Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Long, Long Post

Today was unbelievably special for me. Almost serendipitously, I was given a pass to the LPGA by a coworker who knew I wanted one. Thanks Jen; you made my weekend.

I wasn't going to attend. The twenty-dollar fee seems reasonable, until you realize that I probably could not stay for more than one hour. But two lovely occurrences came together Sunday: Jen and Calli wanted me along, and GolferGirl was manning a booth in the exhibition tent. It was a wonderful, long, long day!

After church and some very successful "dog whispering" with Ellie, a quick change into denim skirt and comfortable clogs, I hopped in the Tracker and roared off to the Corning Country Club for the Corning Classic. While in the queue waiting for parking, I called Jen and Calli, and Kris. My two younger buddies were just making breakfast, but Kris was manning the First Tee exhibit. I could visit with her, then tour with them when they arrived.

First snag hit immediately: no handicapped parking. In fact, all parking was full. No parking, no classic for me; I turned the car for home. The attendant looked stricken and radioed, and then stepped in front of the Tracker! They would find parking for me. It took some walking, but I was given a spot not so very far from the HP section. Briefly, I wished I had my walking stick, but how would I manage the camera? That would not have been a problem, as I later learned.

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GolferGirl coaches some budding duffers.

GolferGirl was inside a slightly warm tent, instructing people, especially children, with our Stick to Golf equipment. Actually, it was a lot of fun. There were chairs, and I became a pretty good shill when no one else was putting or pitching. We ate cheese from the Kraft/Polly-O booth.

The tent and the snacks probably kept me at the classic twice as long as I had hoped. I could venture out to visit the Classic and take pictures, and return to escape the sun and heat.
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LPGA crowds are peaceful and orderly.

Well, no. On my second trip to watch the action, I was snapping pictures of the leaderboard when an electric sign informed me that pictures were verboten. At that moment a hand touched my shoulder. A very pleasant, sweet volunteer informed me I wasn't to take pictures if I were not properly credentialed. My press pass did not qualify. I sheepishly pointed to the sign and told him I knew. Couldn't resist though: Hey, what about my blog? Doesn't that qualify? He snorted, then giggled with me. We both said "Thank You" at the same time and parted, still laughing.

Eventually Kris packed up the exhibit and we were joined by Joe Sindelar, creator of the Stick to Golf system. Together we started at the 13th tee, to watch Mhairi McKay, their current favorite. I watched two holes and decided discretion was the better part of MS management. It was a long, difficult walk back to the car, but a pleasant, air-conditioned drive home.
All told: A little sunshine, beautiful scenery, highly accessible athletes, and a friendly, peaceful crowd made for a perfect day. Never needed the inhaler at all; no sunburn and no accidents, if you know what I mean. All perfectly paced out, with no overcrowding or rowdiness. Loved every minute.

I'm convinced that golfing could be a perfect pasttime for MSers. There are even accomodations for disabilities, complete with special golfcarts that allow sitting while putting. We will investigate these possibilities eventually. In the meantime, golf is slowly entering my psyche, gradually becoming an enthusiasm, totally accessible.

And the Elmira/Corning New York area is an excellent place to start.
Little Pond

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bubba and Ellie began their weekend Friday. Actually, every day is part of a long weekend for these buddies. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Love the Title!

These people are looking for readers. I've scanned the sample here on burnout. Looks sensible to me.

I don't usually address caretakers, since I like to emphasize self-reliance for as long as, and whenever, possible. But there is very little BS in that chapter or this one. The website is here.

Since the cover spoke to me, I was interested, if briefly. No one else has my MS; no one else has your MS. No one else has my family or lifestyle or unique (for better or worse) body.

If it catches my eye, I scan it. If I like it, I read it. If I love it, I incorporate it. I'm pretty selfish that way. Seems to me, if you are going to overcome the damage MS does to your life, you should be too. The fact that this book is aimed at caretakers should not stop the MSer from reading it. You are probably your own best caretaker, and could use the information. Enough said.

More Whispering with Ellie today. Some jerk in a UPS truck revved his engine at us just as we were passing, and set us back a bit. So we need to work on remaining calm and assertive, even around morons.

Trackers' at Goodyear again, for the remaining body work. Cautious optimism is the order of the day. Glad to have my little HuggaMutt to keep me company.

And glad to have GruntDoc, steering me to this week's Grand Rounds. Courtesy of .Parallel Universes. And, no, I haven't touched them yet. Whispering keeps me busy, and resting up for another night in Paradise takes up the remainder of my dayside.

Run the vacuum and down for a nap. What a waste of a perfect midday!

Little Pond

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Boy, Was I Wrong!

About the transition at the paper. My initial gut reaction was right. And I was suckered by our little meeting with the consolidation coordinators. The changeover is causing so very many problems that aren't addressed, except by us workers trying to put out a paper. We miss deadline nearly every night, and it is specifically due to complications of the changeover.

We are so totally overloaded, people are quitting (or actively job-seeking) all around. Leaving us short-handed at this awful time. The rest of us are rapidly getting sick. Literally. Something that looks suspiciously like a mild flu is going around. We have one pregnant lady who has worked overtime every single night that I have, God help her. My immediate superiors are drinking even more than usual. The salaried night people are working 60-hour weeks, 10- and 12- hour days.

None of these problems touch the day staff. Because they are not publishing. We are. The new systems make it impossible for them to find their errors. They only prevent publication, and we must correct them. And their disconnection protects them--and imperils us.

Personally, I expect to be disciplined shortly over an advertising error (a good-sized one). Policy dictates I could lose my job. And our publisher usually reacts to such advertising errors with "Off with whoever's head!" He wouldn't know me from Eve, literally. After the earlier problem, I sent him an email, detailing what we could do to prevent further problems, and he sent me the most condescending, clueless, return email, it made me think of the pointy-haired manager in Dilbert. This current error would not have happened with my suggestions in place. They are not "suggestions" at all: they are proven policies that have been discarded by our higher ups. They were policies that made us an award-winning paper for advertising accuracy and quality control. Not coincidentally, those policies allowed the dayside people to oversee and correct the very problem that occurred.

So why is this posted to the MSCompanion? Because my health is suffering. I am so sick, my feet feel squishy and wet, both hot and cold, with pinpricks, no less. The electrical charge feeling (I forget what it is called), is just plain all over my body. The numbness is in my face, my left ear is deafer, and the tremors! Are they the nerve damage? Or just nerves?

Guess that's the way of the world. I just emailed my coworker about another thing that didn't get done last night, while we were struggling with equipment and software failure. It involves the same advertising client as before, for all the same reasons. The same disaster, waiting to happen again. Can't wait to see the Sunday paper.

Little Pond

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

This is not a luxury

Jeff came by today and cleaned the ductwork. We do this at least once every year. It's supposed to be good for the heating system, and I guess it would. But the most important benefit is that much less dust in the system.

Think of it this way: even though the dryer has a lint filter, we still need to clean the exhaust duct. You know, one of those flexible, coiled tubes that comes out from the back of the dryer, goes up the wall and outside. We have a pretty good filter that we clean each and every load. But a couple times a year, I take down the duct and compress it, while running a vacuum hose right near my face. And each and every time, the thing is so full of lint, it comes out in clumps.

When we first began hiring Jeff's Heating Service, he arrived with a huge vacuum bag that subsequently filled with crud, more crud, and (Ye Gods!) dead bats. Now, years later, he doesn't use the bag, and what's vented is barely visible, let alone polluting. And this is a house with three full-time cats, a part-time dog, and two smokers (one full-time, one occasional) every day. This is a 20-hour household; there is someone awake and busy in the place at least 20 hours out of every 24.

Of course, I know what would be good to eliminate; but I am crazy about all of the above polluters, if not their pollution. So very heavy air filters and regular duct cleaning is as good as it gets around here. The asthma's a relative Johnny-Come-Lately to the mix. I put up with all the polluters the same way I put up with Dee-Dee on my lap while blogging: eventually, I blow up and out they all go for a while. I can be scary. Or at least I can be quite a nag.

But the duct-cleaning is a nice gift to me. Now, I just wish I could find and justify the cash needed to have the windows professionally cleaned!

Little Pond

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Asthma's Back

With all the painful spasms in my lungs. Only now I have just the Flonase and Albuterol to fight it. Guess it's back to the doctor for something new?

I don't dare use the Advair, but now I'm gunshy over anything else. I wish there were some sort of super allergy medicine to fight the things that trigger it.

Little Pond

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Alternative to shopping?

Ever go shopping in your own closet? I've been doing that this year. I have so many "nice" things that I don't wear, because they don't fit or are the wrong color. Larger clothes are sent to Caterina Ruggiero for alterations, done quickly, well, and cheaply. Smaller (sigh...) are sent to the recycling center for charity; raggy ones go to trash.

I've always been one to dye my clothes, either to change the color or to give a color new life. But now, I own lots of shoes that I don't wear. Too many in brown, black and bone. But they fit well and I would simply replace them in another color. For about $25, I take them to Limoncelli, Lord of the Leather. Heehee, sounds like SM, but not (that I know!). I will soon have a royal blue and an emerald green pair, all fully refurbished with new heels, etc.

Saves me some very tiring shopping. Not to mention the breaking-in period. Sort of empowering.

Got tons of purses, same problem.

I'll keep you posted.

Little Pond

Thursday, May 04, 2006

To Sum It Up

Yes, I had a lovely time with my sister. BabySister and I have more and more fun together as we age. We are clearly soul-sisters in every sense of the word, and have so much in common that even the distance (some 350 miles) cannot entirely separate us.

Our bodies have remarkably similar experiences, too. So much so that, to my eternal distress, BabySister now watches anxiously for any signs of MS in her own golden, beautifully toned body. And I cannot assure her othewise. In fact, I expect she has as much chance of being an MSer as do my precious daughters. More and more I recognize behaviors exhibited by our Grammy Jo, now dead for well over forty years. Weak ankles, easy tiring, and the holding back from activity that I always attributed to her gentility now seems nefarious harbingers of the condition that controls my own nervous system.

But BabySister is still quite young, and every advance lessens the horror of the disease. And that's exactly the hope I hold for my daughters.

Besides, the
largest problem I had this week was due to asthma. Same for her. After the spell I was wobbly, and that was MS, attributable to nerves. We exited the place and sought refuge in Stuffed Chili Peppers and Guacamole Salad. Worked, too! Followed it with another hour of outlet shopping and the ride home.

I dedicate the next few days to cleaning my house and resting my bones. And there's Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, waiting for my critique.

It's been a great vacation.

I've checked my link to the Little Pond, and I sound so depressed and worn out. Hah! What a difference a day or two makes!

Little Pond