Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life: How I've Missed You!

We interrupt life as we know it for this very prolonged, very persistent and very annoying flu bug.

Actually, that was pretty much my status for the last two weeks...TWO WEEKS, I'm tellin' ya! Where I did pretty much nothing except get up, take my multitude of medicine, eat, whine and then sleep...repeat cycle several times a day. Gah!

Everything stopped...blogging; housework; exercise...even a much-anticipated mission trip to Jamaica had to be cancelled in order to try, try, try to get better.

This nasty bug hit on March 14th...easy to remember, as we were in Florida that week, and I was anticipating a great morning of tennis on that Monday. Well, when I woke up feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest - the tennis didn't happen. Neither did my daily run on the treadmill - so all of that preparation for the upcoming race in June is for naught. I'll have to start over again.


The good news - I've turned the corner, and each day now seems to get me just that much closer to full recovery.

I actually got back on the treadmill Tuesday for the first time, which felt SO GOOD. Oh, treadmill - how I've missed you and the endorphins that you bring me that feel so wonderful....!

Being that sick for so long almost felt like I was in a coma for two weeks, only to reawaken and wonder what happened in the world around me during that I have no recollection of it.

The world could have ended, and I would have been in my Mucinex/Tylenol/Afrin-induced hypersleep...dreaming of better days to come.

And better days are now here - hallelujah!

Watch out, world...I'm BACK!



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where Were You?

I was a freshman in college...

My usual routine was to head to the Student Union building for a quick snack, after my mid-morning class released us. The Student Union was always the buzz of activity - and it was where my Greek friends would congregate to hang out between hitting the books or heading home.

The upper floor had a lounge area with a television, where most mornings, you'd find a handful of students engrossed in catching up on the prolific soap operas of the day..."All My Children" and "General Hospital" were crowd favorites.

On this particular morning, as I walked in, there wasn't the normal half-dozen or so students...but dozens and dozens...all staring at the TV in stunned amazement.

My first thought was, "Wow...what has Erica Kane gotten herself into NOW?"

I jockeyed into position so that I could see what everyone else was seeing, as I murmured to the people around me, "What happened? What's going on?"

I could hear "shot" and "President Reagan" echoing through the room...two words that you never wanted to hear together. It was unthinkable.

It was 30 years ago today...and President Reagan had indeed been shot...and our normal routines came to a standstill that day, as we all gathered around the TV set to hear the latest. Classes were engagements were cancelled or pushed back...and the only topic being discussed anywhere that day on campus was how the President was doing.

I remember being scared...shocked...helpless...and yet, proud. I was proud of my generation. We may have had our political differences in the past, but on THAT day, we were united in our fervent prayer that our beloved President would pull through this.

I had been too young to remember President Kennedy's assassination...and the Challenger disaster was yet to come...this was my first defining moment of a national tragedy, and I remember it vividly.

Were you old enough to remember March 30, 1981? What were you doing? Where were you?



Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today, I'm celebrating 12 years of marriage to the man who can drive me crazy like no other...He can make me laugh, he can make me swear - and he can really, really drive me nuts sometimes. But all in a good way, of course!

Twelve years ago, we had been engaged for about three months, and I hadn't even thought about picking a date for the wedding ceremony. The thought of planning a second wedding - and blending two families - was enough to make me groan and stick my head under the pillows and not want to come out.

My first wedding hadn't been something I had really enjoyed; it was more of a "show" to please my mom - and she pretty much got her way in the entire planning of it. I really didn't know how to go about planning a second wedding that would be more my style - and not my mom's. If you know my mom, you would know what I mean.

So, here it was, March...we're engaged...but I've done nothing - NOTHING, I tell you - in the planning of a wedding.

That last week of March 1999, Hubby and his co-workers had some business in Las Vegas, and they invited all of the significant others to join them. On the flight, everyone's settled in...reading, snoozing, chatting...and I was having a silent conversation with myself in my head that went like this:

"Well, here we are, on our way to Las Vegas. Joy."

A few minutes later, the next thought that went through my head: "Well, what can one do in Las Vegas, besides drink or gamble - neither of which I enjoy doing...??? I have no idea."

So, I sat and pondered on that, and then - EUREKA!

"Wait a minute....we could get MARRIED in Las Vegas!!! And no overbearing-but-I-love-her-anyway Mother to take over things!!!!"

I looked over at my not-yet-Hubby and asked, "Hey! Wanna' get married in Vegas?"

And so we did.

After securing our license at City Hall, we found a delightful little Victorian wedding chapel off of the main strip. We were asked, "Civil or sacred ceremony?" and we answered, "Sacred." They ran next door to a church, asked the minister if he would come and perform the ceremony, which he did - and voila!

It was done.

We were married.

We packed a picnic lunch and then headed into the foothills of neighboring Red Rock Canyon for a delightful, quiet afternoon, away from the glitz and clutter of Vegas itself. It was wonderful.

It was the ceremony of my dreams...simple, small and sacred. No big party. No big fanfare. Just two people, declaring their love and commitment in front of the minister and a witness. And God, of course. That was all that was needed.

So, Happy Anniversary, Hubby! You're my soul mate - and I wouldn't change anything.

Here's to the past twelve years - and many, many more yet to come!



Thursday, March 24, 2011

They DO Exist!

True confession time, tonight.

I am a self-proclaimed GFW. And dang proud of it.

You know...GFW? As in Garden Flag Waver.

I am one of "those" people who always has a decorative garden flag hanging in my front yard...all matchy-matchy with whatever season/holiday/event/excuse is happening so I can announce to the WORLD ( least announce to my neighborhood) what exactly is going on so they can make the appropriate celebrations.

And for St. Patrick's Day, I had an awesome appropriately-themed green & shamrock garden flag.

If you notice, I used the past tense there in that in, I "had."

As in....

it's gone.

Strangely enough, March not only brings St. Patrick's Day around here, but it also brings one heckuva' wind. You'd think that after living here for almost 49 years, I would remember that.

I've learned the hard way that winds and garden flags don't mix. In fact, for some unknown reason, the wind seems to have something against garden flags, and will do whatever it can to rid the neighborhood of all flags it can manage to blow away.

As it did mine.

About two weeks before March 17th, my lovely green flag disappeared...and I know the wind was the culprit, as it was only blowing a measly 100 mph that day. Darn wind.

When I realized the flag was missing, I did a cursory search through the yard - but as strong as the winds were that day, I pretty much sadly concluded that my flag was probably in Argentina by that time.

Consequently, no pretty green flag for the holiday. My flag pole sat naked - in shame - with no decorative banner waving & blowing in celebration.

So, imagine my surprise this morning when I stepped outside - and saw this:

I did a double-take, I was so shocked. But there it is - not only was my flag BACK, but it was BACK ON THE POLE!!!!

What the heck?

I didn't realize that flags could take a Spring Break vacation and then COME BACK!!??!!

After pondering on this for awhile, I came up with three possible answers:

1. My flag has a mischievous leprechaun working behind the scenes to play tricks on me.

2. My garden has a mischievous gnome working behind the scenes to play tricks on me.

3. I have a wonderful, honest neighbor in my neighborhood who discovered my flag in their yard and rightfully returned it, but wishes to remain anonymous.

I'll go with #3...although #1 and #2 are definitely much more fun....!



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Heart Attack That Wasn't

I seriously thought I was a goner.

For a brief, horrific moment on Monday night, I saw my life flash before my eyes and the Great White Light was not only beckoning, it was rolling out the red carpet with a giant "WELCOME, DRAMA QUEEN!" sign flashing in neon.

It happened a few minutes after the conclusion of "Dancing With the Stars."

The episode had certainly been enjoyable, but I wouldn't say it was particularly heart-stopping, adrenaline-pumping exciting.

So, imagine my surprise when my own heart literally stopped.


Just. Stopped.

Incredible squeezing pain in my chest - sucking my breath right out of my body - and I clawed out for Hubby, who was sitting next to me on the sofa.

I grabbed his arm and held on for dear life, refusing to head to that bright, white light.

Scary stuff.

The paralyzing & blinding pain lasted only about 10 seconds...and then, all seemed back to normal.

I looked at Hubby; he looked at me.

I said, rather shakily, "Whew. That was weird. But I'm okay," at the same time he was urgently saying, "We're going to the emergency room. Now."

I protested. He won. Off we went.

I learned something that night.

If you present yourself at the E.R. with a chief complaint of "Chest Pain" - you will be whisked, faster than you can dig for your insurance card, back to the examination room - where a team of doctors, nurses and other unidentifiable medical people will swarm around you, poking, prodding, and sticking.

After three long hours, the good news is that I did NOT have a heart attack.

Dr. Doogie Howser (who was yummy, by the way) said his best guess is that I have a lack of fluid in my pericardium - or, a possible "bump"...every so often (and yes, I've actually had this pain off and on for the last few years, but have managed to ignore it until now), he thinks my heart "bumps" or "catches" against the wall of the pericardium - causing the heart to miss a beat or two.

Incredibly painful. Incredibly scary.

But nothing to worry about.

No heart damage, thank goodness.

I was relieved to know that - as well as to finally have an answer as to why this periodically happens.

I could have joked and said that it was Ralph "Karate Kid" Macchio's dancing working it's way into my heart...

...but heart pain should never be joked with.

Don't ignore it, if you have it.

Get answers.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Because It's All About Me, Actually....

As I've gotten older, I've liked to think that I've also gotten know, all that "maturity" crap they talk about that comes with age.

I don't really know that I've gotten more mature - or even the only thing I've noticed that has for-sure come with age is a bunch of grey hairs and a butt-load of sagging skin. (Ew. Ugly picture. TMI. Sorry.)

But I digress. Ahem.

One certain personality characteristic of mine, however, has remained a constant through the years.

It is definitely one of the more "immature" characteristics that I possess...

And that is...

...if I'M sick, dang it...I want the ENTIRE world to KNOW about it.

I want my Hubby to know it.

I want my children to know it.

I want my Mother to know it.

I want every friend on Facebook to know it.

And it appears that I now want every blogging friend in the Blog World to know it, too.

I'm SICK, dang it!!!

I need sympathy. Sniff.

I need hugs. Sniff.

I need...something. Better drugs?

Because I'm sick, dang it. And it's not pretty.

And the ironic fact that cold medicine REALLY, REALLY gets me all trippy and hyper and WIRED?

Is so not funny.

I am sick. I am exhausted. And I am miserable.

And I want everyone to know it.

My doctor will know it when I visit her this afternoon for a much-needed appointment.

After that, who knows?

I may alert the media.



Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Spring Break to Remember

Spring Break is almost over, and we're back home in Kansas City...

Yes, our wild and tumultuous week in Florida has come to an end, and it's now time to settle down and get back to our usual, dull routine.

And because you can't hear my voice as I type that, imagine the above sentence said with huge, dripping sarcasm, dear readers.

Because - due to the fact that 3 out of 3 of us were sick this past week - our home in Florida looked more like a hospital wing than a vacation resort.

Instead of beach chairs, suntan lotion and margaritas, it was Mucinex, Kleenex and Tylenol, as we all succumbed to the creepy, croupy crud that seems to settle permanently in your chest and throat, causing aches, coughs and chills. Fun, huh?

I have the added joy of having a unique reaction when I take cold medicine - as it seems that no matter what I take, I get wired - WIRED, I tell you - so that there is no rest for the weary.

There's nothing like laying awake all night while a little feather tickles the far, far deep recesses of your throat. Gah.

I'm coughing as I type this.

Yes, this will be a Spring Break to remember.



Thursday, March 17, 2011


Last night, we made QUITE the impression on our new neighbors here in Florida.

Well, actually, WE'RE the new neighbors. Larry & Linda have lived here 15, they've seen people come and seen people go in Ft. Myers.

They've been pretty awesome neighbors - watching over our house when we're back in KC; taking our trash out for us; and generally showing us the ropes of Florida living.

So, last night, we invited them out for dinner, as a repayment and a "thank-you" for all the help they've given us.

We went to a restaurant here called RumRunners, which is pretty fancy-schmancy. I could tell, when I saw that my entree was a whopping $27.00. And that didn't even include a salad. Yikes.

Add two appetizers, numerous drinks, four entrees, and dessert to that bill - and you could see how fancy-schmancy it was.

When it took almost two waiters to carry our bill to the table, that tells you how heavy that check was.

I looked over at Hubby, expecting him to whip out the magic credit card, as he always does, to take care of that very heavy check. He's kinda' wonderful like that.

Imagine all of our shock, when Hubby says, somewhat nervously, "Where's my wallet? I can't find my wallet!" as he's poking around in his pockets.

I thought he was kidding.

He wasn't.

No wallet. And I have no purse.

Oh. My. God.

Our dear, dear neighbors once again bailed us out - or we would have been washing dishes.

WHAT AN IMPRESSION we made, huh?!

Oh, Larry & Linda laughed about it. We were mortified. And scared - where was Hubby's wallet?

All's well that ends well, fortunately. When we got back to Larry's car, Hubby's wallet was lying innocently in the front seat. It had apparently slipped out of his pocket during the drive.

And fortunately, we had enough cash to immediately pay Larry back on the spot.

They said they'll never forget this dinner with us. I know we won't. And they also said they couldn't wait to tell the other neighbors about how we took them out for dinner.

We already realize, that we will NEVER live this down. This is one of those stories now that will live on in the neighborhood for infamy.

What a way to impress the neighbors, huh?!!!



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writer's Block

There's something about sitting in the sunshine of Florida that basically sucks every bit of creativity and thought process out of my head...

...and I go into total writer's block.

Speaking of writers, however, I DID have something cool happen on Sunday.

We went to our favorite little watering hole, Doc Ford's, which is located near Fort Myers Beach.

While there, who should appear for a book signing, but none other than one of my favorite writers, Randy Wayne White!

Randy writes a series of books about a character named Doc Ford, and they're sorta' like adventure books - think of Indiana Jones.

What's cool, though, is Randy is from south Florida, so a lot of his books take place here in Ft. Myers, which is obviously near and dear to my heart!

His very first book that I read, "Sanibel Flats", got my attention when it centered around Guatemala...and the Kansas City Royals.

Now...tell me how many other writers you know that can manage to put two of my very favorite things in the SAME book??!! Guatemala and the Royals??!!

(The KC Royals used to hold Spring Training here in Fort Myers - and that's how Randy became a fan of theirs.)

So, at the book signing, I told Randy of my love for Guatemala. And the Royals. Especially George Brett, whom he had also mentioned in his first book.

He then said I would LOVE his newest book, "Night Vision", as it centers even more on Guatemala and the Mayan culture that I love.


I've had my head buried in the new book for the last few days - so while I've been enjoying another writer's work, I haven't been doing any of my own.



Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chicks Dig Diamonds

Chicks dig diamonds... diamonds, that is.

(Actually, I've never met ANY kind of diamond I didn't like, but today's topic is about baseball...we'll save sparkly diamonds for a future discussion!)

An advantage of spending Spring Break in Ft. Myers, Florida, is getting to spend Spring Training with the Boston Red Sox.

Now, I'm not a Boston fan - I will always be a Loyal Royal - but I AM a baseball fan - and so we spent a gorgeous, perfect day at the ballpark.

I loved our parking spot - $5 got us in this old guy's front yard. Here he's directing my Hubby in how to maximally squeeze our car in so he can get as many cars in his yard as possible. Ka-ching!

A short walk away, and we've arrived at City of Palms Park - aka the home of the Red Sox in Spring Training:

Out front, there's a statue of the famous Ted Williams, and so Daughter and I have to do the obligatory "pose-in-front-of-the-statue" thingy:

Once inside, I was immediately taken with the "Green Monster" tribute in the outfield. If you know anything about Boston Red Sox lore, you've heard of the infamous Green Monster, the green wall in Fenway Park. Well, how can Boston play without a Green Monster in their Spring Training facility?!

A moment of silence in tribute of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims, and then the national anthem:

And then, Play Ball!

It was a full house today - standing room only, to watch the Sox take on the Florida Marlins. I was an idiot, and waited until the last minute to buy tickets, so we had Standing Room Only - along with what appeared to be 2,000 other idiots. SRO means you find a place along the blue wall - which was pretty tightly squeezed.

We got lucky, though. Around the 3rd inning, the Leprochaun-ish Usher in front of us said, very loudly, "I'm not supposed to say that there's several empty seats up in the 4th row - so I won't say it...but I'm just sayin'...but I NEVER said it."

Well, we're no dummies! (Okay, actually we were - by waiting to buy our tickets so late. But we're not DOUBLE DUMMIES!)

We quickly moved up and grabbed some of those empty seats. SCORE!

And the final score?

Boston 9, Florida 2.

I think we had fun!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our House Was a Crime Scene!

Warning: the story you are about to read is true. Not even the names have been changed to protect the innocent, because as you’ll see, there WAS no innocent in this crime of passion.

It’s bad enough to have to deal with errant children – as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

However, to add canine misbehavior to my ever-increasing load of stress is really the last straw.

Yesterday, I came home from lunch to find THIS little crime scene on the floor of the laundry room:

THAT, in case you can’t figure it out, is a mostly-eaten box of Girl Scout cookies.

“Ack!” I screamed. Eating one of my treasured boxes of Girl Scout cookies is tantamount to murder in my book, and I immediately went into Sherlock Holmes-mode to solve this culinary mystery.

I wanted answers – and I wanted retribution. The gall of someone eating MY Girl Scout cookies!

Considering that our Shih-Tzu, Cocoa, was the only animal/beast/life form running loose at the time in the house, it didn’t take me but a second to figure out the answer to the immediate question of, “Whodunnit?”

If I had any doubt, all it took was one stern look at the guilty party’s face:

She’s never been one to mask her feelings of shame. And notice how she absolutely will NOT look me in the eye. Hmmm....

What’s amazing is the determination she must have demonstrated to even get TO these cookies. It wasn’t easy.

She had to somehow get the cookies out of THIS box that is on the floor of the laundry room:

After getting the LemonAid cookie box out of the big box (and she doesn’t even have thumbs - amazing!), she somehow had to rip the box open – as demonstrated by this picture of the evidence:

And how the heck did she get the cellophane open??!!

Of course, her fate was doomed when she barked out, “I’m sorry” – in her little doggy bark – and I immediately detected the faint sweet smell of lemon on her breath. (Which is actually a good thing, if you’ve ever smelled her normal breath. We may be on to something here - lemon-scented mouthwash for dogs....)

Not to mention, little bits of lemon crème were clinging to her whiskers.

Guilty as charged.

She’s now doing 5-10 days of hard labor. When her parole hearing comes up, I’ll let you know if she’s shown remorse and has been rehabilitated.

And for the record, HER record will never be expunged. I’ll never trust her again with boxes of Girl Scout cookies on floors of laundry rooms.



Thursday, March 10, 2011


You guys are amazing.

No, really. You are.

I put my impassioned plea of desperation up today about the frustrations I'm having with my son, and you all came out in droves - offering much-needed advice, compassion, hugs, and empathy.

I am overwhelmed.

Taking all of the advice and comments very seriously, I sat down with said-son tonight and had a very long heart-to-heart talk.

We got off to a bumpy start, as the LAST thing he wanted was a long heart-to-heart talk. Go figure.

But, after a few grunts, sighs, and other undecipherable teenage-boy sounds, he finally realized I wasn't going anywhere until we hammered this out.

And hammer it out, we did.

Ninety minutes of honest, soul-baring talk...the good, the bad, the ugly.

Initially, I was talking while he was listening...but gradually, he did more talking and I did more listening. As it should be.

Have we made progress?

I hope so.

Will it made a difference?

I REALLY hope so.

Thanks to all of you in Blogger land and in Facebook land who listened and advised.

You rock.



Where's My Fairy Godmother?

Warning: a serious post today. No snark. No jokes. Just a straight out plea from my heart.

There are times when I realize that being a parent is truly one of THE most difficult jobs in the world...

...and now is that time.

I am truly at the end of my rope with my 17-year old son, and I frankly have no idea what the next step is.

He's pretty much given up his senior year.

He's given up baseball, which was the love of his life.

He's given up on finding a job.

He's given up on completing his 50-hours of required community service in order to earn college tuition money.

And it now appears he's given up on his grades - which means that graduation in two months is now in danger.

Is he on drugs? I don't think so.

I think he's just completely and utterly terrified of growing up - of taking responsibility - of moving on to the next phase of his life.

In his immature mindset, I think he believes that if he just ignores everything, that it will delay the inevitable...and he can remain a carefree child with no responsibilities for the rest of his life.

I have done everything - and I mean, EVERYTHING - to stop this downward slide.

I've begged. I've pleaded. I've threatened. I've bribed. I've cried. I've screamed. I've cussed. And I'm trying, as HARD as I possibly can, to LISTEN.

But he won't talk.

How can I listen when he won't communicate?

He just shuts himself off and closes the door - both literally and figuratively - leaving me scared, confused and frustrated as I see him making not-so-good choices that could have far-reaching consequences.


I tell myself it could be worse - that he COULD be on drugs, that he COULD have broken the law, that he COULD have gotten a girl pregnant - and so I should consider myself "lucky" that what we're dealing with isn't as bad as those possibilities.

But still.

I keep waiting for the Magical Parenting Fairy Godmother to come in, wave a magic wand, giving me all of the answers and fixing all of my parenting problems.... would sure make my job of being a mother so much easier.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Image from here

Ah, Ash Wednesday...

...the beginning of Lent.

I'm going to politely ask all of the media outlets - television, magazines, radio, internet, etc - to give up Charlie Sheen for Lent.

Please and thank-you.



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's A Small World After All

Image from here

If you've ever played the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, than you understand what a small world the world really is.

Last night, I was indulging myself at the Culinary Center, where we were being entertained, once again, by Chef Jasper and his Italian delights and delicacies...that man is a true Kitchen God, and I love him. I really love him. Ahem.


When it came time for "hands-on", I was at the little kitchenette with my group of 3 other aspiring chefs, and we were making small talk as we embarked on our Pasta Carbonara journey, which was a very yummy journey and will get a future post all on its own.

At some point, the talk turned to what we all do for a living, and I mentioned I was a volunteer with the American Red Cross.

The lady on my left, Vicki, immediately gushed, "The Red Cross?! OMG! I SO want to be a volunteer with them - but I just didn't know how to get involved!!!"

Well...not one for letting an opportunity for recruiting to go by...I chatted for a while about all the different things the Red Cross does, and how we could plug her in.

She then mentioned that she likes to travel, and this summer, she has an upcoming mission trip she's looking forward to.

"Where are you going?" I politely asked.

"Guatemala," she replied.

"GET OUT!!!!" I shrieked, scaring the other chefs about half to death. "I've been to Guatemala, like, EIGHT times!"

I then asked, "What part of Guatemala are you going to?"

"Well, I've never been there I can't exactly's something like, 'Saint Louis'...."

"San Lucas???" I asked.

Yes. San Lucas, she said.

"GET OUT!!!!" I shrieked. Again. "I've only been to San Lucas, like a million times - give or take a few!"

What a small world. We spent the rest of the evening discussing her upcoming trip - come to find out, she's going to be staying at the exact same parish I've stayed in San Lucas, and so I was able to give her lots and lots of advice on packing, shopping, eating - all that important stuff.

Probably too much advice, but hey? What are new friends for?

So, we've now exchanged e-mail addresses and will be BFF's as we talk about the Red Cross and San Lucas and Guatemala and our mutual crush on Chef Jasper and his yummy Italian food.

Sigh. I love Chef Jasper.



Monday, March 7, 2011

Genetics: Irrefutable Proof

Image from here

My 11-year old daughter has a white board in her bedroom.

This is what she has on it, as of today:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Her daddy is an engineer.

Her mommy is a teacher.

She is most definitely a product of her very left-brained parents.

'Ya think?



Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Big Leagues

Image from here

Step aside, Alex Rodriguez.

And Albert Pujols?

You've got NOTHING on me.

I've become quite the power-hitter these days. And I'm quite proud of it. Obviously.

What the heck am I talking about, you may ask?

Why, couponing, of course.

Couponing, to me, is like a baseball game. (I love baseball.)

If I can buy an item on sale, then I've hit a single.

If I can buy an item on sale, and additionally, use a coupon - then I've just smacked a double.

If I can buy an item on sale, use a coupon, AND get money back from the store on it - then I've just scored a triple. Woot!

And a home run?

That's getting an item on sale, using a coupon, getting money back from the store - AND getting a manufacturer's rebate. THAT is the ultimate score. Which I've yet to do, but I'm working on it!

My grocery store trips are bagging me mainly singles and doubles.

But when I shop at the local drugstore? Triples, baby. Lots and lots of triples.

Last night was my mom's birthday party, and I actually spent part of it teaching the basics of couponing to my family. My mother, my brother, my sister and my cousin were my eager students, and I showed them my system on how I knock it out of the park whenever I shop.

I think they were initially skeptical, but when I started showing them my inventory of laundry soap, toilet paper, razors, make-up, shampoo, deodorants, etc - all bought for next-to-nothing (and in some cases, they WERE free!), then they became believers.

Today, I was thrilled when my sister called on her way to the drugstore, about to embark on her first coupon trip. She was set to hit some triples herself.

I was so proud.

Another generation of power-hitters has now been unleashed.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

It Wasn't My Singing, I Swear!!

Image from here


The things my mother will do to get attention.

And they call ME the Drama Queen.

Today is my Mom's birthday - and we've got a huge party planned for her this weekend.

I guess in the excitement of turning another year older, Mom's heart got a little whacked-out Tuesday, and before we knew it, she was admitted to the hospital that night. Yikes.

After the doctors and nurses and technicians and specialists all huddled and muddled together, they sent her home yesterday with more medications than answers...but isn't that how it is sometimes with modern medicine?

Before she was sent home, I had paid her a visit, and her first comment to me was, "I'm giving you more blog material, aren't I?"

That's what happens when you're a blog writer. Your immediate family develops an acute sense of paranoia on top of any other medical conditions they may have.

I looked at her oh-so-innocently, and said, "What? Blog? Why would you EVER think that??"

This morning, I called her to not only sing a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" to her in my best-Celine-Dion voice (which comes out sounding more like Tiny Tim than Celine Dion, but hey...I do my best - and if you don't know who Tiny Tim was, then lucky you, as he was probably the worst singer of my generation - but I digress), but to also ask how she was feeling.

"Not so good," she replied.

And I hadn't even sang to her yet.

Sure lunch time, she was back in the hospital.

And I swear it wasn't my singing that put her there. It's that darn wacky heart of hers that can't make up it's mind on what speed to pump. Slow? Fast? Double-speed? Find a rhythm, and stick TO it, okay??!! How hard can that BE??!!

Tonight, I took her a "Happy Birthday" balloon attached to a "Get Well" card. Nothing like spending your birthday in a hospital gown, huh? Getting poked and prodded and annoyed by the nurses all night long.

She's going to be fine. She'll (hopefully) be going home - AGAIN - tomorrow.

And we'll have a bang-up birthday party Saturday night for her.

But not SO bang-up that she's back in the hospital again.

Providing me more blog material. (snicker)

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you! :)



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My New Norm


My new norm.

On Monday, I was in the middle of dealing with my numerous post-vacation piles - laundry, mail, dust, e-mails, etc - when my telephone rang.

I glanced at the number - didn't recognize it - and answered it anyway.

That's because there could always be an adventure just waiting at the other end of the line, so I HAVE to answer phone calls. Let's just say that if I were a cat, curiosity would have killed me a LONG time ago.

The woman on the other end identified herself as Leslie, and it turns out that she is a moderator of a national forum that assists people who are struggling with erythromelalgia. Or, EM for short.

Leslie and I talked for almost an hour...and she was a wealth of information.

Some things I learned:

*EM predominantly strikes caucasian women. That would be me.

*EM predominantly strikes between the ages of 40 and 49. That would be me.

*EM predominantly strikes people of northeastern European descent - which includes Sweden. That would be me.

*EM can affect each person very differently...some people get it in their feet, some their hands, some their my case, it seems to be predominantly affecting my hands and my lips.

*EM is not curable...but it can be treated (somewhat) by learning the triggers and avoiding them.

After hearing my story, Leslie suggested that besides avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugar, I should strongly consider a gluten-free diet. Which, actually, has been suggested to me more than once in the past, but I've been too lazy and too unmotivated to educate myself on just how to do that.

She also suggested that, because EM sometimes likes to "piggy-back" on to other diseases, such as ALS or MS, I need to get tested as soon as possible to rule those out.

Leslie's own story with EM is heartbreaking. She was living in New Orleans in 2008 when she noticed her fingers were swelling and burning. After several months of not getting any relief, she eventually went to a doctor, who wrote the world "Erythromelalgia" on a piece of paper and then said, "There. I suggest you become your own advocate on this - because there's not much known about it."

Leslie's EM eventually moved into ALL of her extremities - hands, feet, face, mouth...and her #1 trigger is heat. She's been moving gradually north across the country as her symptoms have gotten worse; she's now considered 100% disabled and is unable to work. She sleeps during the day and goes outside at night, because of the night time coolness.

That? Would suck.

As for me, I didn't do so well last week on avoiding the triggers. Alcohol, sugar AND caffeine were pretty much the norm for me last week in Florida with my girlfriends. I take full responsibility for my actions - I can't blame anyone but myself. I knew I would pay for it, and I did.

Now, its back to reality and it's time to get serious.

Wish me luck.

And if anyone out there has had success going gluten-free, I would LOVE any advice, resources, tidbits, etc you can give me.

P.S. Found a great blog by another EM patient - check out NotSuperHuman.