Archive for August, 2006

That’s the word from the New Rollogist. I’m trying not to take offense. This means they’re 95% sure that one of the illnesses they were considering will not be the BIG WIENER in the reality show that has become my life, “Name that Disease!” I know that some of you whom I’ve emailed are wondering about the nasty three-letter mofo. I don’t have a definite rule-out on that yet; it isn’t necessarily indicated on a brain MRI. I will tell you just as soon as I can celebrate crossing that one off the list. There are still many possibilities. Two doctors mentioned a “rare rheumatological illness” in recent days, so we’ll be looking at that, too. (Although I prefer the term, “exotic,” instead of “rare.”) When I went to look it up, I found websites for it, so I was thinking, “Oh, good, there’s a lot of info about it . . . ” until I saw that the website had a “Memory Wall” page in it, then I was all, “Aw, #^$&!” Because, and I should have put this in my “How to Be Sick” instructions, you just don’t want to pick an illness whose website features a freakin’ memory wall, or quilt, or any such damned thing as that.

I love me some Little Richard. Always have. Shut up! What’s not to love? Last night we saw this commercial, and I laughed, as I do every time:

I had just been asking Jif, “Do you think I present as ‘sick enough’ when I see these docs?” because I still try to be pleasant, and funny, and whatnot. And Jif, who’s been going with me to appointments, said that he thinks I do, that they should be getting the message that I’m plenty sick.

Then he says, “Hey, you should take Little Richard with you. He could tell them, ‘Help her!'”

“What do you think I take you for? You’re supposed to be my Little Richard! Tell them to help me!”

So Jif does his best Little Richard, “HELP HER! SOMEBODY HELP HER! WOOOOOOOHOOO!”

And I laugh ’til I snort. “Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!”

And he says, “Right. Then they’d shoot me, thinking that would help you.”


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Sunday Post


“God flunks no one, but He sure does give lots of retests.” — Thom Rutledge

James 1:2-5

Back to School

I don’t think I’ve blogged this before. I think I just talked about it in an email conversation with a lovely blogfriend, about this time last year. It’s time to go get your school supplies. It doesn’t matter that you have no school-aged children, or no children of any age, or that you don’t go to school. It’s still back-to-school time. Fresh start time. Take it. Use it. It’s better than New Year’s for a fresh start, because there’s no expectation of romance or resolutions, no pause for regrets. Just a new beginning.

I learned this philosophy a few years back, from an elderly, guitar-playing outdoor preacher at a hotel where we were staying for a final end-of-summer getaway. Part of his sermon was about how every year at this time, he bought himself a marble composition book and the biggest box of crayons he could find. Because he allowed himself a new beginning at back-to-school time, fully expecting to learn and grow in the coming year. Expecting to have something to say that would be worth writing in a notebook, or hearing something someone else said, that would be worth jotting down, to remember. And the crayons . . . you say you don’t color, but couldn’t that be in large part because you don’t have your crayons handy? I’m betting you cannot color in a coloring book or draw a picture with your crayons, and not feel just a little bit better about things. Color is a wonderful gift. 120 colors in a keepsake tin?! Please. My cup runneth over.

Go get your back-to-school supplies. Notebook and crayons required. Anything else that helps you feel back-to-schooly, optional 🙂

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I ran away for a few days, to an undisclosed location. Due to WTF Disease, my family had to cancel vacation plans earlier in the summer, and since school starts here next week, this was our last chance for a getaway. I didn’t tell y’all I was going, because I feared being unable to go at the last minute, and didn’t want to harsh anyone’s mellow if I had to come back on here and say, “You know that nice getaway we were planning? Yea, well, I couldn’t do it.” But I did do it. And it was good. I had 24 straight hours of feeling pretty OK, and for that I am tremendously thankful. The rest of the weekend was a few good hours alternating with a few crappy ones, which is pretty much my standard m.o. these days. BUT, I did have that one really good day with my kid.

We travelled west, through this really cool “notch” cut out of the mountain. You can see all the different layers of rock, which I find fascinating.

rocky road

When we arrived, this was the view from our window.

from window

Within hours of taking this shot on Friday morning, I was planted firmly in one of the chairs in the foreground, with my Oprah magazine and a strawberry daquiri, gazing past the rock garden to the lake.

view 2

(Now you don’t feel so sorry for me, do ya?) This is a fun place. There is a pool, a lake, “real” rock climbing nearby (did not partake), a “moving” rock wall at the hotel, fishing, kayaking, canoing, a steam train ride nearby, good hiking, an aviary (aka “bird zoo”), golf, artsy classes (LG and I made mosaic tile trays), a nightly campfire with all the marshmallows you can incinerate . . . fun place. They do have internet access, but no computers, and since I am laptopless, I was incommunicado for a few days. Thanks to my girl, Squirl, for publishing the Sunday Post for me 🙂

On a hike to the aviary and back, Jif and I were confronted with our advanced age, in the form of apparent hearing loss. We returned on a different path than the one we took to get there, and we came to a point in the path when it appeared to end. Ahead of us were yards of large, uneven rocks. We weren’t sure whether to try to cross them or turn back. It did appear that the trail resumed on the other side of the rocks, so we persevered, with some handholding and some verbal encouragement, and no twisted ankles, and we picked up the trail on the other side of the rock hazard.

A few minutes further along, I spotted a fallen tree across the path. It was really nothing at all, but with the rocky adventure fresh in mind, I called out to Jif and LG behind me, jokingly, “Uhoh, there’s another obstacle ahead!”

“A popsicle ahead?! Alright! I could use a popsicle!”

“Man, a popsicle sounds good! Great idea, putting a popsicle stand on the trail . . . “

Here’s your popsicle:

popsicle on the trail

Just a few minutes later, LG was in the lead, and she called back to us, “Hey, there’s some stairs up here!”

And I’m all, “STOP RIGHT THERE! MAKE SOME NOISE! Oh, cheez, the brochure said there could be bears out here! Stay there!!!”

And Jif’s all, “No way! There are no bears up there . . . “

Here’s your bears:

bears ahead

So while we didn’t actually see one of these:

lodge bear
(except for this one in the lodge)

We did see one of these (photo by LG):

And we did have a really nice time. And it’s good to be home, too.

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Sunday Post



“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.” — Ruth E. Renkel

James 1:17

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Bass Ackwards

If you’ve been around here in the last few months (ohdearlord, it really has been months!), you know that I suffer from WTF Disease (thanks to Traci and MoDis for identifying it as such). Its symptoms are varied and too numerous to mention, but among the most distressing of them are: throat problems — constriction, hoarseness, aching; fatigue, at least a couple of hours each day when I could lie down and die on the spot, lethargy beyond the flu, beyond pneumonia, just unable to function, to speak, to think; and doctors who appear to believe I am, in a word, nuts.

Early Sunday evening, I was hit by the fatigue thing and just sat motionless on the couch for a long while. Then I began to cry, as I sometimes do. Not often, but every now and then, that’s just what I need to do. The phone rang and I shook my head at Jif, to say, “I don’t care who it is, I’m not talking.” So what does he do? “Yea, she’s right here…” and he hands me the phone. I only had the energy to give him a dirty look.

On the phone was Joyce, a beautiful older woman from my church who has really been through some crap. She said that God told her to call me right then. I didn’t even try to pretend I wasn’t crying. Joyce had seen me cry just a couple of weeks ago when I stopped in the church office and she was there volunteering, as she so often does. She had said to me then, out of the blue, “Don’t you give up. I know what it’s like to have doctors look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them how you feel. It took me 13 years for them to find out what’s wrong with me.”

I knew, or thought I knew, that Joyce has M.S. I didn’t know about the 13 years. I said, “It took them 13 years to diagnose your M.S.?”

“I don’t have M.S.! Just last year, they told me I have Paget’s disease.” That pushed my crying button. The thought of going all those years with a mystery illness . . . I said a quick goodbye and left.

So here was this woman, who had been through all of that, and she’s calling me because God told her to. And she’s telling me about her late husband, who died before I met her. I try to stop thinking about me and talk about her instead. I ask her how her husband died. She tells me about years of diabetes and kidney failure. Double leg amputations, blindness, deafness, dialysis, during which she cared for him. And she’s telling me that he often asked her, “How can you go around smiling and laughing, with all that you’re dealing with?” And the short answer was, that’s what she decided to do. She told me about talking to God a lot, asking to be healed a lot, and choosing to live with joy every moment she possibly could.

By the time we ended our conversation, my fatigue spell was passing. I told Jif and LG that I wanted to take a walk. As we walked and talked, LG ratted me out for a fashion faux pas from earlier in the day. She and I had gone to the eye doc in the mall to pick up my new contact lenses. As we took a shortcut through a department store, I realized that my shirt was on backwards. It’s a long-sleeved tee, with a colorful all-over print that looks like a Mediterranean seaside. On the front, though, are a few tiny colored glass beads here and there.

So LG is making fun of me, and I explain to Jif, “Yea, and the only reason I realized it was on backwards is because the tag that belongs in the back was poking me in the neck in the front, and I’m all, ‘oh no, another damned throat thing is happening . . . ‘ so when I reached up to touch my throat, and felt the pokey tag, then I looked down and . . . no beads . . . they must be in the back . . . oh no . . . I’m losin’ it here . . . “

And then it occurs to Jif, “Hey, maybe that’s it! Maybe you’ve just been wearing your clothes backwards all this time!” And we three laughed like we needed to.

I will discuss this with the docs. Wearing your clothes backwards can cause all sorts of ailments. Or, it could be one more symptom to add to the list. I’ll email Dr. B: “I have discovered yet another symptom over the weekend. I put my shirts on backwards now.” Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be surprised.

Public Service Announcement : JUST SAY NO
(for William)

dining room window

This is my dining room window.

brain on drw

This is my brain on my dining room window.

Any questions?

file under: &Partial Nudity &Family &Can’t Make This Stuff Up &WTF Disease

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half full

Sunday Post ~ “I don’t really care if my glass is half full or half empty. I’m just happy to have a glass.” — Joe Farrell

rose vase

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

file under: &Sunday Post

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UPDATE: Saturday, August 12, 10:20 a.m. Mere seconds before swallowing my keep-calm drugs, I just got a call from A. Radiology, telling me they don’t have a technician to do my “open MRI.” That’s OK, because I’m not having an open MRI. The New Rollogist said it has to be closed. Uhoh, they scheduled it for open. Well, can I come in and do a closed? Um, NO. Skip to end of the conversation: closed MRI, Monday, 4 p.m. After I had already done rounded up my CDs, my drugs, and my blogfriends! So, those of you coming around to pray and vibrate and just generally cheer me on or check on me, thank you and God bless you, and go have a great Saturday. And those of you planning to attend just for the Speedo’ed pudding rasslin’, please contact William and Nilbo directly to find out if any other such events are scheduled this weekend.

The title of this post is not original. I remember it from a greeting card I sent my dear brother and his wife, many years ago, shortly after their home burned to the ground. Most members of my family of origin share a very warped sense of humor. My sister-in-law saved the card for years.

On Monday, I saw a New Rollogist. He was very nice. He spent an hour with me, and we did fun things. First, he had to make sure I wasn’t drunk. Had me do the heel-toe walk, touch my nose, that kind of thing. Once I convinced him I was below the legal limit, he continued with other unusual activities. He tickled me with sharp things and buzzing things. We made funny sounds together and wrote each other notes. Then hopped, barefoot. Hey . . . I wonder if he was a doctor at all. I might have stumbled (and I do mean that) into a Gymboree.

How sweet was he, that he had a big cornucopeia full of Hershey Kisses in the waiting room? And how sick was I, that I didn’t even take one?

The New Rollogist could neither confirm nor deny any of the allegations that my symptoms are making against me. He must do an investigation. There’s a test tomorrow, then there’s a TEST on Saturday. An MRI of my brain. The point being, I am sure, to verify its existence. I know it’s a necessary test, and I believe it will provide some helpful information. The thing is, this is the one test I’ve managed to avoid all these months. I’m claustrophobic, and prone to panic attacks when “contained” in such a way. Sigh. I won’t be doing the “open” MRI because he said the closed one gives better results. I’m too far into this mess to risk wasting time with less than the most efficient tests.

So, I will stick my head in a noisy box for 45 minutes on Saturday morning. Good times. I know that some of you have stuck your head in a box before. Got any tips for how to get through it? (And Bucky, I SWEAR . . . don’t you even start . . . )

Thank you for all the praying, and vibrating and loving. I abso-damn-lutely KNOW that it makes a difference. It does. I’ll let you know when I know something.

You rock, Ratsasstafarians 🙂

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what's next

Sunday Post ~ “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” –Mary Manin Morrissey

Psalm 23

Good morning, dear Ratsasstafarians (thanks to Amy for that gem). Right now my dream is to feel OK. Just OK. Some new symptoms appeared over the past week. Frankly, some scare-me-to-death symptoms. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I finally have the attention of a couple of docs who seem to “get” that there is something alarming going on here. Appointments and new tests coming up this week. Please continue the prayers. I’m trying not to be frightened, but I’m in pretty big trouble. Humps ahead. I will tell you as soon as there is something definite to tell. “Definite” has been mighty elusive these last few months.

file under: &Sunday Post

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My sidebar would be a much less interesting place without the skillz and generosity of Circus Kelli. When I recently expressed appreciation for those of you here who give a rat’s ass about my current troubles, CK created this lovely Commemorative Rat’s Ass so that anyone who so desires might identify themselves as one who does, indeed, give a rat’s ass.

I have seen them on a couple of blogs, and they do make me grin. I would also say that the time has come when I must ask that if you do, in your heart, give a rat’s ass, perhaps display of this emblem — on your blog, your forehead, wherever — is a more fitting way to make a statement than actually, literally, giving a rat’s ass. While I do appreciate the actual rat’s asses that have been given so far, my mail carrier has asked to be reassigned — it’s over 100 degrees here, and while the thought of your giving a rat’s ass for me is truly moving, the reality of it is getting to be a bit much. Probably better to go with the symbol now, than with an actual, physical, in-the-mail ass of a rat.

And yes, it may seem a bit egocentric to display my own “rat’s ass” emblem. But, like all the self-esteem experts say, “If you don’t give a rat’s ass for yourself, why should anyone else?” (What? They don’t say that? Well, they should.)

(Now, I ask you, where else, on the Innernets as a Hole, can you read the words, “lovely Commemorative Rat’s Ass”?)

file under: &Sharing &Partial Nudity

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