Monday, December 31, 2007

"A"s job

Well, it's day 7. An official week, since he started on the 25th, today is the 7th day. He's only worked about 80-90 hours this week... one shift was about 28 hours. But, he's fixing the system, and he's been promoted, again... he's now the "official" trainer and trouble shooter for the five Des Moines stores. I'm proud, but also a little worried he's going to burn out and then not want anything to do with them. We'll see. Wish him luck.

"a" just got home from daddy's last night. He had a blast as always, and tons of presents. I think grandma and grampa on his daddy's side is spoiling him - as the "horse" I assume it's stuffed? was in the back of Daddy's SUV and when "a" wanted to put it in mommy's car, Daddy said that mommy wouldn't want that "big ol' thing" and that he'd take it home and keep it at his house. I was curious - as I think there's an animated horse that responds to the kids that ran a couple hundred dollars that it might be. But who knows?

Anyway, on to the financial aspect - I'm cashing out an IRA to try to keep things from going bad to worse. Once I get that money I should be able to buy some groceries and make my payments on some of my debts to keep me out of trouble. I thought about fighting the garnishment since I'd been making payments every month on the debt, maybe not as much as they want, but something. But if I can make it through the next couple of months, that would be one last debt to pay on. And with "A" working the hours he is, he can help cover some of the expenses so that we can get through it.

Like Phil, I'm going to post my progress a bit, so that I can keep myself on target.

Saturday I did my 6 loads of laundry and I pulled out three boxes of baby toys. I didn't get them cleaned until Sunday, but as I was digging out toys from various piles and bins of stuff, I sorted out a lot of his toys and his room is about half-clean right now as a result. So on Sunday, I sorted and cleaned the toys I pulled out before I drove to Iowa City & back to pick "a" up. So, I feel pretty good about that. Last night, "a" helped me pick up even more because he was excited to see his room getting clean; and I found a few more items to put with the others that we're getting rid of. I'll clean them tonight; and then sneak them out to the car (where I've hidden the others) after he goes to bed tonight. I'm going to post them on free-cycle.... I had thought about trying to sell them, especially as right now we're in a money crunch; but it's not really worth the time to mess with them. And I know that with free-cycle, they'll be appreciated and hopefully, they'll be gone before "a" figures out what I'm up to.

I'm trying to work today, but it's completely dead. Nice thing is that I finally get to work on the stuff that's been low priority for forever... problem is that it's hard to motivate myself to work on something that isn't very important. It also doesn't help that "a" and "A" are both here distracting me and it's really something that needs focus.

That said, today's de-clutter and home work is to take down and pack up the Christmas tree and some of my Christmas decorations; and post the notice to free-cycle about the toys.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Long list of chores, too little time

It's really nice having some peace & quiet, I can't remember the last time I was in the apartment alone. Unfortunately, Aunt Flow has arrived and I feel like doing squat. Ah, but time is of the essence. So, here I am still in my pjs and wasting time on blogger! LOL

So my to-do list that I am going to SHRINK down to a manageable level.

1) Shower & Dress (yes, that needs to go on the list these days!)
2) Get cash & quarters for laundry
3) Do a minimum of 6 loads of laundry today ($18.00 in quarters! ugh!)
4) Seek out, clean and hide the box of outgrown toys

It is feasible, but that means I actually have to move and DO it.

I would also love to put away x-mas decorations & tree; clean my room; clean my bathroom; clean my kitchen and living room... but me thinks that's not going to happen. I'll have a hard enough time getting my short-list done given all I want to do is crawl back into bed and put a heating pad on my cramps.

I did commit to myself that I will no longer put of my gyno exam - I WILL schedule it in January and I WILL discuss other options for relieving the endometriosis and fibroid pains as well as massive ( I mean MASSIVE ) blood flow thanks to my blood thinner meds. I HOPE and PRAY that this will also help with the iron deficiency issue since I'm bleeding through around ten overnight maxi's a day.... my biggest issue is that I'm certain the answer will be complete hysterectomy, which while I don't think I'd hate it entirely, I'm just certain I'm not ready for it if I can't take Hormones... without the hormones to help me through, I'm just not sure I wouldn't be trading one bad situation for another. So, here I go... shower, cash, laundry, toys... and then I'll be back searching for information about hysterectomy's and surgical menopause and non-HRT remedies!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dreaming of a New Year

"A" has started his new job, and seems really proud of himself. I'm very proud of him as well. I always knew he knows how to work hard, is smart and learns fast. He just doesn't always chose to show it. Often for xmas, I try to find a funny t-shirt (although he doesn't love it, he'll wear them). This year, I found an awesome one. "Born genious, slacker by choice"... LOL! A company came in and bought out a few convenience stores in the area; a trainer from Omaha came in and started staffing them up. She's thrilled with "A" as he's able to not just learn quickly, but since he's computer literate, previously a chef, and good with his hands (as I've always made him help me around the house as a handy-man); he's been able to fix broken equipment (like the hot-dog machine); and figure out quicker and easier ways to fix the register system when handling inventory. So, basically, now, he's showing the trainer the short-cuts he's discovered that makes their job easier. Which is pretty darn cool. He knows how to do inventory, to order new stock, close the register, etc. after only being shown once or twice. They're right now in the process of hiring (and firing the ones that don't get it)... and I guess they hired one guy as a potential manager, but she's mad at him because he came in late one day to open. Although "A" has management experience (a couple of months at the race track); he's just not ready for that kind of responsibility just yet. I'm sure she knows it as well, but that doesn't mean that they won't keep their eyes on him for the future.

They want to go 24/7, and I know "A" would love to work the overnight hours. Only issue is that since he's still sleeping on the couch, it'll be next to impossible for him to sleep during the day if we're around. It's just short-term right now just trying to figure out how we're going to make it through the next couple of months... but I've asked him to think about his longer-term prospects and plans as if he's going to be around more than six months we really ought to consider moving into a 3-bedroom apartment. But where else can he work late nights, flirt with all the girls that come into the store, not have a lot of supervision because he's proving himself trustworthy (thankfully) AND he can text on his phone as much as he wants when he's not busy.

"a" is going out to see his dad this weekend, which is awesome. I'm looking forward to being able to clean his room and cycle through his toys and get some of the baby toys out of there, put some others into storage so that there's less around to make messes with... not that he can't figure out a way anyway.

Me, I'm totally freaking out... I've been totally bankrupt for so long, and basically this past summer started making payments to my creditors... I've got eleven companies I'm seriously in debt to. I discussed filing for bankruptcy last year... but when I realized I made too much money to really improve the situation much... all I was going to be able to do was "re-organize" my debt... I decided I'd rather send that money to the creditors instead of the lawyer.

So, I spent the first part of the year getting into a position where I was decreasing my expenses and trying to figure out how to survive on less money. Then I started paying my creditors each $100/ month - not as much as they want, but by the time I've got 11 creditors $1100/ month is what I can afford... add my car payment it's $1700/month towards debt (which is 50% of my net income). I figure the companies I owe the most to, this won't hardly cover the interest... but, the ones I owe less too, eventually this will pay them off. Once they're paid off, I could then take the extra money from that debt and apply it to the larger creditors. Based on my math which was a bit concervative, this would get me out of debt in about five years; which I figure was worth it.

However, this leaves me about only $200/ month for gas, entertainment, lunch money, clothing allowance. Everything else was going to rent, car payment, car insurance, insurance, day care and groceries.

About the only "extravegance" I have left was the YMCA membership of only $58/month - which I might have to consider discontinuing... why? because one of the companies that I was making payments too - managed to garnish my wages, even though I'd been making payments and I hadn't received any notification they were taking me to court. They are going to garnish $600 per paycheck ($1200 per month). I'm SO screwed. I'm going to go to the courthouse to try to fight it, but geez! That's money I really don't have. If I can't get it stopped, I can't afford to pay any other creditor and then they'll have reason to take me to court. Add to it I was already going to be on a tighter than normal budget for the next two months.... 1) I have to pay my daycare while I'm putting away pre-tax dollars to pay my daycare before I have enough in the account so that they can pay my daycare for me which is double the expense and 2) I have a new deductable all over again for my health insurance which means all my medications have to be paid for instead of being free (like they've been for the past nine months).

I'm screwed. The only good news is that "A" wants to help out financially. My issue is that as much as I can use his help, and will probably accept it in the name of repayment for the debt he's never repaid; it's the principal of the fact that he needs to get his own act together and not just help his mother out. It's not supposed to work that way... you know? I'm not supposed to need his help. It doesn't matter as I basically have few other choices. I may still have to go back and declare bankruptcy after all, as if I can't get the garnishment stopped, I at least have to stop any further legal action against me. I thought that even if I wasn't paying "enough" that my payments were at least the "right" and "just" thing to do.

Well, now that I've vented... I've freed my mind and can now consider my goals... I don't usually believe in New Years resolutions, but this year, I need them!

I'm going to start writing POSITIVE posts for 2008!
I'm going to lose at minimum 10 pounds with or without the Y membership by cutting back on snacks I can't afford, reducing my Pepsi intake and exercising.
I'm going to get out of the house ALONE at least once a month, even if it's nothing more than a walk in the park.
I'm going to continue to knit & crochet, but am going to LIMIT the time spent so I don't mess up my wrists.
I'm going to capture more pics of "a" and get them online which is safer than on my camera and my now wiped hard-drive.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Almost Ready for Christmas

I spent too much money, as always. But "a" should have a blast.

"A" is getting what he's asked for, and not much more... I couldn't find any coal for his stocking, so limited gifts seem appropriate. He should be at least thrilled to be home for Christmas. He got out on "pretrial release". Which is supposed to be a good sign that they don't expect to sentence him for more than a few months... as "pretrial release" usually means that they think holding you until the trial (six months from now) would be more time served than the crime committed. Since he's charged with felony burglary (up to 25 years) and assault (two months max), there's a good chance that he'll get the burglary charges dropped (we hope). It's a lot like probation. He has to check in with his probation officer, he can't step foot in Jasper county, and he can't screw up. We'll see how it goes...

Me, I'm struggling with the thought of going to my step-dad's house on Sunday. Driving three hours each direction to exchange gifts in a house without my mother in it, and without her "all out" Christmas decorating, and her all out Christmas treats with items that at least one person in the family considered their favorites. It just doesn't seem right. I have gifts for my nieces & nephews and a warm sweatshirt for my step dad who's lost over 100 pounds and all his clothes are WAY too big now, plus he's always cold now... and it's a big plus that it isn't on Christmas Eve nor Christmas day... but it still doesn't feel right. It's just too depressing.

Other than that, I have a new tradition that I think I'm going to implement this year - starting tonight. I'm going to gather up all of the presents and wrap them with a generous serving of Bailey's and Buttershots on ice with Christmas carols playing. I think the drink addition will add a great feel to the holiday mood.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thank GOD for online shopping

For some silly reason, in November when I had 1) a teenager living with me and available for baby sitting & 2) three (3) whole Parent's night out events where I left "a" with capable hands for very little cost to me and was given FREEDOM... I did not do all of my Christmas shopping?

Why you ask? Well December will bring more parents night outs right? Well, no - they don't have them in December. And certainly my teenager will still be living with me in December? Technically true, but obviously not!

So, thank god for on-line shopping. I've got one tab open to a very boring text-filled web site, and each time the little tyke comes my way, I flip over to it. He has no idea that santa is checking out the on-line deals and trying to get free shipping on all his gifts.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Well, I went to go see "A" this week, took him some underwear, socks and shirts... I guess they can do laundry, but they don't provide very many good "options". who knew?

It was hard. He didn't want to be there, and I didn't want him there, but I'm deliberately choosing not to make this easier on him. Which is hard, but necessary.

He had a hearing today to see if he could get a pre-trial release. And then if he gets out, he's thinking that after Christmas (or much later?), he'll plead guilty to a lesser charge. I'm thinking that if he wants to plea bargain, he should do it sooner so that the DA doesn't go through the expense of a trial, so they might agree to the plea bargain. If he goes to trial anyway, they don't have any reason to agree to letting him off at the lesser charge of assault. He says that there's no evidence that he broke in, that the door was unlocked, and that there were witnesses who saw him walk in without having to break in. But, my bet is that if those witnesses were willing to come forward now, that the DA wouldn't be trying to charge him with burglary. Ah, well.

In the meantime, I called mediacom, who is my phone provider now and do I have some serious complaints about their customer service.

1)I called in from work, the guy was escalating to level two tech support and had me on hold and somehow managed to lose me in the system - I was re-routed to another first level technician
2) and was told that they couldn't even open a ticket, let alone talk to another technician on the issue if I couldn't read them numbers off of the back of my modem "because the technician didn't record the numbers when they set up my modem".
3) Then she got pretty rude about the fact that in three months I've never received a single call AND I didn't report it until now. Like I knew that if you dialed my number you got a disconnect message... how would I know, it's not like I'm going to call my empty apartment. And I felt it was none of their business that I wasn't giving the number out to anyone.
4) So, after work, I called back again to read off the numbers off of the modem so(which they said they didn't need after all)
5) So then, then we went back on hold so they could escalate to another technician.. and then I got told that they would either email me if they had anything they needed me to do, or they would be calling me up (which would be great) if they got it working
6) So then I didn't hear anything for four days... so I call back
7) Apparently the call on Tuesday, they did a work ticket to program the numbers that were on the back of the modem in... but never did a work ticket to fix the issue... so no one was working on it, even though they swore to me that a second level technician was "working on it as we spoke"

So basically, I can call out, I can use the internet... but if anyone calls my number, they get told it's disconnected. Since I never give the number out, it didn't bother me none... however, with a cell phone at my step-dad's... I kind of need a way for someone to reach me.

SO then, my sister, who hasn't come for the past two weeks, even though they had promised to bring my cell phone to me, I finally get a hold of her, and they'd completely forgotten they had promised to pick my cell phone up two weeks ago and bring it. About that time, I figured I'd call my step-father and have him mail it to me - would have had it a long time ago by now if I'd just done that in the first place, but they talked me out of it.... so now, I finally reach my step-dad, and he doesn't have it any more because my niece picked it up the night before. So, god only knows now when she'll ever bring it. Do I get to be pissy about this? Or should I just shut up and grin and bear it, they didn't have to try to help me out after all? Knowing me, I'd probably just grin and bear it anyway. Wouldn't do any good to complain, not like either of them know what the word responsibility means.

OK... I'll quit wining now.

"a" is so excited for Santa to come. We hung the stockings up last night and this morning he had to announce that Santa hasn't come yet and show me his sadly empty stocking... and then he searched through all the stockings just-in-case. In one of them there was an old elastic band that must have been on some stocking stuffer one year... so he wore that to school today as it was a special bracelet from Santa!

Tonight we went to the Y and we did Christmas crafts... or I did most of them, while he watched me... as tv and eating cookies was a little more interesting... !

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Destressing by knitting

Well, I've been knitting like a maniac these last few months, more so this past week or so. It lets me busy my hands and keeps me distracted enough that I'm not dwelling on my troubles.

I wish I was decorating the Christmas tree or sitting around with my sister & niece. But nothing seems to want to go my way lately.

Did I mention?
- left my cell phone at my father-in-laws at Thanksgiving
- Sister was going to bring it to me last weekend - but a snow storm killed that
- Sister was going to bring it to me this weekend, but my niece couldn't get ready in time to come out apparently, I don't really know, because I keep calling her and getting disconnected
- My regular phone doesn't seem to work - I can call out, but if anyone calls in it tells them it's disconnected
- So, my sister can't call me, and every time I call her, if she answers, it disconnects
- oh, and I canceled out of a play time for "a" because my sister was coming, which obviously didn't happen, so he missed out there
- I can't call "A" while he's in jail - but he could call me, that is if I could get calls...
- I was going to go see him yesterday - visitation is Saturday afternoon & Thursday morning... but I can't take "a" and my sister didn't come to see me after all
- my lock on the garage broke about half-way through bringing up the Christmas decorations
- Adam managed to keep the garage keys in the ruckus, so even though I've called maintenance to fix my lock, I have no keys
- Called maintenance on Friday to say, hey, have no key to the garage, after you fix it can you drop off a key? - they said, hey, pick it up on Saturday
- go in on Saturday, they didn't have a spare, said come back in an hour and they'll go run and make one
- came back an hour and fifteen minutes later - office was closed

... so I'm feeling a little bit frustrated.

At least we have a tree - I bought some lights for it, but that's about it. I didn't get to go see "A" and I have no way to let him know that I wasn't coming so I'm sure he's upset - and since he can't call me, I'm sure he's feeling even worse.

So, for two days now, I've sat around in my pajamas and knitted. I think I've almost finished all my Christmas gifts, but a couple of finishing touches on a couple of items... so I'm just dreaming up things to make... not sure who for, but hey, I'm de-stressing, so I'm thinking it really doesn't have to be for a purpose. Right?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Another work week down

Things are starting to settle down a little at work. I'm delegating out some of my "issues" work so I can work on planning for future releases, which means a little less stress.
"A" is at the county jail, he's been indicted for felony burglary and assault. Bond is about $1500 - which I don't have. So, he'll be there at least a week.  He's trying to get bail reduced so he can get released before trial; and the hearing is on Thursday. Worst case, if convicted he can serve about 20 years. Best case, they drop it down to assault and he gets a couple of months, perhaps with time served. So, we'll see. I guess the felony burglary is "entering a home with intent to commit a crime" ... the crime being the assault. He says he was "invited" in, so the burglary should be getting dropped, we'll see. I've got some good questions for him when he calls me again, but do not know if he'll discuss it over the phone since they are recorded, to see if it's really his word against the friend, or if they have evidence that he broke into the home... if he's going to get a couple of years anyway, I'm not sure it's worth sabotaging Christmas by paying for him to be out for a couple of months if he's going to be sentenced to a year or more.... we'll see. If he's going to be serving the time anyway, in a way, I'd rather he stayed at county lockup instead of having those months end up in his sentencing and he's at the federal prison. I don't really have a clue, but I'm thinking county is a little less "intense" than prison and if he's going to serve the time anyway, county is a little easier for his health and well being?
I don't know... I honestly don't. I'm trying to be helpful, but then again, since I know he's guilty of the assault, I also want him to have to accept the consequences of his actions. Plus it's not like I can make all of this 'just go away'.  He screwed up and he knows it. He feels bad about it, but that doesn't mean that the guy he beat up has any fewer stitches or bruises. I really hate that he went back to Newton at all... let alone that it ended this way.
As much as I looked forward to the move and I did love my house, there was just something really "negative" about the social life in Newton. People weren't overly friendly, there's a lot of drug use, a lot of "class anger" between the haves and have nots; and there really is quite a big division between the two groups.  And "A" made a lot of friends who didn't think there was anything wrong with dating underage girls, drinking every night, etc. 
What I do know is that if I were to bail him out, which I'm not sure I will; that he's going to have to agree to surrender what would normally be an adult's rights to move back into my house.  He's proven to me that being an adult or not, he isn't mature enough to handle his own decision-making; and if he wants the right to live rent-free and get free meals, free bus tickets, etc... he's going to have to play things my way for a while.
As for me, I'm doing a ton of stress-reducing actions to survive through this. In my mind I know that this is far more stressful for "A" than I, but I'm going to be selfish for a minute and admit that this is really hard for me to deal with. I just don't understand him and why he felt that if his friend 'deserved it', that it was ok for him to dish it out.  I grew up knowing that people didn't always get what they deserved, but that it wasn't up to me to 'level the playing field' and fix it.
I keep thinking about all my mistakes when he was growing up, about the fact that I truly think he might be bipolar and needs to consider treatment, and then I think about the fact that he's 19 years old, he knew perfectly well what he was doing, and he did it anyway... even with all I did RIGHT when he was growing up and even with all the programs and extra steps I did to try to help him understand right from wrong. I gave him everything he needed, I supported him as much as I could, and I stood by him when everything else would fall apart. I loved him through thick and thin, tough times and good times, when he was sad and lonely and when he couldn't stand the thought of coming home but wanted to spend all his time with his friends. I did the best I could, I asked for help when I needed it, I sent him to counseling and special programs for kids with difficulty getting along with others.
I still love him, and I always will. It doesn't mean I have to support him when he's screwing up and continuing to. It doesn't mean that I can't help him straighten himself out either. And it most certainly doesn't mean that I have to like what he does. He seems to act like he doesn't deserve a better life. So, I'm working on goals for him & I to help him see that things can be better and what he has to do to get there.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Had to try out the email to blog thing & add the email address to my contact list. Who knows? Emailing might be an awesome way to start venting and de-stressing again!

Connect and share in new ways with Windows Live. Connect now!

Well, here we go again

I'm majorly sressed out. Work is nuts as always, only now not only do we have a ton of work, but we're spending an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out when we're going to (not going to) provide the update. Which can change hourly. And if it changes and we already have the work done, we have to undo it. And if it's ok, then we have to repeatedly change all the "other versions" for future work so they are consistently including or excluding the changes that are being determined on an hourly basis they should or should not be included. I'm going to go stark raving mad if they don't knock this shit off.

In the meantime, "A" is now arrested. I don't know the details, but I do know he admits to beating up his friend and that he was actually arrested for a robbery. He asked me if I would pay his bond, but we're looking at $15,000 bond after I never got back the $500 I gave him for his $5000 bond last time. SO, I'm tempted to tell him to stick it out, if the charges for robbery fall through from the start - they'll release him - unless his friend presses assault charges.

The sad thing is that I'm just so stressed out I don't even want to know if he's innocent or guilty or what even really happened. I'm just trying to make it through the week every week. If that makes me a terrible mom, well, then so be it. I should be the one to stick up for him, and maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy and capacity to do that. But, honestly, right now, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. Cry for all the good things that I've ever wished for him to happen. Cry for all the pain he went through. Cry for the fact that he doesn't believe in himself enough to try to do and be better than he has.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"A"s eviction

OK, so "A" must have post-poned his eviction by sending in a bad check. His landlord called and left him a voice mail about the bounced rent check.

"A" called me to discuss requirements to move in. Good news is that this means he won't be doing as much illegal things and perhaps this will make it extra hard to date an underage girl. Bad news is that he's moving in.

I've given him the "requirements" - job or school, help out occasionally, stop breaking the law.

Wish me luck (well, ok, him too) but I know I'm going to need it!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Not sure I have much of interest to say

But, let's see if I can't come up with something.

"A" is still dating the 15 yr old. She's sweet, but he doesn't "GET IT" that it's wrong and if her dad gets pissed it doesn't matter that she's sweet and the relationship is consensual. Ah, well. His life.

"a" is doing well as always, but he wishes that it was still Halloween. I've brought up the whole, it'll be Christmas before you know it... but he still keeps hoping for Halloween.

Me - I'm not losing weight - although not trying as much as I should be. I've been missing out on the gym for a couple of weeks now - and I seriously miss it. But, I'm focused on getting the house cleaned up again (after a sick weekend in bed, followed by three nights of pre-menstrual cramps -- so "a" managed to make enough of a mess that I really am now struggling to get caught up. It wouldn't have been so bad, but I am still trying to catch up with laundry. I'm down to just finishing up the dining room and have a mess in front of the tv that "a's" managed to spread out with candy wrappers and juice boxes and lord knows what else.

I'm crushing on a guy from work... he's kind of cute - really, really intelligent... sometimes he puts his foot in his mouth and is a little rough around the edges. I don't work directly with him - but he helped out a little this last summer, and I keep him "posted" on various issues that involve his department. I think he might have flirted a couple of times... and sad as it is, that seems to be enough to kick-start my imagination. I'm not sure he's even flirting for certain... and he's too young for me (he's 30), but can't say I'm not tempted to ask him out.

So, now for the lame part... here's why I think he might be flirting with me.

We were working an issue about marital status... and I get an email link from him that's to a web page he built "smart-ass" "is perpetually single" since and a timer. I made him fess up - and he claimed that a former co-worker used to bug him about the fact that if he didn't marry by the time he turned 30 he was never going to get married. When the counter counted down to 0, it started counting up again. So he left it out there.

Then, when I teased him about his "perpetuity of singleness" - he sent me links to other pages he's done with pictures of him and his sister, friends, house, etc.

We had an email where I had to reference a couple of "codes" -- and I picked the one I remember easiest "MFUX" which doesn't mean anything in any way shape or form dirty... but he sent a reply saying it was his favorite code of them all.

And then he sent me an updated link to his vacation photos - where he went with a group of friends.

... so is this the smart, nerdy way to flirt? or is he just being friendly and my over-active sex drive is just going off on a wild goose chase?

Friday, November 02, 2007


Well, only after fudging because I didn't recognize the bit-part guy they picked for me when I did the quiz the first time. Some guy from Lord of the Rings trilogy which I've watched two or three times, and I still don't know who they were thinking it would be.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Now some Halloween snaps

Since it's hard to read - it says Party above the bat... so much for "skill" I was trying to carve this while sitting on the floor with "a" in my lap and surrounding by 12 kids under 12 carving their pumpkins... But, the bat turned out ok.

And now.... Superman! (don't you love his abs!)

First - grumpy "a"

Now that I finally have a new digital camera - some pics!

This is what I deal with most nights after work even if we're about to go do something fun & exciting (like a Halloween party):

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"A" update

Well, "A" is still alive and well. And even if he's never, ever going to recover from his devastating break up... he now has a new girlfriend.

Bad news is that she's 15. Good news is that they don't "DATE", they are never alone together and are not having sex. They are going to wait until she is 16 in a few months before they actually go out the first time. Hopefully, a step in the right direction. For me though, it's more than that. "A" is now in the "living life" stage and his girlfriend is still in high school. "A" hasn't figured out yet that that's a recipe for a break up, but ah, well... it's not like he listens to me anyway... LOL

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nice wedding

Wedding went well, it was short and very sweet. Misty looked very beautiful. I'm going to have to go pick me out yet another digital camera as mine just didn't survive last time "A" used it. Yes, "A", not "a"... though I think it was on it's last legs before he mucked with it.

The reception was really nice and there was a really big turnout... I'd guess probably 200-300 people. They just had a DJ for dancing, and quite a good crowd of dancing. "a" had a blast, although he became quite enamored with another boy's 'wheelies'... initially he was struggling to figure out how this kid was "skating" along, and then he finally asked him to show him his shoes - LOL! And then he came to me to complain that he didn't have wheels on his shoes. :-)

Unfortunately - the night before the wedding, I went out for a drink, it should have been fine. But it wasn't. I live in a town now with - what - half a million people, and somewhat notorious for having crime (at least for Iowa)... and I go back to the small town where I went to high school; only about 400 people in the whole joint; and someone vandalizes my car. Nothing too serious, they stole the driver's side rear-view mirror; just enough to really, really piss me off.

I mean really, what on earth did I do 20 + years ago, that they had to find a way to seek revenge? I never really did any harm to anyone... basically kept to myself, but I was the "smart" one, so therefor must be hated, I guess. Oh, well. What do I do but just go and get it fixed. But, it really does piss me off.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lots going on, not much to talk about

I've been busy at work -- who hasn't?

I didn't go to the gym this week, and miss it... "A" took "a" Sunday night, so my only chance to "work around the house" was Monday night; then I picked him up on Tuesday night, worked Wednesday night; and tonight, the gym's off limits as he's probably got pink-eye. Tomorrow we head to CR area for my nieces wedding.

"a"s dad is going to pick him up Friday night & bring him back after the wedding; as it's really the best weekend this month for him to have "a", but he's willing to let "a" go to the wedding & reception. I figure if they aren't going to get the whole weekend, he might as well stay through the wedding, the wedding itself isn't much fun for a four-year-old. But we'll get him so he can dance at the reception - and then head on home.

Maybe by Sunday things will be calm enough I can head to the gym.

Tuesday I get the joy of participating in a barium enema... doesn't that sound like a barrel of fun? But, they decided they'd try that before trying a colonoscopy... which didn't sound like a ton of fun either... oh, well, I'm sure I'll survive the experience... and I promise to save the nasty gruesome details to myself. LOL

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quiet weekend

I had tickets to the circus for Sunday, but gave them away when I found out that I'd messed up and bought tickets the day of the family reunion.

We had quasi-busy plans for this weekend... wasn't sure if I was going to do all of it, and yet, somehow, ended up doing none of it.

1) A fund-raising event with a child's walk around a lake by a mall... with children's activities along the way... but yet, we overslept Saturday, and I didn't feel like rushing, so we skipped it.

2) "a" has been slowly adapting to using stickers as a reward instead of a new toy - for the potty training, that although we are now finished with training... it's a situation of where the bribery worked too well, and now we need to wean him from getting a new toy every day - so I bargained with him that five stickers means a trip to Jumping Jacks - think Chuckee Cheese but with a section for inflatable rides as well. He was a bit of a brat, so I figured we'd have to wait for another day so as not to "confuse" what the reward was for.

3) Same thing about the outside movie at the park..

4) Overslept this morning - and given that it's a four hour drive each way to a two hour event - blech! I decided to skip. To be honest, I only went because my mom wanted me there... and today, I just couldn't see the point in going.

So, ah, well. We stayed in for the most part - only today venturing out for a trip to pick up his Halloween Costume -- Superman - but it took about ten minutes to talk him out of Spiderman (since we already have Spiderman from last year).

On other news - "A" lost his job. But isn't telling me much more than just that. But, he is going to school, and he's at least trying to get along... I'm peaking at his blog, but he isn't posting often... but it also doesn't look like he's facing reality either. Ah, well, he's alive and will hopefully live long enough to figure out that this was just part of life.

Hopefully by taking it easy this weekend, I've given myself a better chance of getting over my cold... thought I was almost over it, but keep spending most of the night coughing... so am relying heavily on vicks... which my poor cat hates. But at least I can breath.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Gold Coin

This week I was delighted to be awarded a "gold coin" which is basically just a token, but still very nice to receive. I was nominated again for this award which is given to only about ten to twelve employees out of tens of thousands of employees quarterly. It's the second such item I've received, the first I received in my old position (doing the same work for same team, but different manager). And it's always nice to know that when I've gone the extra mile and worked extremely hard to get where we are today, that someone took notice (perhaps even several took notice) and put in a nomination and I was selected. I've been working side-by-side with a co-worker on this project for such a long time - and fortunately, she too was awarded a coin this quarter. It's really pretty cool that they put a lot of emphasis on making sure to recognize those who are going the extra mile like this!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sorry for no updates

I'm using my laptop to post, since I've been lazy and haven't gotten a new keyboard & cover to protect that keyboard.

"a" and I are down and out with a nasty bug that's going around that's really got us both pretty tired. When "a" yells out "MOMMY I WANT TO TAKE A NAP" you've got a pretty good clue that he was pretty tired.

"A" called me today to ask for log in information to access his account to get funds from his 529 (education fund) for paying for his class at DMACC, which means he must still be taking classes. I didn't even try to ask him how he's doing or anything else.

Currently, the "communication" has been mostly me texting him stuff about "a" & I... and him either ignoring it or being a complete (*ss). I did finally send him one text message when he got particularly nasty about my not responding to his text messages (which by the way, I still am proud for not having responded to them). Which was basically this:

"I love you and would love to help you in any way I can. However, I am not interested in playing any role in your drama anymore."

So, I've said my piece, I'm out of the drama. And truth is, he seems to be going to work and going to school and surviving... I almost wonder if it's all because of the whole "coming of age" thing. As anyone who remembers being a teenager can remember, there comes a point where you have to pull away from your parents a bit. And at that point, none of the old rules apply. "A" has always struggled when he didn't have clear-cut rules to follow. So, maybe this is just how he's had to handle it in his own way. Who know? Maybe I'm just imagining this, but he seems to be fine.

"a" & I are now active at the YMCA. I'm working out two to three times a week - can you believe it? Plus every other Friday night I now have some freedom, well, at least until 9:30. But, hey! I can live with that. He gets pizza, movies, and a gym & playground to run around in, and I get to go out and know that he's someplace safe.

BTW - potty training... woohoo! finally a sucess. He's now officially potty-trained. We haven't had a single accident in three whole weeks. However, we are now in the "withdraw" stage... i.e., bribery worked, and now he's going to continue to use the potty, only now he's fighting over the whole, but don't I get a brand new toy twice a day? Afterall, I'm pooping in the potty that often! LOL

Me, I'm feeling pretty good, better if I wasn't sick right now. But, other than first thing in the morning, I feel pretty darn good. Pain is always between 1 & 2 on a scale of 1 to 10... energy level is closer to an 8-9 everyday on a scale of 1 to 10; whereas, not just three months ago, it was closer to 1-2 as well. It's amazing what I can accomplish when I don't feel like a 90-yr-old woman.

I've basically dropped the whole breast testing and follow up process... since the pain has basically nocked down to next to nothing... even though I still have two new lumps as of the last six months. My lymph nodes are no longer swollen & the pain is almost gone... so I figure maybe it was just a short-term issue after all like the doctors where trying to tell me. I just have never, ever heard of anyone who has had breast pain that lasted three months solid (not just with my cycle)... and have it be nothing. Too much bad history in my family, so it's hard for me to imagine that if I'd never heard of it, that it would apply to me.

Well, like I said, I had dropped it... and then I had a regular check-in with my internist where I was so happy about the decrease in pain and the increase in energy... the only time I'm tired now, is first thing in the morning... I wake up feeling like I've had NO sleep and need about ten more hours of it. If I try to make myself move, it's like my muscles don't want to work... I can reach over and shut off the alarm clock, but not without a bunch of shaking & missing the clock. I don't seem to have full control. So, he's running a bunch more tests, and in there, he's concerned that they didn't do any follow up on the new breast lumps - so we're going to get scheduled for another mammogram. I said, that I'd be ok with it as long as I didn't have to go back to the other office... and saw someone new.

In addition, they're going to test me for sleep apnea... I'd had a simple oxygen probe on my finger for a whole night last December and since it never dropped below 100% they ruled out sleep apnea... however, since my PE's never dropped my oxygen levels either, I'm almost wondering if maybe that wasn't a good test to use to rule it out. So, they're going to try to schedule me for a sleep study, which means I have to figure out something to do with "a" - as the sleep study is an over-night test where I have to sleep at their facility.

The last groups of tests are hypothyroidism & hyperthyroidism. About 18 months ago, I was tested for hypo... and tested positive instead for hyper... and then they came back and retested me again about a month later - and that time I came back hypo... and they've tested me once or twice since, and those times I came back normal. I'd really like to know why I was all over the board there for a while and if it has any impact to how I was feeling at the time. I do know that right now, i have so much energy, I struggle going to sleep and staying asleep. Good news is that I'm at least getting to a good normal amount of sleep - about 8 hours a night instead of 12-13.

I just need to figure out a way to get up in the morning. It's next to impossible to get to work on time... and I'm so frustrated with myself over it... since I figure that if I'm not in pain & not so exhausted, that I ought to be able to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. It's really my only health complaint right now, other than that 30 pounds I need to lose.

With about four weeks of working out, I've lost 3 inches on my waist, but no pounds... but I've lost my appetite since this last weekend, and am eating a small fraction of what I would normally eat - got weighed at the doctor's office again - and I'd gained two pounds... geez!

Oh, well, health first, fitness next - then I'll work on getting my weight off. And at least my pants fit me better now - which is a VERY big deal because I absolutely refuse to buy another wardrobe another size larger... and was getting quite upset about the tight waistband!

Well, hopefully now that I've gotten caught up with my posting... I'll be able to get back into sync again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007




Monday, August 27, 2007

Making (a little) progress

"A" was VERY upset with me... but is still talking to me. He's finally admitting to having a goal - even if it isn't a very realistic goal. But its enough for me to stop being a little (ok a lot) panicky about the possibility of him committing suicide.

He wants to try to get back together with "her". He feels that this is the only way he will be able to live a happy & healthy life. Without her, he's still committed to the plan to commit suicide.

We've agreed to disagree... I feel he can live a happy & healthy life without her, he feels the only way he can have this is with her. He has agreed to therapy as I've sold it as a "tool" for having a better relationship if we can get past our issues and learn how to communicate better... and hopefully he'll learn that manipulating not "her" but her friends & parents isn't going to be a good solution when she finds out about it. And hopefully, by then, we'll have talked some common sense into him.

He doesn't trust me and is still angry. I can live with that.

I told him that I promise not to try to get him committed... with only one exception. If I truly believe that he's reached a point where his only options are committing suicide or going into a mental ward... but that I wouldn't try to "sneak it past him.".. I said, that I knew that if he had a choice between the two, the hospital isn't his choice... but again, it would be mine, and if I can, I will pursue it at that point.

SOOOO... I'm now in on the plan to get "her" back. I'm not helping him, and I"m not going to help "direct any events"... but I am giving him a female point of view and making sure that he knows that his current actions may be mis-read as being manipulative and that there aren't many women that tolerate it.

So, we're talking a couple of times a night, and I'm hanging in there.

Complete bummer is that as stressed out as I've been between work & this. "a" was at his dad's and so I actually went out and had a couple of drinks. The bar two doors down is really kind of a nice home-y feel - without being a dive, and no one pestered me, but I talked to some of the neighbors. And I had two shots and was feeling VERY nice & relaxed when it was time to go home. But then "A" called and we spent an hour or two debating "semantics"... i.e., if "A" deserved to be tortured for screwing up in the relationship (he "cut" himself repeatedly), would he want "her" to do that as well if she messes up... and if no, then why would he think that she would want him to do it. Is it really manipulation if you're just "planting" thoughts into people and expecting them to react to those thoughts... especially when you require a lot of planning & strategy. I don't want to tell him to his face that he's being young & stupid... but five years from now I expect him to realize that that's the way he's acting right now. With age comes wisdom - well, for some of us anyway.

I've got to log in & check emails & export a file, and then I'm going to go veg in front of the tv & de-stress.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lack of progress

I called "A", then I stopped at his work while on the way to drop "a" off with his dad in Iowa City... then I stopped back after he got off of work to drive him home. He admitted that he's "cutting" himself again. He's got cut marks all over his chest that he's done to himself. And I don't know why norhHe flat out refused to even consider therapy. He doesn't feel that anyone can help him. I told him "What if your only other choice was a psych unit?" - When he refused to even consider the option and repeated his wish again to "just want to die in peace". I turned the car towards the hospital.

He jumped out of the moving car.

I called the police.

Since he was calm & rational when they arrived they told him that he had a choice, he could go willing with me to the hospital, or he could stay overnight with me at my house, or he could let me stay overnight with him... "so that they knew he would be safe". He agreed to the last option - then proceeded to try to make me miserable because he was so angry with me for even considering "to commit him". They told me that I needed one other "member of the family" to go with me to get a court order if I felt that he truly was in danger of hurting himself. Actually, it doesn't have to be a family member, it can be a doctor, or a counselor, or maybe even, the ex's father who also knows that he's currently unbalanced.

I knew that what I was going to do would anger him, so I'm not surprised and I'm not hurt by his actions. I am surprised that by being angry with me, he's now no longer obsessing over suicide. He even did his laundry for the first time in about three weeks, bought some cigarettes (yech), and ate something.

I'm going to try to get my sister to call him - if she ever wakes up and answers her phone... for a couple of reasons... 1) he doesn't have grandma to call like he always did in the past when he was angry with me 2) he refuses to discuss anything with me any more since I'll "use it against him" and I no longer have insight into what he's thinking or feeling 3) (and this is the naughty reason)... because having her call him to talk... will make him think I'm trying to get enough people lined up so we can get him committed... which will only make him more angry with me.

And if he's angry with me, he's not depressed and suicidal.... I hope. Which might buy me time. I need to figure out the right thing to do.

I'm pleased that he did his laundry and focused on me and "how I wronged him" over his own depression. I'm actually less concerned about him being suicidal than I was before. I'm still concerned though that he's going to continue to cope by hurting himself, and that knowing that it gets a reaction out of me, that getting "even with me" is all the more reason to do it even more.

I still want to get him into counseling, but have no clue how to convince him to do so. He thinks I'm insane for trying what I have tried. He thinks that I'm only doing this to "harass" him. He's a typical teenager who can't see beyond their own nose to realize that I've got better things to do in life than harass him for no reason. And that if I am doing it, it's only because I love him and want more for him.

I did send him a text as I figure he'll not respond to my calls, and a new text is too tempting to not read. I said "I am sorry. I love you more than you realize. I just don't know how to keep you safe."... he responded "I trusted you and you hurt me just like everyone else"... ouch... but, hopefully some day he'll realize that it was never intended to hurt him, but instead to protect him.

So - current plans are afoot to see what I can do from a distance. I do have an appointment for him at the counselors on Monday, but doubt I can drag him to it... I might just keep the appointment for myself and my stress... but might try to switch it to a woman counselor instead of a man. And I'm going to do a lot of soul searching and nosing around to see if I can figure out if he really is past the point of "dying is the only reasonable option" or not. If he continues to prove that he's thinking beyond just one day at a time, that would be perfect... if he only proves that he's incapable of coping with his situation - then I'm going to proceed with my original plan and get him committed, the last thing in the world that I want to do, with the exception of one thing - planning his funeral. If they are my only two choices, well then, I guess I do what I have to do... and hope someday he'll figure out that I really am the one who's fighting tooth and nail, for him, not against him.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Depression is a bad, bad thing!

OK - everyone is telling "A" that he's going to have to go on with his life. SHE isn't talking to him, and to be honest, he's taking it so badly, I don't blame her for not wanting to deal with him.

I'm calling him back in an hour. If he's still talking suicide we're skipping the doctor's office and heading to the psych unit to discuss committing him. I DON'T want to do this. But, he is being stubborn and refusing to listen to the fact that he has a lot to live for right now. He doesn't think he can live without HER. When, as we all know, having been there ourselves... given time, you do figure out that life works out well anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"A"'s heartbreak

Well the 15 yr old lived up to her age. She broke it off with "A" and is now dating someone else. "A" got jealous of the time she was spending with this other guy; and "forbade" it which wasn't smart either. But long story short - she's done and it's over. He's absolutely completely out of things. He doesn't care what happens to him. He went about four days and barely ate anything. When he did eat, he tended to throw it up because he was so upset. He went to work and ended up passing out. Ended up in the ER for dehydration and potassium deficiency. I brought him home with me instead of having him go back to his apartment and mope all alone for several days.

We've talked about his future, about him finding something besides a woman to paste all his hopes and dreams and goals on. He's talking about ending things and about how none of it seems like it's worth "fighting" for.

We've had talks about falling in love and getting hurt, about cutting yourself off from love and being lonely, about the joys that can come from a life fully lived. I refuse to give him any relationship advice - because I totally suck at it. At this point, I'm just encouraging him to take a deeper look into what he wants and what he wants to do with his life.

In the meantime I've put him to work to help with the laundry & housekeeping. We've talked about him moving back in and what kinds of expectations we would have of each other. Most of his friends aren't in Newton any more... they've left for college now... and his job is also where his ex works and her father is his manager... so that pretty much sucks.

I'm sure he'll pull through, it's just a rough spot. And just more drama in my life, as if I didn't have enough drama in my life as it is.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Also somewhat true (at least the last line) - but I always thought I was agnostic

You Are An Atheist

God? No thanks. You're not buying into any religion.
They're all bunk to you. You rather focus on what you know is true.
You may be a passive non-believer or a rabid atheist activist.
But one thing is for sure... no one's going to make you go to church!

hmmm... fairly true - but a bit harsh on the generousity bit!

Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty a fair amount.
You're honest when you can be, but you aren't a stickler for it.
If a little white lie will make a situation more comfortable, you'll go for it.
In the end, you mostly care about "situational integrity."


You don't really value generosity.
Your needs always come first, no matter what.
And you'll possibly help someone else out...
But only if it helps you in return.


You value humility highly.
You have the self-confidence to be happy with who you are.
And you don't need to seek praise to make yourself feel better.
You're very modest, and you're keep the drama factor low.


You value tolerance highly.
Not only do you enjoy the company of those very different from you...
You do all that you can to seek it out interesting and unique friends.
You think there are many truths in life, and you're open to many of them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whats Your Inner Gender

This really doesn't suprise me much... still have to finish the tag me-me, but I'll work on trying to figure out eight things to write about me and get it posted.

Your Inner Gender is Male

You are rational, matter of fact, and quite dominant.
You like to get things done, without any emotional messiness.
You truly don't understand most women. And you definitely feel more comfortable around men.
No doubt about it. You're a guy - at least on the inside.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

this is cool

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I've been tagged - but have no one to tag

Besides Stephanie who isn't checking her own blog or writing any more... the only other blogger I know tagged me... well, except I read the Dilbert guy's blog, but pretty sure he wouldn't want me tagging him, huh? oh, man, this is going to be tough.

Note: took me five days to finish this post.

"Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog."

  • I no longer trust the doctors. The experts don't know everything, but I should learn to at least trust some of them. Easier said than done.
  • I'm really letting the stress get to me lately. I need to "let go" more often.
  • I paint my toenails, but not my fingernails - go figure.
  • I need to sleep with the tv on... too many bumps in the night got to me at the old house - and having background noise helped me sleep through the night.
  • I've gone from being all about writing checks to writing about three a month. Besides on-line bill-pay and debit card at the pump & checkout... there are two checks to the daycare and about a check a month to some place where I just didn't have my debit card handy.
  • I'm cheap, cheap, cheap, but love technology. I have a flat-screen monitor at home only because my monitor died, and I found one on-line only $10 more than a regular monitor. I have a HD LCD tv - because my 26 inch regular tv died, and I found one on-line for under $200 - and I snagged that deal. I have a camera phone - but it was a free upgrade. "a"s portable dvd player died - and I've been shopping online - I'm trying to snag one on ebay, but am not paying more than $50 for it.
  • I've decided that if I want another romantic relationship, I can't camp out in front of the tv every night and not take chances. I've made it a goal to flirt with five different men every week. It's Friday, and I only managed to flirt with two guys - so I'm going online to throw some "flirts" out.
  • First thing I do every night when I get home from work? Strip off the bra... lol

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I'm feeling down

"a" is at dad's this weekend, which is awesome. He gets really excited about going, and although when he's gone a long time he gets homesick, he does really enjoy time at dad's. Gives me a chance to tackle the dirty pit that I call home. Not that I've done anything yet, I was up most of the night last night finishing off the last Harry Potter book.

Work is stressful but it's getting better. I've just run out of patience with the co-workers I'm supposed to be babysitting who can't get anything right. I finally sent an email that was pretty pc, but basically still stating how ridiculous it is to maintain two sets of documentation when the second group can't find their a** from a whole in the ground. They are constantly making copy/paste errors in Excel and with a 2000 spreadsheet, I can't be expected to know every day if it's current or right. I can tell you my 2000 row database is right and the spreadsheet I pull out of it weekly is right - but the rest of it's just nuts. The good news is that enough people are realizing that you can't always pull an elephant out of a hat and that they need some more realistic deadlines. So the official statement is that we still go live on go live date - but that nobody uses it until it gets cleaned up. Whatever - hope the stock brokers and market feel that it's fine since that's probably the only reason we're sticking our guns to "dates".

Oh, and good news... "a" is pretty much potty trained. NO MORE DIAPERS - how awesome is that? We still have to have regular discussions about number two... as "a" believes going poo in the pot is "gross" and mommy feels that cleaning up poo from underwear is "gross". But, we'll get there. He doesn't have any "wet" accidents at all. So, I'm pretty pleased. His dad worked with him when he was there for a couple of weeks at the end of June - and the week after his birthday school suggested going without diapers, and it seems to be working.

In the meantime, I've just been feeling pretty down... missing my mom, tired of living without a man in my life, tired of doing it all on my own. I've thought about returning back to counseling again, I just don't think I want to drive out as far as the counselor I was seeing last winter. Would like to find someone closer to home or work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Need to brain dump

  • work is insane and there's no way we'll ever make the completely impossible deadline and really have a working system. It's a MAJOR new system with a HUGE set of systems interfacing each other and they still can't get a single application through the user interface. Our own piece, just one small piece of the puzzle? We've only completed maybe a tenth of the testing we should do just testing the interface... and are supposed to have ALL defects fixed by this Friday... when we know there's probably a good chance we don't even know all the defects. Good news is that it's really more of a "publicity" thing that we're going to deploy in August because they don't want it to go public that we missed the deadline. Users probably won't touch the system until it's in better shape. Kind of like Microsoft Office or Windows with all the "known" bugs...
  • The doctor had the nerve to suggest that the ever increasing un-diagnosed breast pain that's been bothering me now for three months is related to a brand new bruise that is only three days old and I knew when I bumped my arm that I would probably get a bruise.
  • My sister's apartment (which is in a basement) has flooded for the third time in 18 months. Good news is that she's finally to the "angry" stage of grieving... bad news is that she's venting to me.
  • "a" is finally doing a REALLY good job potty training. He's been diaperless for two weeks now, and has only had dirty underwear - he's gone two full days without a wet accident.
  • "A" is dating miss 15 yr old again - this time under CAREFUL supervision of the parents, they can only be alone in VERY public places. I'm ok with that. "A" is coping with it pretty well. Afraid he's going to want to propose to her post-graduation; he's thinking long-term already. Good news is that it's three years away, so who knows what will happen in three years.
  • Tried to buy a kids outfit from the clearance rack at Walmart - couldn't as it was on "recall"... tried to joke with the cashier that I didn't want "dangerous" clothes, but don't think her English was good enough to figure out the joke.
  • Had an alergic reaction to the expensive & unnecessary tests two weeks ago. Good news is that I can probably now talk them out of running that test every time they "don't" get that it's probably not that. Bad news is that if I have that issue - I'm no longer going to be eligible to get the test I might need.
  • Got a wasp sting on my cheekbone - they have a wasps/hornets nest at the playground at the apartment complex. I swell up like a balloon... ice is helping, but man, it still stings... feel llike a big baby. Good news is that it was me and not a child...
  • "a" is having a really tough time being a "little boy". He's got a swim aide that's like a double-innertube, with a seat in the middle of it. He swims the entire length of the pool and gets in and out of the deep end all on his own, he's even been experimenting with pinching his nose and putting his face in the water... but now? He tried to "dive in" head first like the big boys... thankfully I was watching him really carefully and reached him literally seconds after he did it. He had enough time to kick free of the tubes and bob up and back down once. But, now he's scared. Though he keeps saying "I scared him"... which makes me feel terrible. But at least he didn't swallow a ton of water and get really scared of the water itself, I hope. We'll see.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Swelling reduced

Good news - the underarm swelling reduced after two days. I can now put my arm all the way to my side. Still sore and swollen a bit - rest of the arm is a little sore from being held in an unusual position - I tried to "prop" it up a lot - but that doesn't work when you're walking.

Am hoping that things continue to improve. If I'm still having trouble, I guess I'll just wait for the appointment on the 17th. After doc three couldn't find the lump, I rechecked it myself. The lump is still there roughly the same size it was. Just that now it seems to have a "leg" branching off of it... maybe that was always there and i didn't notice it, but I don't think so. Found a second lump about the size of a pea about an inch from the other lump... but am not going to take it seriously just now. It's close to ovulation time and I want to wait and see if it's still there in two weeks before I let it concern me.

I'm convinced the doctors think that I'm a hypochondriac making some of this stuff up, or that I'm seeking medical attention in some way, I need to find one how understands how much I wishI weren't feeling like I need medical attention. I'd love to go back to feeling normal and healthy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Utter frustratopm

Went to the doctor ( a new one)...

My armpit is now swollen to the point where I cannot rest my arm at my side.

He didn't feel a lump in my breast nor under my arm... they're not visible, but I can find them and I'm not a doctor... and I had two doctors before this guy who were the ones who told me I had them.

He assumed that it's either an inflammation (which is what the other two said) OR it's a clot. Because, obviously, if a person has a clotting disorder, they never have anything else wrong with them besides a clot. I told him I didn't think it was either inflammation (because that's only supposed to last a max of 3 weeks, and I'm heading toward 3 months) nor clot (because none of the symptoms of a clot are present)... and didn't get anywhere.

I had to have a couple of thousand dollars worth of testing to prove that it isn't a clot - and I was right, it isn't.

Now, I'm being treated for inflammation even though I know it can't be that either.

There are basically five possible things that would cause inflammation (which btw isn't helped by taking anti-inflamatory meds)

1) bacterial infection - done the antibiotics, they didn't help
2) viral infection - been three months, this is supposed to only last 3 weeks
3) clot - proven that isn't it due to the damn tests today
4) a benign cyst that will need to be removed
5) a non-benign (cancerous) cyst that will need to be removed.

As far as I can see - the logical course of action would be to biopsy the damn thing to try to figure out if it's 4 or 5 and schedule removal... but the doctors can't get past the first three possibilities. I was sooo mad I cried for almost half an hour at the doctors office - AND I HATE when I cry because I'm angry.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Still wanting better diangosis

I'm waiting a few weeks, if after three more weeks (it's been one week since told to come back in four weeks) if my lump is increased in size. If it has or hasn't grown, I think I'm going to go to someone. Return back to the former doctor if it has grown (because he'll do something if it is increased in size) or go to someone else if it hasn't grown. I've really struggled with this, as I think that I (not unlike a LOT of people) want to believe the doctors when they say it's nothing.

But, the truth is that I've been told twice in my life that I would probably not have permanent nerve/brain damage if only I'd gone in to see a doctor sooner.

The first time was the nerve damage in my wrists from chronic wrist pain. I'd been to about ten doctors in about two to three years... and every last one of them told me that the only thing they could do is recommend ibuprofen for the pain and splints. The splints did help a bit, and I still wear them as needed to this day. But the ibuprofen? that just destroyed my stomach... and it never did anything for the flare-ups I would get. Nurefen plus, now that works REALLY well. AND I've got quite a few left over darvacet so that if I have flare ups before I can get to Canada again (or I bribe Phil into bringing me some from England). But, about ten years later, now, suddenly I have a doctor telling me (actually a couple) that I should have had the surgery years ago. That at this point, they aren't going to do anything (whatever?!) but that if I'd had the surgery back then - I the nerve damage I have now wouldn't be permanent and could have been prevented... if only....

The second time was after I made three to four trips to see my doctor, and ER doctor, and a nuerologist when I was having my TIAs - and got misdiagnosed. I then spent about a month in bed totally unable to walk or function like a human being and went to Iowa City only to be told "if only...." I'd come in and gotten some preventative treatment.

Now, I've got a brand new lump in my breast very much different than any fibroid tumors I've had for as long as I can remember... I'm having pain where the lump is, there is a brand new cyst where the lump is (although the cyst itself is only 4mm) and I've got enlarged lymph nodes. There are three possible scenarios -- the most likely is that it's a simple breast inflamation and nothing else... however, all my searches end up with results that "inflamation" is also known as mastitis, which I've already had antibiotics for and didn't see an improvement. The doctor thinks that it's quite common for women to have pain in one breast (with swollen lymph nodes - but NOT with a lump) for six months or so without seeking doctor assistance nor having any "found" lumps. I do have a lump though - he found it when he was doing his exam. Another possibility is that it's a benign cyst. Although you can't tell if a cyst is benign without a biopsy, a biopsy he refuses to do. A third option is breast cancer. Although it's the least likely possibility; the only way to know for sure is a biopsy. According to this doctor - breast cancer doesn't hurt... only I know better, sometimes it does hurt.

Now, as everyone well knows, I've been struggling with exhaustion and pain for almost two and a half years now... I've had test after test after test all of which came back saying "nothing wrong". I had about five doctors tell my regular doctor it was 1) in my head or 2) fibromyalgia. The doctor I went to to see if it was fibromyalgia told me that it WASN'T fibromyalgia. Just in the last couple of months have I had tests that actually diagnose a condition. After fighting and seeing over a dozen doctors, I've been finally diagnosed as being anemic, potassium deficient, vitamin D deficient and vitamin B12 deficient. All of those cause symptoms of tiredness and pain. Going on supplements has helped a little, I'm still not 100% but after a couple of months of supplements and with the exercise program from the pain management clinic... I'm doing much better... say 60% better - a little more than half-way back to being me.

I only got this much better by pushing and pushing for doctors to pay attention to me... and the news is that even with the very aggressive forms of breast cancer, that early diagnosis is the key to beating breast cancer... I just can't see waiting three months to get my reassurance that it isn't cancerous. I've been able to confirm online that 4mm is NOT too small to do a core biopsy... which isn't what I was told by the doctor who finally at least answered my questions. I don't see a reason to biopsy the "mass" BUT, I do think that the painful lump and/or my lymph nodes could be biopsied without more than a stitch or two and could all be done while I'm still on my blood thinners.

The only other alternative would be to pay for genetic testing for the breast cancer genes... which if I did inherit them from my mom's side of the family would up my cancer risk enough to take any lump seriously. Since neither my sister nor mom have had it... they don't see it as necessary even though I did have four Aunts who have had breast cancer. Trouble is that I don't know enough about my Aunt's diagnosis nor size of tumors at start to know if my situation is that similar. With my aunts and my mom passed, there's no one around to ask about it.

So, I'm going to keep pushing and fighting for my health - after all, if I don't do it who will?
Best case, I don't have cancer and I got a stitch or two to prove it under my arm or in my breast... Worst case, I catch the cancer early enough that I could probably get away with a lumpectomy instead of mastectomy. I just can't imagine that there are women out there suffering breast pain for up to six months (not just during their cycle, or during pregnancy)... and I've never heard anyone who has gone through it. I wonder if it was a lump in the testicles with pain whether they would do the same wait and see approach. Though of course, you know that the mammogram machine was invented by a man - and that no one could ever convince a man to put his testicles in a compressive device like that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Finally have some good answers about things

Not that it's all good news nor all bad news... but at least, I know what the doctors are looking at and understanding WHY they are treating me differently than a lot of other women that might have breast cancer.

1) the original mass, even though we really don't know what exactly it is... when it was compressed it "unrolled" or "spreadout" and cancer doesn't do that... scarred breast tissue or abnormal breast tissue that doesn't become cancer does that. So, that's why they didn't think I needed to have any kind of follow up. They verified that it still exists, they still don't know exactly what it is... nor did they really check to see if it grew. But, it's like a 1 in a Billion chance that I could have cancer where that "mass" is. The issue is that there could be cancer hiding behind the mass, but eh, what can you do?

2) The swollen lymph nodes and breast pain are probably due to some sort of inflamation... and no, they don't have any treatment other than an old wive's tale of taking primrose oil... basically, they haven't mucked around with figuring out why this happens sometimes to some women - it just does, and someday it'll stop and they don't know what to do or how to help - and haven't really bothered to figure it out yet. BUT, cancer isn't supposed to be painful, so we're supposed to ignore those symptoms when looking at my cancer risk.

3) I have a cyst about the size of a bebe pellet. It's new... it is "probably" benign. The issue is that it's tiny, and the "lump" that is in the same location is about six to ten times bigger - like the size of a nickel. Could it be cancer .. yes... is the risk high? Well, it's higher because I have four Aunts that have had cancer, but not a ton higher. Could a simple biopsy set my mind to ease? Yes, BUT, probably not a good idea. Apparently - now this is the new news. Because the lump is so much bigger than the cyst - if he did a biopsy he would probably "miss" the actual cyst and would get a false negative on cancer... which is MORE dangerous than not getting tested at all. Because if I get a false negative, there is no follow up... which is where I was a few weeks ago.

So, he does want to follow up more on this. The issue is that since a biopsy (needle or core, which just means a bigger needle) isn't a good option, the only other option left is a lumpectomy. AND because I have a clotting disorder and am on blood thinners, he does NOT want to do surgery just to put my mind to ease.

So, the plan is to wait... he's thinking that if it is cancer, I'm being TOO proactive. HUH? Anyway - give it three more months to grow. If it grows dramatically in a month or two, then I'm supposed to come in. Otherwise, check it in three months, then it should be large enough to do a biopsy. If it still isn't big enough to do a biopsy we wait longer.

Now, it may never get much larger. If it's still painful - say in six months to a year - we may still do a lumpectomy because it's troublesome. If not, well, then I over-reacted.

But, given how much press coverage there is around early detection for breast cancer being the "key" to recovery - who knew that I would be too proactive and demanding followup. Interesting huh?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sitting around and doing nothing

My first weekend "off" with the whole weekend to myself. And I'm sitting around doing nothing instead of all the chores that are impossible to do with a little one around. Ah, well. At least I'm de-stressing.

BBQ Round up is this weekend - thought it was next weekend - it used to always be the last weekend in June (I thought). So I'm probably going to spend all day tomorrow driving out to it, picking up some awesome ribs - driving two hours out of my way to deliver some out to my step-father... and then another two hours back home... just so I can pay an arm and a leg for what are still awesome ribs. Absolutely awesome ribs!

Tuesday morning I'm scheduled to see someone at the Breast Cancer center here in town. Don't know if they'll do any follow up, but it's worth trying. My gut tells me something is wrong - what... I don't know, but something is wrong. I just hope it isn't this. But, it's worth it for my sanity sake to make sure... so that's what I'm asking for. What I don't get is that if they found "differences" in my tests, all of which they aren't sure what exactly is going on... what I don't know is why they don't want to even try to do a needle or small cell biopsy. Hopefully, I'll have good news on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What to do when you have nothing to do

"A" has too much time on his hands.

He and his friends have come up with a new "sport".

Squirrel fishing.

Required - fishing pole (with no hook) and plain salted in the shell peanuts.

The picnic bench at the park is your boat - and cast off and see what happens next. I would love to get a bit of it on camera. I guess depending on where he goes there's quite a few nibbles and some pretty interesting gymnastics.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I can't let an "almost" green card do better than me... now can I?

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

Giving up on Rochester guy

I haven't heard from him since the night we talked and he asked me if I would panic if he moved down here to live with me. So - it's silence again. I figure if the statement "I don't know you well enough to even consider it. And, we're never going to know each other well enough if we never see each other or talk." Which he agreed with and then still went silent. Well, enough of trying long-distance relationships. They really don't work for me.

Follow up care

I spent the weekend thinking about my situation. Trying to figure out if I really do have cause for needing follow up care or if I'm over-reacting.

I do feel that because there has been a "change" and it's a pretty drastic change from six months ago... I want to have follow up, especially since a biopsy is such an insignificant amount of an issue, simplest case it's just an over-large needle and a band aide, if they decide a needle biopsy is too unlikely to catch something - the worst case it's like two or three stitches and I can still get by with a band aide.

So, I called my doctor and asked for a referral to the specialty clinic which they agreed to do. Then I called the specialty clinic myself and set up the appointment for an afternoon next week. No big deal.

But, then I got the weirdest call the following evening. I think that my doctor must have only glanced at the radiologist report (even though I had asked a ton of questions) on Friday. And when I asked for the referral, she must have taken a closer look... because last night the nurse called ... only I was pretty fried from work and didn't quite understand what she was talking about.

Apparently, my doctor believes that she would feel better if I was immediately referred to a cancer center for further testing. Now the breast care center I was trying to go to has mammo's, biopsies, ultrasounds, MRI's and an additional new technology that is being proved to be very effective at diagnosing breast cancer when all else fails (only found in 10 locations world-wide). Which is pretty much why I wanted to go there.

What I didn't ask or think about until later is if this means I'm no longer going to go there... nor what kind of follow up I'm being scheduled for, or anything. I've got no clue what they are planning. They were supposed to call me today - but didn't. So I assume that means I'll hear from them tomorrow. Which will give me a chance to ask a bunch of questions. It would be nice to follow up closer to home and not drive up to Minneapolis.

Anyway - still in a holding pattern.

To be honest, I don't really think I have breast cancer. And most every doc has said that it's unlikely I have it... and the odds that it's normal is like 95%. But I guess that after everything I've been through and with the 1 in a million odds that it took for me to have two clotting disorders, to clot without having surgery or an injury, to have clots in my lungs but not my legs, and to survive... well suddenly 5% chance that it's cancer seems high enough to do the tests to just make sure... I prefer a <1% that it's cancer at this point.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Test results, with more questions unanswered than answered

OK - so the first thing they say is that I have two benign cysts under my arm.

First question, I thought those were swollen lymph nodes? "Ummm... nope it says here that they are cysts."

Are they located near the lymph nodes? "Ummm... no. Wait, maybe. Wait... let me see... yes, they are in your underarm right where your lymph nodes are.

Could they be enlarged lymph nodes? "Yes, they could be, but the radiologist seemed to think they were cysts and he should know."

Do you have still pictures of them? "Yes"

Do they look like they might be lymph nodes? "Yes, actually they do."

So are you sure they are benign cysts. "of course"

OK - lets say they are cysts. How often do cysts that are diagnosed as benign turn out to be cancerous? "About 10 % of the time"

How can you tell that these aren't in that 10% range? "Well, we would have to do a biopsy"

Can I have a biopsy? "What would be the point? These are benign."

OK - so, I didn't have these until a month ago, at which point they weren't there or if they were, I couldn't feel them. And now they are large enough that I can feel them even when I'm just putting on deodorant and they hurt all day long. How big are they now? "I don't know, it's not written in the report."

How fast do they have to grow over a short period of time before someone wonders if there's something else going on? "I don't know"

OK - what is the treatment plan? "There isn't one. They're fine, they are benign cysts"

So, obviously I gave up that tactic... next questions.

Ok, so those are benign cysts - what about the mass? "What mass?"

The mass that was found six months ago that we were supposed to be looking for to see if it grew? "Oh, let me see... it says here that there is a fibrous mass. Oh, wait, that must mean you have a fibroid tumor."

Wait, I have lots of fibroid tumors in that breast, are we sure we're looking at the mass that was identified last time as NOT being a fibroid tumor? "No, I don't know"

Well, if Mayo didn't think it was a fibroid tumor, are you sure that's what it is? "Well, no"

Well, was it any larger than it was last time (which I know it must be because I can feel a lump there that wasn't there before)? "I don't know"

Well did they give any measurements or give you any scan of it so you could do a comparison to last time? "Hmmm.... let me look, no, I see it on your old tests, but it doesn't look like the radiologist did as thorough a mammogram this time... so he didn't take any stills of it this time to compare."

So, did he even do a comparison between the mass before and that same location in my breast this time? "No, it doesn't look like it."

Wasn't that the point of having the repeat mammogram? "Well.... yes... but then, honestly if he didn't see it this time, it probably isn't large enough to cause any issues."

How often does breast cancer get missed because it's too small to be seen in some of the scans. "Oh, that's common, probably at least 30% get missed the first few times that the patient is screened."

OK - so what are the odds that I might fall into that 30%? "Oh, no, you shouldn't worry - you just have two benign cysts and fibroid tumors. You're fine."

Are you telling me that I cannot possibly have breast cancer? "No. I'm saying that you probably don't"

Could this all be related to breast cancer? "Oh, I doubt it."

Any tests we could run to make sure? "A biopsy would tell us if it's cancer"

So, can you schedule me for a biopsy? "why would you want one?"

Well, if it isn't cancer is the pain and lumps from the cysts and fibroid tumor? "Oh, well the cysts should be painless, although it is common for fibroid tumors to hurt around your cycle"

OK - so both of them hurt all month long... why? "I don't know, but if you'd like, I can refer you so you can have a second opinion.

YES, PLEASE...! "OK, they'll give you a call sometime in the next two weeks."

OMG... are you kidding me? I don't understand how anyone can expect me to be "fine" and "not worry" after I've been given so many different diagnosis, and no one can answer any of my questions other than to say "you're probably fine, but we're not going to bother to prove it."

I don't know how to believe any of them any more. Not one of them will say "it can't be cancer"... they can say "it's probably not cancer" and "you should be fine"... but if pressed to the wall, they all back track. I just don't get it. Does everyone else hear things like this and just go "oh, ok, whatever you say!"?? I've lost too many family members to cancer. Two of did seek medical advice and got put off and ignored - until things were too far gone to do anything. And in fact, a co-worker just died from breast cancer which was missed in her first mammogram, but found in the second one - she only had six months after her second mammogram and the mastectomy and chemotherapy weren't enough to keep it from becoming terminal. I just can't seem to get the thought out of my mind that I would be insane to drop this until I know for sure. But, then, I've had doctor after doctor tell me "Don't worry about it" ... grrrr... I don't understand this well enough to agree with them I guess. And I don't know if I should. But I hate the fact that there are tests out there that would answer my questions and procedures to remove cysts that might eliminate my pain - it's almost as if they think I'm not worthy of treatment....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Update on "A"

He's back to dating the 15 yr old girl. This time with the support from her parents. I honestly think that they think he's an "ok" guy... and that "forbidding" the relationship didn't work, so they might as well go along with it and hope it fizzles out.

I met them both, but probably didn't make a very good impression - I was mid-visit from my sister and totally stressed out, needed to help "A" get things out of the garage, take him shopping, and hope to get home before midnight... wasn't very "friendly".

Anyway, the father gave "A" his job back at Country Kitchen, and helped him find an apartment. The apartment is only three blocks for his house, which freaks me out a little bit, but I guess, at least this way he can drop by pretty easily and unannounced and make sure his daughter isn't there.

So, "A" now has his own apartment, and two jobs. The first job - at the Raceway which only opened last fall is still figuring out how to run things apparently. As they don't write up work schedules. "A" has to rely on someone to call him to tell him each day if he's going to work that day. I told him that he should suggest a written work schedule that's made out a week or two in advance and they'd probably appreciate his thoughtfulness... but what happened instead is that they just told him. If it isn't Sunday or Monday (the days they are closed) and you aren't working at Country Kitchen, just come in and work. I think that's pretty cool... He should get a lot of hours this way.

He says he's turning over a new leaf. I'm not holding my breath... but am still trying to stand by him. He still has things to move from the garage, so we'll probably have to set up time on Sunday to finish the moving.

Feel good moment of the month

Went out to lunch today with my former manager. Was a nice break.

She stated "Your replacement is starting next week. She's got big shoes to feel, and I really don't think she has enough experience. You were even more irreplaceable than I thought."

More questions - from Phil

1. Were you named after anyone? a small copper-collored mexican chihuha
2. When was the last time you cried? about a week ago
3. Do you like your handwriting? not at all
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast Beef
5. Do you have kids? 2 boys
6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? yes
7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Yes
8. Do you still have your tonsils? No - lost them when I was 11
9. Would you bungee jump? Not on your life
10. What is your favorite cereal? Honey Bunches of Ohs
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No
12. Do you think you are strong? yes
13. What is your favorite ice cream? Pfish Pfood
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? face - eyes, expression
15. Red or Pink? Definitely Red
16. What is the least thing you like about yourself? my stomach
17. What do you miss most? my mom
18. Do you want everyone to send this back? sure, but only Phil is reading this lol!
19. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Baggy faded blue shorts, barefoot
20. What was the last thing you ate? brownie
21. What are you listening to right now? "a" is watching Star Wars II
22. If you were a crayon what color would be? Purple
23. Favorite smells? Cucumber Melon
24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? SWAT Team at work
25. Do you like the person who sent you this? Absolutely
26. Favorite sports to watch? on tv? Football; in person? Baseball
27. Hair color? dull blond
28. Eye color? Blue
29. Do you wear contacts? Yes, but not lately - have been having trouble with burning sensation in my eyes daily - easier to not wear the contacts right now
30. Favorite food? Mexican, Chinese, Thai
31. Scary movies/happy endings? Happy endings - although I am just now starting to watch some movies that I never watched when they came out
32. Last movie you watched? well, Star Wars right now - before this Shrek, again! but, that I watched that wasn't "a's" pick? Hannibal Lector
33. Summer or winter? Summer
36. Most likely to respond? No one
37. Least likely to respond ? everyone else
35. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake Factory Dulche Deleche
38. What book are you reading? started The Davinche Code - but only got to the second chapter, and I keep forgetting to take it with me when I have appts (about the only time I get to read)
39. What is on your mouse pad? don't have one
40. What did you watch on TV last? The Closer - love that show
41. Favorite sounds? childrens laughter
42. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Stones all the way
43. What is the farthest you have been from home? Paris
44. Do you have a special talent? does tying a knot in a cherry stem with your tongue still count?
45. Whose answers are you looking forward to getting back? ??
46. What surprised you most about the person that sent this to you? she would wish for a Star Trek transporter to be reality
47. Do you like animals? yes
48. If you have one wish what would it be? To continue the Star Trek theme - how about the thing where they generate whatever you want from energy particles? Usually used for food & drink - but they make things like violins, whatever you need.
49. Where were you born? Monticello, IA
50. Favorite job? As much as I complain? My current one still. I work for an awesome company and my manager is doing a great job of supporting me and understanding that I'm supporting so many other workers.