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Archive for April, 2007

The title of this post is something that I find myself saying to LG with rather alarming frequency. It’s always after one of her little girlfriends has done something heinous. We were talking about this at the agency where I work the other day, and everyone there had stories to share of mean girls. Mean little girls, be they nieces, neighbors, what have you. Aren’t parents teaching their kids the basics of politeness, courtesy, and such? This may be the post in which I reveal my hopelessly old-school, uncool true self.

This is a letter (mistakes intact, names disguised) that my daughter received last year from a friend (?):

To LG,
Because of my popularness, I cannot play with you and eat with you every day. I will be busy playing and eating on the following days with Erin and Andrea:

  • Mon.
  • Wed.
  • Fri.

So it will be far to all my friends that are close to me like best friends. So this is how it is going to be for now on. If you have any complaints please e-mail me as soon as you can.

From,
Brigitte Bordello (aka a best friend maybe)

For the first few years of LG’s school life, I invited every girl in the class to her birthday parties. I couldn’t bear the thought of some little one feeling excluded. We were the only ones who did this. I realize it’s not always practical, and perhaps not even reasonable, especially as kids get older and form groups of friends. (I miss the days of pre-school, when the entire class, and even Miss Betty and Miss Carole were “my friends” to LG.) We invited kids that did not invite her to their parties — and they always came. I’ve tried not to encourage a tit-for-tat mentality; more Golden Ruley, whenever possible.

One thing that is practical and reasonable, though, is to teach children not to discuss a party in the presence of anyone whom you are not absolutely certain was invited to that party. This is a rule that I made up, I guess, but it seems kind to me. We are clearly the only ones who have this rule. And the corollary is, invitations are always mailed or hand-delivered to homes; NEVER taken into school where it becomes so obvious who is and is not invited. Until this year, we were the only ones who followed that rule. Interestingly, this year the school made it a policy that no written invitations could be distributed there. Not that everyone follows it, but it did feel good to point out to LG that someone other than I felt that was a bad idea. I can just picture a mean kid flamboyantly handing out little envelopes, and the little uninvited ones waiting, hoping, only to be disappointed. Grrrr! I know how it has affected LG to listen to some of her friends talk about going to so-and-so’s upcoming soiree, when she has not been invited. I can only use these moments to reinforce “our” value system, “See, we’re making a good decision by not doing that; it can be hurtful.” And then I go into all the reasons why people must limit the number of guests, etc., but little Veronica is still your friend, etc.

At LG’s recent birthday party, one of the young ladies (*cough*choke*) had a problem with the refreshments that we offered. I said to her, as I had to each of the other guests, “Would you like fruit punch or lemonade?” And she said to me, as no one else had, “What?! You mean you don’t even have any sodas?!” Yet another occasion after which we got home, did the post-mortem on the day and I found myself saying to my daughter, “You must tell me that you would NEVER say a thing like that to your hostess . . . ” And I hear her say, somewhat wearily, “No, Mom, I would never do that.” Cheez!

Are kids getting meaner? Are parents neglecting to teach kindness, politeness? Am I an old fart?

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I got nothin’. I could come up with just any old picture, and quote, and scripture. But believe it or not, every Sunday Post I’ve ever done has had some inspiration, some actual meaning for me on that day, at that time. Today, I got nothin’. I am sick, and sad, and weary. There’s the health thing, there are family things, there are friend things . . . blech. I do remain thankful; I know my blessings far outweigh my troubles . . . I’m just in that dark, rainy place.

If I knew how, I would show you a picture of how the hyacinths on my kitchen table smell, or how the rain on my roof sounds. I’m not a good enough photographer to convey those things in a picture, or a good enough writer to share them in words. But they’re good, and hopeful, so I’d share them with you if I could.

My arms won’t stay happy enough to reply to comments the way I like to. But I will say to Andrea and Peaches, from last Sunday, it is never too late to say, “He is risen, indeed.” OK, that reminds me of a story. I just did a quick search to see if I’ve told it here before, but looks like I haven’t. If I have, please forgive.

A few years ago, I saw a client, Gail, the week after Easter. She came in very upset, angry, tearful, and began to complain about her son, a college student.

“He RUINED Easter!” she accused, repeatedly. When I got her calmed down enough to explain the ruination of Easter, she told a story of how her boy, who was at a church-affiliated school, had gotten a ride home for Easter break with their parish priest, who happened to be visiting at the college. Gail was one who nearly worshiped the priest, and his opinion of both her and her family was of tremendous importance. When the priest picked up young Joshua, young Joshua was thoroughly hung over. And as such people sometimes do on long car trips, he puked all over the priest’s car.

After telling the story in great detail, Gail resumed her lament, “He RUINED Easter.” I should try to come up with some nice words for how I felt about this, since this is the Lord’s day, and since we’re talking about Easter, but the truth is, she was pissing me off. I gently challenged her thinking.

Knowing that Gail was a professing Christian (she professed all over the place, at the drop of a hat), I asked her, “What does Easter mean to you?”

“What?”

“What is the significance of Easter to you? What does it mean?”

She thought for a few minutes and said something like, “It means reconciliation. It means a new beginning, it’s a way for our sins to be forgiven, a way to approach God . . . “

“OK, so that’s Easter. Now maybe I’m missing something, but help me understand how Joshua puking in the priest’s car ruins Easter.”

Gail was quiet for a moment and then she smiled a tiny smile. “Easter can’t be ruined,” she said.

Yes! “That’s right. It’s a done deal. The tomb is still empty, every single morning when we get up. There’s nothing you, or I, or Joshua or the priest, can ever do, to make that not be so.”

So there. As always with these Sunday Posts, I’m preaching first to myself. I will be doing my darnedest to thoroughly immerse myself today in what I believe to be that truth: Easter (reconciliation, new beginning, forgiveness, a way to get back to God) is every day.

Happy Easter, friends.

Oh, and I need to let you know this, if you don’t already. My friend Little Sister is beginning treatment this week for cervical cancer. If you don’t know her, go read a little bit. She doesn’t post much, because she is terribly busy changing the world most of the time. She’s feisty, opinionated, smart, funny, sexy and just generally kicks ass. So she needs to get well and get back to what she does best, because there is a lot of ass-kicking to do in this world. Please join me in praying for her quick and complete return to health.

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Thank you, kind, dear people for checking in, for praying, for thinking of me. I had the EMG. It was negative. That is very good news. When the New Rollogist said, “It’s good news and bad news,” I knew it was good news. “Positive” would have been “confirming for ALF.” He said a couple of months ago that “negative” wouldn’t rule ALF out, but between his clinical judgment and the negative EMG, I am now choosing to rule ALF out. The “bad news” that he referred to is, of course, that I still have all the symptoms but no diagnosis or treatment. I’m still waiting for blood tests from the neuro and the endocrine doc. Don’t know what WTF is, but I’m choosing to think and behave, as much as possible, as though it is not a life-threatening illness. It is life-altering, for sure, but it won’t kill me. I will kill it first.

Now, in case anyone ever offers you an EMG, just say NO. The first part was the shocking of the muscles in my arms and legs. The doc said it would be comparable to what a dog feels when he’s shocked by an invisible fence. (This is the same doc who said I have fleas and ticks; I think the man is calling me a dog.) The first few shocks were unpleasant, but when he asked me if I was OK, I said, “Yea . . . that’s not so bad; I’d still jump the fence.” A few shocks later, though, I did yelp and say, “Now THAT would keep me in the yard.” It relieves my anxiety if I can make medical types laugh.

After the shocking came the needles into the muscles. That smarts. I didn’t look at them, I knew better, but Jif said they were long; inches long, and they went quite far in. It hurt. After the arm and leg, he did one in my face and one in my tongue. That was the worst.

Anyhow, tonight I feel just like I’ve been electrocuted and had long needles stuck in my muscles, but the news was as good as it could be, from that test.

Thank you, friends. I hope your Friday the 13th is a good news day, too. Without the electrocution and the needles. Unless you’re into that kinda thing.

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To-Do List

Fill ‘er up.

my jug

By request, a photograph of my orange pee jug. Oh, the indignities I endure to please you people.

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little tree

Easter Sunday Post ~ The Legend of the Three Trees

This is a story I like to read to little ones at Easter

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said, “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!”

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. “I want to travel mighty waters and carry powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!”

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.”

Years passed and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. “Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!” the first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!”

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me.” He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river. Instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God…”

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. “I wish I could make a cradle for him,” her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful,” she said. And suddenly the first tree knew she was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew she was carrying the King of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.

That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

Jeremiah 29:11-13
Isaiah 55:8-9

Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen.

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We Did It!

bunnycake front

Every year, I try to make a special Easter dessert with LG. Not that we need extra sugar, what with all the chocolate that is about to appear in baskets, etc. It’s just a tradition. WTF has kept me from doing a lot of things, but I’m happy to report, we got the bunnycake made!

Easter basket cupcakes by LG

Plus, because this year’s bunnycake only required one layer, we also made basket cupcakes, which LG decorated, quite nicely, I think.

Here is last year’s bunnycake. This year’s was a bit more challenging. But not much. Go to bed, now, so the Easter bunny can come. Leave him some carrots and a nice drink. LG told us to leave him some lemonade. I think not. He wants wine tonight. I just know it.

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I want to try to make this short and boring, rather than long and boring. Unnecessary sentences like this one and the one preceding it won’t help much with that intention, will they? Nor will rhetorical questions like that one.

OK. I saw the endocrine doc on Wednesday. This was veeeeeery interesting, because even though I had been taking 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D per week for 6 weeks, in addition to supplementation for the previous 5 months, my D level had not come up at all. In fact, it had gone down slightly. Weird. She is doing some research and ordering more tests. I picked up an orange gallon jug today in which I will pee for 24 hours, for her. You might not have needed to know that. But if I fill it up, I will be unable to resist sharing that with you. There might be photos.

So then, the New Rollogist that moved me from Passover to Good Friday, called up on no-name Wednesday, to move me again, to Holy Thursday. So I saw him yesterday. Overall, that visit was encouraging and frustrating at the same time. There were some tears. It was kinda rough on me, too. I told him the symptoms that had appeared since I last saw him — rather violent muscle twitching, aspirating liquids, pain in arms, in addition to all the previous symptoms. He says that he does not know what is wrong with me, but that he believes it is not ALF. He says that although the symptoms are consistent with ALF, he has seen me for some 8 months now, and he believes if it were ALF, I would be more disabled than I am. (And truly, I am not disabled. Some things are difficult for me, but I can do them. Everything I really need to do, I manage to do.) Still, he wants me to have the EMG, and I have agreed to do that. Next week. Friday the thirteenth. I’m brave like that.

I had compiled a list of “ALF mimic” disorders that I took in, and went through with him. Most of them, he has tested me for. Some, e.g., Lyme disease, he agreed to test again. Those of you who wrote to me about the various kinds of myositis, he’s testing for those again, too. I told him my metal poisoning theories. I think he rolled his eyes. I told him I know he doesn’t believe me, but would he please humor me and order the tests. He said that he likes to humor me, so he will. I don’t dislike the man. I’m not sure why that is, but I don’t. Then I told him about the Vitamin D mystery, and asked him if that could be related to any of the things we were talking about. He said he didn’t know how a D deficiency could do to me what’s happening. Then he went into a barrage of Dr. Philisms, most of which went in one ear and out the other. I do remember one, though, “The same dog can have both ticks and fleas.” This means that I could have WTF plus a Vitamin D deficiency, without the two being related. I remembered that one, because Jif latched onto it as the outcome of the meeting, reminding me several times since then, “You have both ticks and fleas.” He’s sensitive like that.

So, I have no diagnosis and no treatment, and feel pretty crappy, over all. But I do have an allegedly bright doctor who was once an ALF researcher, telling me that he doesn’t think I have it now. So that is good. Very good, really. Next, I have lots more blood tests, peeing in an orange jug, and the torture test next week. I’ll let you know when there’s news. Thank you so very much for your kindness and your prayers, and your sticking around for this yucky, boring medical stuff. When this is over, I promise I’ll stop posting medical stuff, and I’ll write moving, fascinating, hilarious posts . . . or maybe just go back to putting eyeglasses on my dog’s butt.

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Twins

A couple of weeks ago, Jif and I were at Hopkins, and Jasmine, the speech pathologist, was walking us from her department to the radiology place, quite a long trek, through the underbelly of the hospital, with pipes and steam and homeless people (I think I saw some), then back up into the light. Seriously, it was a long, confusing walk. And we chatted while we walked. And every now and then I’d catch Jasmine looking at me with an expression that I think can be described as “quizzical.” When I’d catch these looks, I’d smile, or nod, or sometimes I’d just pretend I didn’t notice. I also wiped my mouth, my nose, licked my teeth, etc., just in case she was seeing something disgusting of which I was unaware. Finally, after the tests were done and she was walking us back, she said to me, “I guess Dr. Flintstone told you that you look exactly like his secretary.”

“Ummm . . . no.”

“Oh my gosh! He had to see it! You are identical to her. Separated at birth! They say everyone has a twin, and I’m telling you, yours is Linda! Same smile, same eyes, same hair . . . “

Oh, so that explained why she was looking at me like that. Just then we re-entered Jasmine’s department, and one of her administrative staff was standing there waiting for her. But instead of immediately asking Jasmine what she was clearly waiting there to ask her, the clerk stared at me, without even an attempt at subtlety, and said, “That girl right there look just like Linda!” Jasmine agreed, and the two of them went on about it for a couple of minutes.

We finished what we were there for that day, and as Jif and I were leaving, I said to him, “You know, what if Linda turns out to look like some old hag? That’s gonna suck, because then I’ll be so offended I can’t come back here anymore, and they say Dr. Flintstone is the best throat doc in the world!” Jif understood that indeed, if Linda were plum butt ugly, I really couldn’t frequent those healthcare providers any more, best in the world or not. And of course, I also thought, what if they told Linda the same thing, and she was offended at being likened to me? It could happen.

We went there maybe two more times in the next week or so. Each time I said to Jif, “Did you see anybody who looks like me?” And each time, he didn’t.

On Monday, I went there for speech therapy. After I was all done, Jasmine sent me to the administrative area to set up my next appointment. As I stood at the counter, a woman passed behind me, and something about her caught my attention. I didn’t see her from the front, just from the back. She was about my size, and had hair my color and length. I could tell by the way she was dressed and by the way she walked that if she were “the one,” that would be OK with me.

When Jif and I were leaving the parking garage, I said again, “Did you see anybody who looked like me?”

“Nope. Did you?”

“Actually, yes, I think I saw her. Just from behind, but I’m pretty sure that was her. We can keep coming back.”

“Was she hot?”

“Yea.”

Did you ever see your “twin?” Did someone ever tell you you looked just like someone and when you saw them, you weren’t too happy about the comparison?

(Ahem. Look at me! I posted again! heeheee)

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

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Hi, all. I had to come on here and say how much it means to me that you stop by and email and snail mail, with your kind words, and that you continue to pray. I am thankful for each of you — those who have “always” been around, those whose names I’ve just learned, and those old friends who aren’t blogging now, but stopped in to say hello. I hug each of you in my heart. WTF has accelerated, in some ways. I do not know whether that’s good news or bad news. I have considerable pain, now. Some say that “ALF” doesn’t hurt. If that’s so, then I welcome the pain. Others say that it does hurt, as the muscles are dying. I don’t know. My arm and leg symptoms are symmetrical, too. Some say that ALF isn’t like that. If that’s so, then I’m thankful for the symmetry of my pain. I am using the arm strength I have to research, mostly. I’m thinking all the time, and have some leads, some things to check on. I laugh when I see this, now:

Because that’s me! My big head is always trying to figure this out, but my puny arms just won’t cooperate! I say, “I have a big head, and little arms . . . ” in my best dinosaur voice, much too much for my family’s comfort, but hey, a girl’s gotta have a little fun.

I so want to come on here with good news. No, great news. I see my New Rollogist, this Friday. I made the appointment when I was there back in January, and it was originally scheduled for this Tuesday. Then a couple of weeks ago, my Jewish New Rollogist’s secretary called and told me he’d made a mistake, and wasn’t going to see patients on Passover. So how about Friday instead? Uh . . . you mean Good Friday? Sure. I found that amusing. Maybe it will actually be a good Friday. I hope.

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