Thursday, March 26, 2009

Go Get 'Em Colin

A friend of mine had told me to read "An American Journey" by Colin Powell because she had enjoyed the book far more than she had thought she would. I took the book, it sat in my TBR (to be read) pile and I didn't give it much thought.

Then I decided to pick it up and browse. I got hooked.

My family isn't a military family in the formal sense -- but my grandpa was in WWI, my dad in WW2, an uncle in Korea and a cousin in VietNam -- and I was raised to honor our military and the men and women who serve. War isn't their fault.

And I'll be honest. I was raised during the Viet Nam War and understand more about WWII and Korea than I do Viet Nam. But this book really isn't about war. It's about a man's journey through the military, through war and peace, through his life. And an exceptional life it is.

There are lessons about family and honor and life and duty and respect and courage and fear. It is one good read.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Take This Number Down

For those of you really struggling with your mortgage, there's an organization called Hope Now. They will work with your mortgage company on your behalf to renegotiate -- maybe a refi, maybe a short term reduction in the interest rate. I know when I called my bank for information, since I'm current on my mortgage, I was basically SOL.

But I have mountains of medical bills that I drown in every month. Perhaps a short term lowering of my mortgage rate would help me get out from under.

Anyway, when you go to their website, you need to fill out a form with your mortgate info and basic rundown of where your money goes. Food, medical, utilities, car payment, etc. Then you will hear within 5-7 days if they can help you.

It's free.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Welcome Fred!

Yes, for god's sake -- it's a rat. A RAT!

My Dear Sweet Sam's son, Thomas, is a rat afficionado. There was Roxy and a nameless one, Grande, and now....Fred. Thomas saved Fred moments before becoming snake food for his friend's enormous boa and I admire that.

Now I'll be honest here. The first time I saw Roxy, I could have screamed and stepped on her. But then....I don't know. I went soft. The tail still grosses me out to no end, but the rest of them is so sweet and soft and cuddly. We'd take the rat out in the summer when we had locusts and the little rat would eat the locusts! Which was fine by me. I hate those damn things.

But I have come to love rats. They don't live long - 3 years tops, but they are great pets surprisingly enough. Clean, affectionate, smart.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go buy some Yogurt Dip treats for Fred. We found out recently that Fred is actually Fredericka, and she needs her calcium.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'm a Good Mom!

My Erin will be 13 this year. I can't believe it! I had to think of something to give her that she would never forget. And I found it.

She and I are going to the Drake Bell concert. Just the 2 of us.

I'm a good Mom, right? Or am I going because I want to relive the Bobby Sherman concert Anne and I went to in 1969? Am I going because I never got to see the Beatles up close in concert? Or am I going to remember the time I saw Andy Gibb or Shaun Cassidy or even, dare I say it? Frank Sinatra!!!

I asked Anne if it would be okay if I listened to something else on my iPod at the concert or if that would be RUDE!! But really. Can't I listen to "Shadow Dancin" or "Julie Do You Love Me" or whatever Shaun Cassidy sang or "All the Way"? I mean -- you know -- to take me back?

Nah. I'll enjoy it. He's cute (really -- look at him!), talented and Erin LOVES him. She and I will see him together and she'll never forget it.

Neither will I.

Friday, March 13, 2009

This is His Idea

My DSS (Dear Sweet Sam) works with a man named Harry, who has come up with a fool proof method for surviving in this economic environment.

He makes about $75,000 a year. He lives with his girlfriend and her daughter in a condo. He has nasty debt from gambling and a court order making him pay back $25,000 to a women he dated, dumped and never looked back at. But Mr. Judge said, "Pay Back Time". Harry thought, "Bitch."

But Harry has had it. Poor Harry. Struggling to pay off gambling debts and the "bitch" he borrowed money from -- for damn's sake, he had to get a second job! It's too much. And the girlfriend he lives with? She can't hold a job if her life depended on it!!

So what has he decided to do?

Just stop paying his mortgage. It's now barely worth what he bought it for anyway...and well, what the hell. He figures he can save 6 months worth of mortgage payments before the bank repossesses and he can take the money and whittle down his gambling debts -- and hide some money under the girlfriend's name. Then he'll file for bankruptcy, get off the hook, get help from the government and start all over. Never mind those people who honestly, truly need the help.

Makes you want to puke, doesn't it?

Changes, They are a Comin'

I see alot more of this...

and alot more of that in my future.

I wish I didn't love the things I do. They are all bad for me. Bad. I have an unhealthy relationship with food, which goes along with all the other unhealthy relationships I've had.

Dean Ornish wrote that book called "Love and Survival" and he was interviewing a woman like me--overweight, she drank and she smoked. He asked her why she did things things to herself when she knew they would shorten her life. She answered, "What the hell do I care living an extra 10 years when I can't get through tomorrow?"

That my friends, is the rub.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Work = Stress = Eat = High Blood Pressure

Today I went to work after the business meeting nightmare. I had an early meeting with my boss's boss (COO of the ultramegamedical conglomerate) who was very understanding of my battle in the office.

Anyway, as I headed back to the office (after picking up Erin who got sick at school, parking myself in my own bathroom for 20 minutes (antibiotics....), I got to work and immediately started to feel..."off". It's the only way I can describe it. OFF. And then my left arm started to hurt which for any heart attack surviver is like some someone pouring gasoline over your head and approaching you with a lit match. Am I gonna get it? Am I not gonna get it?

So I decided to have my blood pressure taken by one of the nurses. It was a hefty 160/100 on the first run, 158/98 on the second. I took klonopin and within 2 hours, it was down to 131/82 and then a delightful 119/75.

Erin and I went out for a bit where we ran into some credit card disaster. I went to buy milk and my credit card wouldn't work because they had noticed a fishy transaction on it (which turned out they were right) and put a hold on my card. So I got home and fixed that. Then I noticed my cat Mena is missing. I've called her and called her both inside and outside the house. She must have slipped out -- so anyway after looking for her I sat down for awhile and took my BP again. 141/94 first try, 138/92 on the second. 132/82 after deep breathing with my eyes closed, another klonopin, 2 aspirin and a celexa.

Could this be my wake up call? I don't know. I'd love to spend a week at the Duke Health Hospital in North Carolina. Then I thought I could take a week off and do it myself at home. Order food from Seattle Sutton. Gentle workouts everyday. Meet with a dietician. Meditation. A massage or two. And it wouldn't be as expensive as going to The Duke with it's $3000 price tag. But I'm worth it right? Yea, right.

In today's eonomony I'm struggling to pay for my 6 week hair cut and touch up. I just CAN'T give up on that. CAN'T. I'll starve first. Which isn't likely.

So what I'll do....I don't know. I need to take care of myself and I'm not good at it.

But I'll try.

Work = Stress = Eat

Don't get me wrong. I like my job. I feel like a make a difference. 80% of the time, I don't mind getting up and going to work. I think those are pretty good odds.

But there's one thing I don't understand.

When I'm at home, day off, putzing around, I NEVER overeat. Weekends? I'm fine. The second I go to work on Monday, I'm looking for anything to shove into my mouth. I'm not even hungry and I'm searching out something to eat.

It's like a disease.

For example. I work for 4 doctors. One has decided that I am the reason for the stock market crash, her failing marriage, her sick kids, the fact that her husband lost his job, world hunger and paper jams. Ok. Fine. Whatever. But THEN, she had the nerve to pile up on me at a business meeting. She's done it before and both times I held my own (BTW, she double-teamed my boss also) but afterward I threw a Big Mac down my throat faster than you can say "heart attack on a sesame seed bun".

I was so poised in the meeting. No one would have known that I was so angry except my boss, whom I'm predicting might have thrown a Big Mac down his throat too. She told him that she had discussed this "issue" with the other docs, but didn't include him. He's the president of the practice. C'mon. Really. But she did it to get the other 2 physicians on her side, because she knows the president and I are in agreement about the issue she's concerned with. At that is.....she wants us to hire her kids to work in the office over the summer. Hello? Nepotism calling. And as I had to police her daughter last summer ("file? I don't file...") I wasn't looking forward to babysitting both her son and daughter THIS summer.

I was saved however, by the ultramegamedical conglomerate that we merged with last June. No hiring of the kin in the same office. I told her we could get them a job in the company, just not at the office. What the frick is the difference? Well, she didn't like my answer, ladies and gentlemen. So I am the evil one.

She is a pain in the ass, has no understanding of the term "group" practice and has never, ever, given anyone a compliment at the office. She's miserable, self centered, a blow-hard and has told the other physicians that I'm "out to get her."

Please. Me? I've got enough on my damn plate. Besides, I avoid confrontation. I HATE it. But if you corner me, like she did at the meeting, you won't get me to back down. I back down in the privacy of my own car as we whiz through the drive thru.

I know. It's bad. It's not healthy. The only person I'm hurting is myself. I KNOW this. But she pissed me off and well, I ate.

Perhaps I should just accept this and move on, realizing that acknowledgment of your eating disorder is the first step.

uh huh. Ok. Sure. Anybody got the number to Weight Watchers?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Romper Room

I went to Romper Room today and looked through the mirror. I saw Mary and Susie and ... well, they were all younger than me.

BUT....this is a big advantage when it comes to going back to school. Enormous. For nearly the first time in my life, I am not intimidated, I'm not afraid, I'm not concerned. I'll be fine.

I am stunned by all the help college students have now that I never did before. You can download manuscript templates that will format your entire paper, including citations and references. No more index cards with the books and magazines you referenced all written out in longhand. Nope. You push a button here, plug in a term there and WHOOSH --- term paper. It corrects your spelling, grammar. The only thing it cannot do anything about is your brain. I take that back. Before you send in your paper, you can email it to the writing resource center for someone to critique it BEFORE you send it in!! I REFUSE to use it. I refuse on principle. What that principle is, I don't know. But I'm still not using it.

Not only do you submit papers individually, but you also work on teams. My team sent in the rough draft of a paper we were working on to the writing center. It came back in good shape which is fine because I'm not sure I would have taken their advice how to change anything I had written. Maybe I'd do it for the benefit of the group, but for me.....N-O. I'll take my term paper red mark lashings like a man.

Another point....our team of 3 women has one that is....well, her personality is very opinionated, pushy, dominant, Type A. And her Type A came up against my Type B easy going, harmonizer, let's be nice personality. Years ago, I would have backed off of her rather pointed postings, but now? What's she gonna do? Erase me? Ha! I let her have it right back. If there's one thing I can do, it's write like a smart-ass.

And so far, I must be doing something right. My first class? A-. So far in my second class? A. So for those of you returning to school -- go for it. You'll be fine. Trust me. I can see you.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Miss You

I miss blogging! Between suffering the worst bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder I've ever had in my entire life--and kids and work and a social life and school -- well time is short, you know? But there are some things I want to accomplish this year and one of them is blogging again faithfully. I miss it for me.

Since the temperature has risen above 5 degrees and the sun is out semi-regularly and there is the hint of "green acres" in the air, I am feeling much better. Winter just DOES something to me. The holidays DO something to me. My plan, instead of moving to California permanently is to be out there for Christmas. I don't care if it costs me my house, car and kids. I won't go through another winter like I just did. It started after Thanksgiving and took me to -- ummmm.... -- March 1. If I can spend the holidays with my cousins, I think it will help me. We'll see. We'll see if I have a job come December and what a flight to CA costs.

We are all going in July when my little cousin turns a whopping 40. That's all set. Now I just have to keep checking over Christmas. Another winter like this one and I'll never make it to 2010.