If It’s Friday, It Must Mean Leftovers . . .


Key West lightning by Janson Jones

Key West Lightning by Janson Jones


Daniel: Don’t you know anything you can tell me?
Miyagi: Hai. No get hit.

Miyagi: You remember lesson about balance? 
Daniel:  Yeah.
Miyagi: Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better. Understand?

justdrops by Reys from The Gold Puppy
"Just Drops" from The Gold Puppy

Massive thunderstorms in the area last night. I had to turn off my computer as I did not want to chance another freak power surge like the one that took out half of the house’s electronics a couple of years ago. So unfortunately, I did not get to post.

It was an incredible storm: brilliant flashes of lightning and resounding thunder. I’m glad that none of our current dogs are afraid of thunderstorms. Murphy, our last lab was terrified of storms and fireworks, and it just broke my heart to watch her. Her eyes would get big, and she would try to crawl under any piece of furniture that she could find, which is kind of hard for a lab.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that with Tillie, Alfie or Shakes. I believe they could sleep through just about anything, unless of course air happens to be circulating outside the door, in which case, they must move en masse to the living room and bark hysterically until someone yells at them to shut up. Then they all retreat back to the bedroom and become sleeping lumps again.

Miyagi: [shrugging] … Because sometimes, what heart know, head forget

Well Eamonn penned his first batch of thank you notes today. I was very proud of him; even though I gave him the three basic sentences that any thank you note should have—acknowledgement of being remembered, thanks for specific present, and closing thanks—he took it a step further and personalized all of his notes. How nice.

And he hasn’t given me any grief about imposing the thank you note restriction before he can actually have gift in hand. I thought for sure that he would quibble with me, but he has surprised me, so I need to take back any mean things that I may have been thinking about him, not that I would ever think any mean things about eldest son—after all, I’m his mother, and in my eyes, he can do no wrong . . .

Far North Bicentennial Prk Anchorage by JJ
Far North Bicentennial Park, Anchorage by Janson Jones
Perhaps he is on a new path. We’ll have to wait and see. Let’s move along. Shall we?

Daniel: Hey, where did these old cars come from?
Miyagi: Detroit.

The gardenias are in full bloom, and I’m keeping the house full of freshly-cut blooms. The front butterfly garden is starting to come into bloom as well. I’ll try to take some pictures and post them once we begin to attract butterflies.

GardeniasThat’s the highpoint of the summer season for me: watching all of the butterflies and moths dance through the blooms and leaves. I know, small things, but hey, I believe in appreciating beauty wherever I can find it.

About beauty, I’m featuring a few more picture from Janson Jones’s Floridana Alaskiana blog in this post. He has been doling out the photographic gems from his Florida trip in between other posts, and I’m loving all of them.

Miyagi: Daniel-san, never put passion before principle. Even if win, you lose.

Speaking of Janson’s blog, I had to pause when I read his most recent posts on what is going on in Anchorage. Apparently there is a big brouhaha in the Alaskan city over a proposed gay rights ordinance. According to Janson’s post, the protests are over “Anchorage Ordinance Number 64, which is intended to provide extended and protective rights to gays and other minority groups in Anchorage.”

Ordinance 64 anti protest sign2Now let me pause here. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you already know how I feel about this issue. I am completely stupefied that society is still fighting over whether or not the GLBT segment of society deserves to be treated just like everyone else. But after seeing some of the signs being hoisted by the opposition, I must confess that I am beyond stupefied, beyond mortified. I am flapping my gums speechless (well, almost).

As you can see from the smaller sign in the picture on the right, the holder is purporting that “gays recruit children.” I thought that Ellen Degeneres clarified this particular nonsensical position years ago when she made it clear that for every person recruited, said gay person receives a toaster oven. It’s a joke, people. I mean really: “recruits children.” That is just feeble, uninformed, and sadly ignorant.

Or let’s take this sign: 98.5% of America is straight. That one really blew me away. I’m sure that it would shock many of these sign holders to find out just how many people in their lives are gay.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, “Nearly 550 people have signed up to testify on the ordinance, which would add ‘sexual orientation’ to the list of classes protected from discrimination. Classes already protected include race, ethnicity, age, sex, marital status, and others.”  For me, this just seems like a logical addition, an affirmation of civil rights, if you will.

The article continues: “In general, they argue that gays and lesbians shouldn’t be protected because of their immoral lifestyles, or that protection isn’t needed because discrimination doesn’t occur, or that passing the ordinance opens the door to same-sex marriage in Alaska and they don’t want that.”

I had my Irish up (which is pretty hard when you’re Filipino, and I hope that that idiom is not considered derogatory as I’ve used it for years) over the whole situation, but Janson, ever the logical, reminded me that “the fact that there were only three cops (that I saw) standing watch and smiles on most folks’ faces (most, but not all) is a reminder of what we do and can have in this country (violent nut-jobs excepted)—non-violent, peaceful activism, regardless of the merits or rationality of any given side’s actual argument. A few decades ago, rocks would’ve been thrown at the pro gay rights crowd and they wouldn’t have been able to demonstrate side-by-side.”

Janson’s observations were that instead of the opposing sides being physically separate, the pros and the cons were on the same side, mingling, and there didn’t seem to be any hate-speak going on.

Obama signing GBLT memoPersonally, I find that pretty amazing. I know that I fly off the handle pretty quickly when I learn of or see such things, and it’s nice to have a calmer voice reminding me of just how far those of us who believe in equal rights for all people have actually come.

That being said, we still have so far to go. Even President Obama’s recent Presidential Memorandum allowing for some extended benefits, such as visitation or dependent-care rights, to the same-sex partners of gay federal employees seems like a grain of sand in an hourglass that is bypassing the candidate of change.

DADT (don’t ask/don’t tell) was supposed to be repealed. Remember that promise? We’re still waiting . . .

Perhaps Obama plans to mete out change in tiny increments so that he isn’t shoving it down the throats of the Neo-Cons. But geez. DADT seems like such a no-brainer, at least to me.

Daniel: You think you could break a log like that??
Miyagi: Don’t know. Never been attacked by a tree.

Praying Mantis from Natl Geo
Praying Mantis from National Geographic (has nothing to do with this section; I just love the picture)

On to other things . . .

I learned today that the insurance company through which I receive my long-term disability benefits is denying my request for an upgrade of 6 percent as I paid for that option when I was actively employed by The George Washington University. Quelle surprise. The upgrade is supposed to be allowable for any non pre-existing conditions.

Well, my fybromyalgia was not diagnosed until November 26, 2007—after I had already been put on LT disability. However, just as I expected, the company found four pages of reasons as to why I do not qualify for this additional benefit for which I paid. Apparently, the doctor who diagnosed me did not list all of the criteria needed for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia according to the “American College of Rheumatology criteria.”

What is it with insurance companies that they will gladly take your money in premiums, but they will nickle and dime you to death over benefits owed you?

I really hope that Obama’s supposedsocialist health care reforms will somehow trickle down to me because my monthly premium for health care is unbelievably high, and it only covers me, not the rest of my family. Thankfully, the boys are covered by their father’s policy until they are 19 unless they are in college. Corey was covered by his former union, and that’s one of the things that we’re keeping our fingers crossed over until he gets his new job.

Daniel: Wouldn’t a fly swatter be easier?
Miyagi: Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.

I wonder if there is anything else that I can bitch about in this post? Not in the mood to tackle Rush today. That’s usually a post by itself. The situation with the mortgage? Too depressing. The Virginia Gubernatorial race? Not ready for that one yet. The current state of Izzie the Trooper’s health? She’s in the shop now getting an estimate on how many arms and legs they want to make her run again.

I did see something completely sweet today, though. Brett’s two gerbils—Ben and Jerry—were snuggled up in the corner of their home, spooning. It was an aww moment.

Mr Miyagi with Chopsticks
The late Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi

Let me leave you with this tidbit of information: PETA (yes I believe in treating animals well, but these people are way over the top), objects to the way in which President Obama killed the fly that was dive-bombing him during a television interview. If you recall, Obama slapped the fly in a Mr. Miyagi move and nailed it. PETA has sent the President a fly trap that will catch the fly, and then said pest can be released outside.

Okay. I don’t believe in killing crickets or praying mantisssses or ladybugs or similar beautiful insects because it’s bad joss. But flies create maggots. Maggots make me gag. Big time. Flies also transmit diseases. The Black Plague of Europe anyone? Remember rats? Flies? Lots of dead people. Unfunny.

PETA needs to get a grip. The President wasn’t shooting wolves from a helicopter or field dressing a moose in the Rose Garden. Those things are appalling, and we all know of someone who boasted about doing them. Killing a dirty fly that feeds on feces? I’m sorry, but I have to give the Prez a big Miyagi “hai” for that one.

I need to go read and put ice on my head. More later. Peace.

Daniel:You’re the best friend I’ve ever had.
Miyagi: You… pretty okay, too.

Oh yeah. The whole Karate Kid thing? I know. I’m a dork.


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If It’s Friday, It Must Mean Leftovers.


Walking on Broken Glass, by L. Liwag

Now I Know Where The Term “Frozen Shoulder” Comes From

So I finally made it to my appointment to the orthopedic doctor this morning who told me that contrary to popular belief, I do not have a torn rotator cuff. My rotator cuff is just fine. What I have is in fact a locked or frozen shoulder.

I know. How do these things happen to me? Apparently, this thing has been going on with my shoulder longer than I realized, about 14 months longer.  The good news is that there will be now surgery! The bad news is that now I have to undergo physical therapy.

I have gone through so much damned physical therapy already in my life that I have a very strong aversion to it. In particular, the last person with whom I had to undergo physical therapy talked down to me so much that, had I been in any kind of physical shape to do so, I would have tied her skinny little body into a pretzel. I do not take well to being talked down to—ever. Just ask anyone who has ever tried.

So I agreed to do some (in my mind that some is very limited, as in just enough to learn the exercises to do them at home) PT before going back in six weeks for a recheck.

My real question is this: How can so many people read MRI’s and x-rays so differently?

The Brake Job for the Trooper99isuzutrooper

Seems that my oldest son, when he started to drive my beloved Trooper Izzie, not only did not take care of her insides, he also did not take care of her guts and bolts. By the time we found out that the Trooper needed new front brakes, they were worn down past the rotors. We are talking calipers. So what could have been a fairly inexpensive brake job turned into a very expensive front brake replacement job.

Then, when we asked to have the oil changed while they were at it, we found out just how badly the oil situation was: the oil came out in clumps. Excuse me a moment. I have to take a few moments to recompose myself.

When I had my first car , I made my best guy friend teach me how to change the oil and the spark plugs. And I did it. Before my back became truly bad, I changed the oil in my last red Buick. Then when we got the Trooper, we actually had enough money to pay people to change the oil, so I handed over the responsibility.  I kept telling Eamonn that he needed to learn how to change the oil. His sister regularly changes the oil in her Honda.

But no. He has not the time for such trivial things. Hence we have sludge. So Corey picked up the Trooper, and what had looked like an inexpensive repair had ballooned into a bill nearing $400. Need I bother to tell you that this can be ill-afforded.

Second Missed Doctor’s Appointment

So, we are on our way to my doctor’s appointment with the orthopedic guy on Tuesday (my first rescheduling of the appointment I had missed on Friday—different story) when smoke begins to billow out of the engine. The engine cuts off, and smoke is pouring out.  We are sitting in a lane of traffic with our hazard lights flashing, and the hood is up, and of course, some total a**hole blows his horn at us to move.

pushcarIn my more limber days I would have jumped out of the car and asked him if he wanted us to use the wing options on the car. However, this not being an option, Corey proceeds to try to push the car out of traffic. Luckily, the man in the next lane does stop, but no one jumps to our assistance. We get it to the drive in of the gas station that is thankfully just one lane over, but has an incline. At this point, I realize that I am going to have to push as well. Corey is insisting that I not touch the car, that I just turn the steering wheel, this as the car is beginning to roll down the drive onto him.

One man in a truck slowly gets out after watching us and begins to help Corey, but not until after I have already pushed the car a few feet. I still haven’t told Corey this, but it was push or watch as my husband was flattened by my car, which would place an inordinate amount of guilt on my shoulders that I am not willing to bear. Fortunately, I have a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday with my back doctor. But that’s another part of the story.

Corey puts some more gas into the Trooper. Goes to the Auto Zone across the street and buys some oil treatment and some gas treatment just in the rare possibility that they might magically make the car stop smoking long enough for us to get home. They don’t. We drive home, and pull the Trooper into the driveway where it has been sitting ever since, and where I notice when I get out that the license plates expired in December of 08.

As with most unbelievable stories in my life, I am making none of this up.

But Why The Trooper, You Ask?

Good question. Normally we would be in the Dodge Ram as that is the auto that Corey drives. However, two days before, which would have been Sunday, when Corey was coming home from the store, he heard a loud pop and then snap and then he coasted the truck into a nearby church parking lot. (We are fortuitous in having nearby lots, at least). The universal joint in the truck had snapped.

So the truck was out of commission while the replacement piece that Corey had bought, which was not quite long enough to fit the truck, was being extended at the welding shop.

Does This Story Get Worse? Why Yes.

Now, there is another part to this story that takes it almost past the point of reality, but we’re going to go there. My mother had to go in on Tuesday to have a sizable piece of squamous skin cancer removed. This procedure is done as an out patient. I was quite freaked out by the very nonchalant way my mother called Monday night and left a voice message that said, “Oh you know that biopsy that they did. It’s cancer, and they are going to remove it tomorrow. But don’t worry.” This is how my mother tortures me for being an inconsiderate daughter.

We stayed on the phone for quite a while as I tried to determine if in fact I did need to drive her to the procedure, but finally, she said that no, it was local, and she did not want me to drive her. I told her that my own doctor’s appointment was going to be quite near hers at the same time so to please take her cell phone with her and turn it on (turn it on is the operative word), and if she felt the least bit uncomfortable, we would leave my own appointment and pick her up. This after several offers to cancel my own appointment and take her to hers.

However, as the Trooper blew up, it’s a good thing that my mother did not need a ride home as we would have been unable to pick her up, but I found out that she was safe at home from my daughter who had just received a telephone call from my mother telling her that all was well.

Is There Actually More?

Trigger Point Injection Sites

The next day, I went to my own doctor’s appointment with my back doctor where I had to admit that I was in extreme pain because of the little matter of helping to push the Trooper up an incline, to which my doctor could only stare back at me in amazement. (I’m sure that he was thinking the obvious: “This woman has lost her mind.”) To wit, he gave me 12 trigger injections in my lower, mid and upper back.

We left my back doctor’s office and traveled one street over to pick up the piece for the truck. Now if you have been following this saga closely, your real question should have been, “What were you driving?” (I will leave out the part about the wallets as it’s just too much)

Well, since my mother could not drive on Wednesday, my eldest son got a ride to her house and drove her car back home with many promises to drive her car very carefully, in other words, not like he drives the Trooper.

We picked up the part and went to the church where the Truck was still resting comfortably. I called my mother to see if she needed anything while we were out as I was going to wait for Corey to install the part and not tempt fate any further because I could just see it: I would drive off, and as soon as I did, Corey would need something from the automotive store or would need a tool, and I would have to turn around and go back. No thanks. My mother was fine, and I told her that we would be back with her car fairly soon, at which point the heavens opened and rain started to pour down.

The gods were laughing at us. Ha Ha. Tee Hee. It was not amusing.

About twenty minutes later, Corey finished installing the part, which went fairly well. His coat was soaking wet, but other than that, the truck was driveable. I would have gotten down and kissed the ground if I could bend.

Does Anything Else Bad And/Or Stupid Happen?

That depends. We make it home, drop of my mom’s car to her. Make sure she doesn’t need anything. And as we are driving home, Corey tells me an oh by the way, Eamonn smoked a cigarette in your mom’s car last night when he was driving it home. Perfect, just perfect. If he were two inches from me, and if I had any spare energy, I would loosen my motherly wrath, but as neither of these things exist, he will escape this time, even though at some point my mother will ask the inevitable: “Who was smoking in my car?” She has a nose like Cyrano when it comes to cigarettes.

We both walk in the door. Corey sits down in the chair at my desk. I fall out on the bed, and we both fall sleep. It’s 7 p.m. Brett, the only innocent bystander in this whole fiasco, wonders about dinner. Unfortunately, neither of us are conscience enough to answer. I think that he ate cereal. I made it up to him the next day.

And that, my friends, is another chapter of this is your life and I even left out some things. More later. Peace.