-ness is constant - it feels like the right side of my face is drooping - but I look in the mirror and it's normal.
  • My right eye is blurry like 90% of the time. My right eye with my contact in was 20/20... my left eye with my contact in is only 20/50... and when the right eye goes blurry - it's an effort to see clearly everything I think I should be able to see. I spent some time playing solitaire on the computer last week when I could barely move - and I had trouble differentiating the spades from clubs and 8's from 9's.
  • Both sides of my neck feel swollen (which could just be the glands from the flu) - and it feels like I'm wearing a neck collar or something. If I move my head to quickly to the side (i.e., like when checking for traffic in another lane or to try to figure out what Alex was carrying in a double-take)... I have shooting, stabbing pain from both sides of my neck.
  • My upper back is tender on the left side... I can't stand to be touched hardly at all.
  • My left shoulder (underarm) is still extremely painful - although it only seems to be bothering me for about ten minutes at a time four or five times a day.
  • My chest pain is severe when it happens - usually after exerting myself... and in the region of my heart.
  • The chronic 'tightness' I was feeling in my chest walls seems to have let up some... although if I'm out in the cold and breathing cold air for more than a couple of minutes I get sharp pains in my lungs... ugh, I hate winter.
  • The only other symptoms is my leg pains that tend to be worse in my left leg than in my right - although I do have occasional numbness in my right leg, don't know if it's related to lessening the pains or not.

I haven't been to the doctor - what's the point? They don't know what's wrong with me and they've ran all the tests to see if there are any blood clots or possibility of stroke or heart attack. So the good news is that I'm not dying... the bad news is that sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be easier if I was.