Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Jay's going to hate this post, so I should go ahead and apologize to him. Sorry.

We're leaving for Scotland in one week, on 7 March, which is also Jay's birthday. Not very nice of me, huh? But for what it's worth, I didn't pick the dates. And it's going to rain on us the whole time we're on Islay. And we'll find something cool to bring home to him. And next time, he's going, too.

So, that said, we leave for Scotland in one week! We arrive in Edinburgh on the next day (8 March), meet our guide Willie, and load up onto the bus. Then someone will yell, "And their off!" and we'll head toward Tarbert to stay for one night. Along the way, I think we're going to stop at a distillery or two (and so it begins) and Loch Lomond. The guys who organize this tour every 3 years think that the best way to counter jet lag is to get on the new schedule and be busy. Personally, I'd like a little 30-minute nap. Oh well.

The next day, we'll take a ferry over to the Isle of Islay (pronounced eye-la). This is one of the many Meccas for Al, for this is where the peaty whiskies are--Bowmore, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain.

The next day is scheduled for "distillery tours/shopping/golf." I don't think golf will be happening since showers are predicted for the time we are there, and I'm hoping for a little shopping tucked in between all the tours. But I have a sneaky suspicion that "shopping" means shopping at the distillery gift shop.

We're also heading over to the Isle of Jura for a distillery tour. I guess this whisky has gotten better since the first time Al tried it. I seem to remember him and his friends dubbing it the Isle of Urine. But then again, that was the end of a long night of their own whisky tasting party.

We'll spend one more day in Islay to tour a few for distilleries, then we'll head up to Grantown-on-Spey. One the way up there, we'll make some stops at historic places. I don't know what, but I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and post about them.

Grantown-on-Spey is in the Highlands, south of Inverness and is a good base for touring the distilleries in the Speyside area. Our hotel is off the village square, so I'm hoping that if I have to take a day off from distillery tours, I can just walk around the town.

For the next 3 days (13-15) we'll be touring distilleries and a cooperage. Also, on one of those days we're going to tour the place where they make the copper stills for the distilleries. Apparently this is a huge deal because they have never done a tour. No cameras and no recording devices allowed. Cool!

On the 16th we'll head back to Edinburgh. This means we'll only have an afternoon in Edinburgh, which is not nearly enough time in this amazing city. There is a dinner and tasting at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that night, but our flight leaves at 8:00 the next morning, so I don't think it's going to be a late night. Actually, I'm thinking of ditching them and going to the Oxford Bar to pay homage to Inspector Rebus (Ian Rankin's detective who frequents The Ox).

So, that's the plan. 3 nights in Islay and 4 nights in Grantown-on-Spey means that we can actually unpack and settle in a little. But it will be pretty fast and furious during the day, and luckily, everyone seems pretty laid back so they should be a fun group to hang with. But if any bloggers wanna try to get together, maybe we can work that out, too! I think I'll put my yahoo email address on my profile in case we can set something up.

They're going to have to drag me home kicking and screaming, I'm afraid. I may be leaving as Kell, but I'm returning as Warrior Lass! Hmmm. Maybe I should make a t-shirt.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reading, Ranting and Snowblowing

I have a reading dilemma. I got The Club Dumas from the library because Newt really liked it, and she hasn’t steered me wrong yet. Then the library called because the book Restless by William Boyd came in. I put that book on hold months and months ago. I don’t even remember where I heard about it, but I for some reason, at some point, I wanted to read it badly enough to put it on hold. And it does sound very interesting.

Then, while I was furiously trying to finish knitting a shawl I wanted to take to Scotland, I listened to Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Dance of Death, which picks up where Brimstone left off. I didn’t particularly like Brimstone, but I loved Dance of Death. I couldn’t put the disks in fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. So, now I really want to read Book of the Dead, which is the end of Diogenes trilogy. I’ve been reading this series of books (missing a few, but mostly all) since The Relic, so I’m vested in these characters.

That’s 3 books I want to read right now! How will I ever decide? This is a dilemma I can live with, however. Well, it’s easy to decide one because I don’t have Book of the Dead, so unless I get it before the trip, that’s not going to happen. I think I’ll start the other two and see which one pulls me in.


My friend told me about a very disturbing conversation she had with a lady from her church. Seems this lady has something like 6 kids and homeschools because the evil public schools will turn her children into pagan homosexuals. Those are my words and interpretation, BTW, but you’ll see why in a second. So, the ladies are talking about the gossip rags and tabloids, and the homeschooler says, “Oh, I don’t even want to teach my children how to read because they’ll be able to read those newspaper and magazine headlines at the checkout stand.” And she’s serious.

*Staring in disbelief and unable to respond for a second*

*Recovering* Are you f*#$ing kidding me? Hell, why don’t you just lock ‘em in a dark basement and throw bagels and apples to them. That is the worst example of homeschooling I’ve ever heard, and I’m a supporter of homeschooling—when it’s done responsibly through certified and responsible organizations that make sure the kids are actually learning and not staying home because they’re afraid of the class bully (I know some mothers who homeschool because their little ones were afraid of a class bully). But, overall, I know there are some great homeschool programs out there and some great parents doing a great job homeschooling. But this woman is an example of the scary side.

Even my friend, who is the nicest and most gracious Southern Belle you’ll ever meet, told her she was crazy and that was a stupid idea. The woman was nonplussed and repeated her desire.

It’s just scary.


I will not be making a commentary on the Oscars because I am not watching it. I’m so tired of award shows and the constant recognition these celebrities seem to need. Yes, the Oscars are a big deal, and it is one of the few award shows I would normally watch. But I haven’t seen many of the films nominated, and I’m just not as impressed by the glitz as I used to be.

Besides, there’s an episode of Midsomer Murders on tonight that I don't think I've seen. I know this is going to sound a little strange, but MM is my comfort show. Yeah, people die gruesome deaths and there’s a lot of general tom-foolery going on in these little Cotswold-like villages, but it’s on Sunday nights, and that’s when I take my shot. So, I get everything ready, then during the last 30 minutes of the show, I run upstairs during a commercial and take my shot. This way I do it quickly so I can get back to the show to see who did it, even if I already know because it’s a rerun. The nights when it’s not on are very upsetting to me. I should write to the Biography channel and ask them to please not take MM off of Sunday night’s schedule. I’m sure they’d listen to me. Don’t cha think?

Oh, I will, however, be searching the net to see what everyone was wearing to the Oscars ☺


We’ve had glorious weather until Saturday night. Rain turned to sleet then to heavy, wet snow. So, we woke up to this:

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Looks like a good day for a Pajama Day! That snow is so heavy that it stayed on the tree limbs despite 25 mph gusts of wind. Al fired up the snowblower, so our driveway is clear. And the sun came out today, so the driveway is also dry. Now if they’d just plow the street in front of the house . . .

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Catching Up

OK, I had to go out and get some chocolate after all the comments about chocolate, especially Her Indoors mentioning her Cadbury bar. Mmmmmmmm Cadbury.

I have soooooo much to do. My little relapse and the medicine and the recovery took up so much of my time, I had no idea. Plus, I didn't realize that I'm still having some side effects from the Avonex, so I spent Monday achy with no energy and depressed--another day lost.

So, I've been running around like the proverbial chicken with her head cut off the last couple of days and once I finish this, will be starting up again today. Groceries, laundry, hair appointment (very important--gotta keep that gray covered), picking up medications, mailing stuff, checking in our friends who are moving, appointment with the tax guy (definitely getting enough back to pay for the bathroom redo), buying stuff for that bathroom redo, paying bills, reading blogs, writing a post . . . My God! It's never ending! But I'd much rather be busy, so I'm not complaining. Plus, we're 2 weeks away from our Scotland trip

Holy shit! We're 2 weeks away from our Scotland trip! Where's my list of things I gotta do for that? Oh, on the back of my list of things I have to do around here that have nothing to do with the trip. Actually, I'm not stressing about this trip. As long as I get the paper and the mail stopped, I'll be ready. This trip is going to be so easy. Get on the plane, get on the bus, have a dram of whisky, knit, eat some haggis, buy some yarn--easy peasy. Yes, I will be eating haggis. Actually, if you don't think about what it is, it's not so bad, very savory. And I'm looking forward to a couple of full Scottish breakfasts, usually eggs, bacon (not like our bacon--it's not as fatty), sausage, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, potato pancakes, haggis, toast, tea. It's wonderful. I'll do that at least once--ya gotta. Then I'll curb my wants and be a little more reasonable. Maybe I'll cut out the haggis.

Oh well, daydreaming about Scotland will have to wait. I have lots to do today so I better get going. Hope you all have a great day.

Oh! I almost forgot, Newt's friend Ellie has joined the blogging world. Go over and say welcome!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Long Weekend

It was a very nice weekend, after all. The temperatures finally went into the 30s and it was almost balmy. On Sunday, I actually wore a different coat than my parka—quite a treat. I didn’t feel like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man any more.


Say what you want about Hilary Clinton, but I think her stand not to apologize or say she made a mistake with her vote on the war shows a lot of integrity and guts on her part. She said that she made the best decision she could have at the time with the information she had; it’s the administration that made the mistake. And she’s right. All these Democrats who are wanting her to say it was a mistake seem to have forgotten what it was like at that time. Anyone who said anything against Bush was labeled a traitor and un-American. And the public wanted some action so badly, we were willing to believe any “evidence” given to us. She has a rough campaign ahead of her.


We went to a Belgium beer tasting on Sunday at our favorite pub, the Dell. Nine beers! No, I didn’t drink all of the samples because I didn’t want to end up under the table. Those tasting are always a lot of fun. They are talking about wanting to do a trip to Belgium like their trip to Scotland. That would be awesome! Chocolate, beer, waffles, and mussels! Not all at once, maybe.


We also went to a motorcycle show down in Lincoln. They get prizes for their displays, so it’s always an interesting show. There were lots and lots of Harleys and a really cool collection of British bikes. Oh, and the Bat Cycle was there! It was pretty darn cool, even signed by creator George Barris. Unfortunately, we forgot the camera, so I don’t have any pics. Sorry. Plus I don’t have any pics of the old man made up to look like Papa Smurf and his wife dressed up like a Teletubbie. I really wish we had the camera for that. We don’t know why they were dressed up that way, but what the hell.


Since I've been forced to change to new Blogger, I'm going to play around with the layout a little. I think it's time for a change. Plus, I have some cool banners that Newt made for me that I want to use. We'll see how it goes.

Have a great week everyone.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Mumblings

It looks like my friends the Zs really are going to move. I knew they were, but I've been in denial, thinking that maybe something will happen and they'll get to stay. But, next week the packers come, then the movers, then they'll leave for their new assignment on Saturday. One more week. I am used to friends moving, but we've been friends since college and this was the first time we've been stationed together, so it's a little sadder. But he got a great assignment and they are living in a beautiful area of Colorado, so I'm happy for them. Plus, we have a place to stay if we want to go to the Great Beer Festival.


Al is threatening to call me "old girl" while we're in Scotland. I told him it's Warrior Lass. *Sheesh*


I'm doing better on the Winter Weigh Down diet I started now that my emotions have leveled off. For a while there, I almost pulled out because it just wasn't a good time to tell me that I couldn't have something. Plus I was absolutely starving all the time and had the munchies. Damn steroids. So, really it was probably a good thing that I started the diet because it gave me something to obsess about. We'll see how well I do when we're in Scotland and I'm tempted with fish and chips and deep fried Mars bars.


Have you seen all this stuff about "The Secret"? It's been on Oprah twice now and is the big thing in the Yoga places here. Basically, it's the Law of Attraction--the energy you put out comes back to you. It sounds a lot like other self-help theories where you have to believe you are deserving of the things you want and that you visualize then act on what you want. One difference, though, is the importance of gratitude. "Basically, nothing new can come into your life unless you open yourself up to being grateful [for what you already have]." Gratitude leads to forgiveness for those harmful things you are hanging on to, then you can let that stuff go, opening you to achieve what you want. That may be an oversimplification, but that's what I got out of it, any way.

I'm always suspicious of these programs. They seem to say the same thing, just using different catch phrases. I do like, though, their idea that you stop being a victim. And I would agree that the energy you put out is what comes back to you. If you keep walking under a cloud, you'll never know when the light is shining. Hey! I made my own catch phrase. But, I think it's an oversimplification to say that if you accept that you're ready for change and put a positive force ahead of you, then the positive things will come to you. Maybe the movie shows specifically how these people got out of debt, met their soul mate, had a child, and run their own business all in one year, but I find it a little hard to swallow. Maybe that's just my negative energy.


It's a 3-day weekend, so that means Al will have Monday off. And the cold is supposed to break and we're going to be up into the 30s and 40s, so I'm looking forward to a nice weekend.
Hope you guys have one, too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Red Letter Day

I have a cycle to my psyche: restless, apathy, grateful. I’m in the grateful stage right now, which is the stage I like best. It’s a time to count and enjoy my blessings. Some of this feeling may be because I’m finally recovered from the steroids and my emotions are back to an even keel. Al said I went through “’roid rage.” All I know is that unless I am paralyzed and/or passed out from pain, I’m not doing that again.

So, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I made one of Al’s favorite dishes, Beef ‘n Burgundy, and chocolate chip cookies. Al isn’t a big candy guy, but he loves chocolate chip cookies. I had an afternoon in the kitchen and loved just the normalness of it. And during those “restless” cycles when I lament what I haven’t achieved, I need to remember these grateful moments. It’s kind of like that journal I used to keep—I only wrote in it when I was depressed because when everything was great, I didn’t take time to write.

Al is really good at Valentine’s Day. He didn’t used to be (used to call it a Hallmark holiday), but in the last few years, he’s become down right romantic. I get a card every day for a week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and usually those cards have a Dove dark chocolate heart with them. And these aren’t the little multi-pack cards you give other kids at school, they are full-size, Hallmark cards. And he put them in different places around the house to find them—under the laptop, on the bathroom sink, on top of the newspaper. He’s cute, isn’t he?

But that wasn’t all this year. He had a much bigger surprise planned:

Yep. A red iPod Nano. And not only that, he had his pet name for me and my initials engraved on the back, so it says “Sweetness KP.” I was pretty overwhelmed and surprised. I was also doing a happy dance around the kitchen “I have a Nano, I have a Nano.” I didn’t scold him for spending that money because he’s just so proud of himself, and besides I love it and had wanted one for a long time, I just never said anything. Oh, and it’s the red Nano, so it’s part of (Product) Red, a charity for the fight against AIDS in Africa. Pretty cool, huh?

BTW, speaking of Apple, have you seen iPhone? Holy Cow I want one of those! Yeah, I know I’m a bit of a technophobe and I hate cell phones, but it’s just so damn cool.

Anyway, I’m off to buy some more songs on iTunes and download them to my new Nano. I think this “grateful” cycle is going to last a while.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

La la love

Happy Valentines Day

Wrap your arms around you as tight as you possibly can. That's my big ol' bear hug of valentine for all of you.

Give somebody a hug today {{{{{{hughughug}}}}}}}


Good Morning!

It’s 8:30 and the driveway is clear of snow, breakfast has been eaten, papers have been read, and coffee is now being drunk.

Thank you Newt for tagging me on this Book MEME. It was fun and different.

Hardback, trade paperback, or mass-market paperback?
I really like the size of a trade paperback, so I usually do that. And I’m appalled at how much paperbacks cost these days!

Amazon or brick-and-mortar?
Oh, I would be lying if I said I didn’t partake of Amazon’s savings. But I would much rather go to a bookstore than order online. Buying books isn’t just about convenience; it’s an outing.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
No preference, really. I go to the Borders because the Barnes and Noble is at the mall and I don’t want to mess with that traffic. Plus, that store is always packed and I get claustrophobic. The Borders closer to me is newer and not as crowded.

Bookmark or dogear?
Bookmark! I love bookmarks, actually. I’m always buying them when I see something really different. Of course, then I can’t find my bookmark, so I end up putting a receipt or something there as a bookmark.

Alphabetize by author, by title, or random?
Oh alright, alphabetized by author then title. I also organize them by genre: literature, poetry, criticism, fiction, mystery, horror, and everything else. Not every book in the house gets this treatment, but I have a bookcase that is considered “Kell’s Books.” Al has his own, too. Of course, a lot of my books are from college, and I should probably give them away—wait, that’s the next question.

Keep, throw away or sell?
I do give them away when I can stand to. I used to take them to Half-Price Books when I lived near one. I always tell myself I’m going to be brutal and really thin it out, but I usually end up giving away very few.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep it. If I actually buy a hardback, then I want the dust jacket.

Read with the dust jacket or remove it?
I always start out with the dust jacket because I use the inside flap as a bookmark a lot of the time (is that a bad thing? Am I ruining the integrity of the dust cover?). Eventually though, I get tired of fighting it and take it off.

Short story or novel?
Novels. I do enjoy short stories and think it takes a lot of talent to pull off a short story, but I’d rather read a novel.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Collection. It’s always interesting the different stories that one writer can come up with. Anthologies are usually half of people I’ve heard of and like and half that I don’t.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter. I never did read the Snicket books.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
I want to be tired at chapter breaks.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?
I’d probably head to the dark and stormy night more often.

Buy or borrow?
Borrow from the library. I like that I can try out a writer without the financial obligation. I want to buy; I used to buy a lot, then I started knitting and the money got a little diverted.

New or used?
I’m with Newt—either, as long as it’s in good condition and doesn’t smell.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendations or browse?
All three, but book reviews less than the others—I’m talking about the Times reviews and things like that. I like blog reviews. Mom ☺

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Like 'em both, but I want it to follow through.

When do you read: morning, afternoon or night?
I don’t have a particular time, but I tend to read early in the morning or late at night. That’s when the house is really still and I can get lost in the story.

Standalone or series?
Both, but I don’t like getting into a series in the middle if I can help it.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Shepherdess by Joan Jarvis Ellison. It’s a memoir rather than a novel, and I really enjoyed it. But if you’re not into wool and sheep and things like that, you probably wouldn’t like it.

Favorite books read last year?
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Booked to Die (and the others) by John Dunning
The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue
(Hey! Those were on Newt's list!)

Favorite books of all time?
Possession by A.S. Byatt
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Dubliners by James Joyce

Sunday, February 11, 2007

What Works For You

I want so much to be the free-spirited, hair-flying-back-while-driving-the-Jeep kind of woman. That person who can adjust so quickly to whatever life throws at her. The woman for whom life itself is the adventure, so enjoy and go with the flow.

But I’m just not. I need structure. I crave schedules and predictability. I need a sense of control in a world where I have none, and I want to try to achieve some contentment in the world I live in. Not that I’m really sure how to do that, but I need to give it a try.

The last few weeks have been hell. I didn’t know what to expect with this flare up and the steroids, and I should have been better informed. I’m desperate for my sense of normalcy back.

So, I’m thinking out loud here about how I might tweak things in my life to bring in some stability. And maybe along the way I’ll find my bliss, which I have a sneaky suspicion has been right in front of me the whole time.

The hardest thing about staying at home is the sense of “oh that can wait until tomorrow because I’m not doing anything then, either.” I need deadlines, and I have tried in the past to set up a calendar with personal deadlines, but it never worked. Considering the way I overdo lists and organizing things, I think I try to take on too much and schedule too tightly. I still need to set some deadlines, but they need to be realistic. And I need to get over my feelings of embarrassment and uselessness because I stay home.

I do better in the mornings, but I spend too much time with breakfast, the paper, the crossword puzzle, the internet, and other procrastination tools. So, I could get up an hour or more earlier. I’m not going to say I’ll workout every morning because I won’t. But I’m slowly getting back to that routine, too.

The blogs can be a source of stress. I spend too much time reading and too much time toiling over my own posts. I’m going to set a time limit for myself and not feel guilty if I don’t always comment. My blog feels chaotic to me, so I want to try some different ways to post and make it an outlet rather than a dumping ground. Maybe I’ll post first thing in the morning and comment on a current event. Or join in on some of those “list” blogs, like 13 for Thursday. Maybe I need prompts?

I think I’ll see what volunteer opportunities are around. I’ve done volunteering in the past and it hasn’t always been such a great experience. Like anything else, there’s a hierarchy and cliques. I’ve learned that it only works if there’s someone who trains and runs the volunteers and the work is consistent. But maybe getting out of myself would be a good idea.

There are lots of little things that need to be done in the house. Lots of things need to be cleaned out and put in order. That stuff is always there, so I need to tackle things one at a time, either a room at a time or a task at a time.

And I need to turn off the TV.

So, there we are. It’s a start, I guess. Just writing some things down has helped because it seems pretty doable. And after the last few weeks, I really need to be able “to do” again.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Taxing Situation

It used to be that we looked forward to the tax return as some fun money. Let’s go buy something electronic!

Then it became a way to pay off a credit card or pay off something electronic.

Then it became a political issue. We listened to all the blather by the conservative talk show hosts who went on about how stupid Americans were when they actually get a tax return because that means that they didn’t get the money they should have had in the first place. (This was during the Gore/Bush run and conservatives were on a “I work hard and I have earned the things I have, so why be ashamed of hard work and give my money to a liberal big government." Or something like that.) So we all changed our withholdings to increase the pay check, then was disappointed not to have the “free money” feeling of a tax return we could actually do something with.

Then it became something that would help pay off or maybe take us on a weekend trip.

Then we bought a house. And since we’ve been here over a year now, the tax return has become a moment of great anticipation again.

I don’t pretend to understand any of this. I’m blissfully ignorant and guide my reaction by Al’s reaction. But no electronics this time and no other big-ticket fun things like a motorcycle (poor Al). No, we must have hit the deductible because we had our carpenter dude (CD) come give us an estimate to update the master bath. Money from the house goes back into the house.

We had been talking about these changes for awhile, usually in a “I was thinking we would do this” and “Really? I was thinking we would do that.” For a hubby who says “Whatever you wanna do,” he sure has a lot of opinions when it comes to decorating.

This update started simple for me—the nasty strip of glamour globes has to go! That’s it. Take them away and this room will be 100% improved.

But, when those go, the new ones are going to look funny over the flat-slab of a mirror bolted to the wall, so how about putting single mirrors over the sinks, then the lights can be over those. Symmetry! Which of course means we’ll have to paint. Hmmm. Painting is going to spotlight how really nasty this vinyl floor is. We really should change that to tile because it’ll look so much better. Oh, and since we’re down there anyway, and a heated floor system would only be another $250, might as well add that in there. And since the gorgeous floor would look awful with that bright-white tile around the tub, we should just carry that tiling up there. Of course, now that we’ve done that, the white counter top and dated taps scream “What the hell? Did you run out of money? I stick out like a sore thumb here!”

And Ta Da! From changing a light fixture to whole new bathroom!

Al is doing a happy dance with thoughts of warm tippy toes and resale opportunities.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


My hubby sent me an email with the message “A knitting project I can handle.” Eagerly, I open the link to this:

Yes, they’re breasts. This is serious, though! A hospital in Liverpool is using them to teach breast feeding. They are a lot cheaper to make then buying a model, especially since they need something like 50. I think it would be a hoot. Maybe I can find the pattern somewhere.


I’m taking control of the whole diet thing again. I signed up for a Winter Weigh Down sponsored at the base. It’s a competition thing with groups, but our group doesn’t seem to care about that—we just want help loosing weight and getting in better shape.

As is typical of the military, the program that they bought has now gone out of business, but we’re sticking with it. It’s a calorie-counting program, but instead it’s through portion size. So, my sample meal plan has how many servings of things I can have, equating that if I eat the proper portion, I’ll thereby eat the proper calories. So, my plan looks something like:

1 Fruit
2 Breads or Starches
1 Milk or yogurt

Then I go to the Exchange List book, look up the ingredient, say Bread, and pick from this list, which says ¼ of a bagel is 1 serving or 2 slices of reduced-calorie bread, things like that. Then I have to write it down in my food diary because they take those up every 2 weeks and give us points for the good things we do and take points away for the bad.

We also have to keep track of fats; we get 40 grams a day.

It’s all very confusing and overwhelming right now and seems to be a lot more work than I want to do. But I’m stuck and haven’t lost any more weight since before Christmas, so I need a kick in the tush to get going again. And considering how good I felt while I was taking care of myself and how rotten I’ve felt this year while I wasn’t, I definitely need to take some control back.


My mantra now is “I’m feeling better; I’m feeling better; I’m really feeling better.” And I am. I bought groceries and am cleaning the house is spurts. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoy cleaning. Things had just gotten so cluttered, which is usual for my house, but the clutter is hiding things that should have or need to be done, like paying the electric bill. It would be a good idea to pay the electric bill.

There is one side effect that seems to be hanging on, though, the irritability. Spittin’ nails, clinching jaw and fists, and a constant chewing on the inside of my lips kind of irritability. I’m trying to harness it. You know, sit still and breathe for a while, do some stretching exercises, knit, and drink herbal tea. I’m going to OD on chamomile tea! Actually the knitting is soothing because it’s so repetitive and flowing in a nice Zen-kind of way.

But here’s the problem, and this will give you yet another peak into the neurosis of a woman who we already agree should probably be in therapy. The more I try to calm down and clear my mind, the more stuff gets back in there that just upsets me again! And it’s stupid stuff, like hurtful things that some woman said to me 3 years ago. I realized that I was grumbling a response I wish I had said all those years ago as I was vacuuming. Or I’m thinking of something Al said and now it makes me mad and I wish I had said blah, blah, blah, blah, and he tries, but he just doesn’t understand, and nothing I ever do is good enough. Aarrrrrggghh! I know it’s irrational, but the feelings feel real, so it’s hard to just push them aside.

So, I’m going to finish up the cleaning downstairs, pay the bills, make yet another pot of tea, then sit back and enjoy my accomplishments for the day.


BTW, we had maybe an inch of snow yesterday, but there was Al, blowin’ it away with our big-ass 6-speed, 2-reverse speeds snow blower *insert Tim Allen “ARR ARR ARR” grunts here*

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

When I Have To Stay Home

I don't want to. And when I have a lot of things to do, I just want to stay at home and veg.

I spent yesterday trying to be fairly still and sitting upright because I was still lightheaded and feeling just icky (only technical terms from now on). Except for that, I think I’m doing OK. But driving was out of the question, so I was stuck at home. Usually, not such a bad thing, but when you’re getting energy back you haven’t had in weeks, you don’t want to “have” to do anything you don’t want to do. But I decided to give the whole "rest" thing a try.

So, no quilting because I don't trust myself around sharp objects, and not much reading or computer typing because it's still takes more effort than I want to put into it. I can knit, though, because I'm making a simple shawl with one stitch. So, I did that and watched a lot of TV. I know, I have Netflix DVD sitting by the TV (Little Miss Sunshine), but that would have taken concentration. You know, there's not much to watch during the day. I leave it on HGTV or DIY, but some those crafty shows are a little out there. The only things that really stood out were a few commercials:

Eye Drops—The say, “a common side effect is a temporary burning sensation.” What? Oh, no. There is no temporary here. There will be no burning when eye drops are used.

Jon Bon Jovi—It’s for a new Kenneth Cole cologne for men. Jon is leisurely lounging on the floor, while an unplugged version of his song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” plays in the background. I think this is the third outing for this song--one for Bon Jovi, one for the duet with Sugarland, and now this one. That’s a whole new type of recycling.

Cox Cable—The ad starts with a beautiful sunrise while the voice over talks about the rise of wonderful technology. Ain’t metaphors grand? Then the voice starts to talk about how great it will be with watching everything in HD, watching any time they want, even watching TV on their cellular phones. What? Wait. There are already enough idiots driving while talking on these tools of the devil, and now they can watch TV while driving? Can’t they just use Tivo and watch it later? Sometimes progress isn’t so good.

Dog Food—I love this ad. All the adorable dogs, with their ages and names flashing while they smile in the arms of their happy owners. Every dog is cute. I want a dog.

Birth Control—All this reminded me of an oldie but a goodie. Years ago, there was a commercial with a nice homemaker, her long blond hair wrapped up in a bun, standing in a nursery, her hand oh-so-casually resting on the back of a chair so that her big ol’ diamond rings can prove she’s married and not a fallen woman, and her husband is puttering around behind her. She looks at the camera and says, “After the baby, I didn’t want to go back on the pill.” No shit! It didn’t work too well for ya the fist time, did it? I think that was a diaphragm ad. And it was racy back then!

The other thing I did yesterday was sign on to an MS message board to ask if what I was going through with these steroids was normal. I don't usually lurk around those too much because there's so much horror, but the tone had changed a little since the last time I was there. I got replies instantly telling me to hang in there because I'm going to feel rotten, but it will be worth it. Seems there's this whole "You have to feel worse before you feel better" program with this course of steroids. That's the dumbest thing. You're going to feel better, but first you are going to be as miserable as these tiny tiny little tablets can make you. Hell, anything is better after that.

OK, enough of that. I'm getting the hell out of this house today. It's snowing, so maybe I'll take a little walk. Or go to the library and get some books on CD. Just anything.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Musings

About a month from now, I will be winging my way to Scotland. I told myself I would wait to start a countdown when it was actually a month (7 Feb), but I’m just so damn excited! I’m trying not to practice pack and peak too soon. But I’ll have to think about it because shoes are such a major issue; ya gotta balance walkability with fashion. It’s not so easy. I have the knitting under control—I’m not taking everything. But I have to take something to work on and some easy patterns for when I fall in love with some gorgeous wool and just have to knit something. Hats for everyone!

And I, of course, reminded Al that he can buy as much scotch as he wants. He just has to remember we’re going to Italy in May, and how much he spends on whisky is how much I’m going to spend on shoes and/or purses. Fair is fair.

We’ll be there a couple of weeks, then my brother, Jay, will have to post something like:

Many of you have asked what has happened to Kell and why haven’t we heard from her. Well, she went primal. She threw on a tartan kilt and started calling herself “Warrior Lass” and was last seen running deep into the Highlands, clutching size 11 bamboo knitting needles in her hands and with strands of yarn mixed in her hair.

It could happen.


I had my 6-month follow-up mammogram today. Six months ago I had my first one and since they didn’t have anything to compare it to and noticed some kind of A-typical doohickey, that the doc was 98% sure was just a think spot, wanted to look again in 6 months because if it was something that would grow, it would in that time. No growing. We will have no growing. My breast is fine, thank you.

But you know what really sucks? I have to do it again in 6 months! Both of them this time because it will get me back on a yearly schedule.

But I’ll think of that tomorrow (said with hand draped palm up over my forehead).


I drove the truck today. That’s always an adventure. It was pretty fun, actually. Al had it tuned to a Classic Country station, which is really surprising. Usually, there’s nothing but Classic Rock in his car. But I just can’t stand to have on a Classic Rock station. At some point, during some night as I slept, a transmitter was beamed into my head so that some powerful being would know when I was in the car, listening to a Classic Rock station and would play nothing but “Sweet Home Alabama,” Rush, and the longest Led Zeppelin songs recorded. Every. Damn. Time. I don’t really have MS; it’s not a lesion, it’s a transmitter in my brain!

So, Classic Country was a nice change. Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Waylon, Willie. Not bad.


And for your quik MS lesson for today, I’m going to try to type this without corrections because it is craking me upthe way my brain is jumping round and I’m leaving stuff out and mispelling words. Especially course the word sthat Microsoft usally corrects for me. There are cognitive MS symptoms but I’m thinking this is steroids my brain is kind of jumpi, jumpy. It is getting better though. I always type post in Word becasue I am a horrible speller. Now it's more important to do that.

I'm half way through sterod course now and am only taking 1 four times a day instead of 2 four time a day. the steroid or the combination of those and the other thoughsand pills I am taking are messing with my taste buds. Milk and many things taste sour. And I love mild. But chocolate and salt still tast good.

Whew! OK, that's enough. Back to Word! You wouldn't believe how long it takes me to do this. I have to read several times because some words just don't compute completely. But it's worth it in the end. I hope, anyway.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Minneapolis, Motorcycles, and Mucho Fun

I know the weekend isn’t over yet, but it’s been so wonderful that I had to go ahead and talk about it now! We still have a Super Bowl party to go to, but that’s nothing compared to the fun I had yesterday.

We and 40 other crazy motorcycle riders boarded the bus to Minneapolis Motorcycle Show at 6:00 in the morning. It was so cold there was ice on the inside of the windows, but we were warm. Especially since I brought a blanket, which someone offered me $20 bucks for. Hahaha. No, my blankie.

After 2 stops and 6 ½ hours we were standing in the Convention Center, eating a corn dog and waiting to meet Newt of Newt’s Muse. I was so excited, and a little nervous, too, I’ll admit. I knew she was going to be as wonderful as her blog, but I hoped I wasn’t a disappointment. I really have to work on that confidence thing. Anyway, I knew her immediately.

You know how some people get all worked up about communicating online and how dangerous it can be because you never know if the person you’ll meet is like the person you read? Well, some people to need to chill out. Newt is exactly like her blog: beautiful, funny, colorful, warm, and full of love and energy.

And she is such a good sport. There aren’t many people who would come down to a motorcycle show in 2-degree weather to meet someone she’s only talked to through comments and emails. A show that was overwhelmingly overstimulating, to boot, with it’s blazing lights, shiny chrome, ear-piercing music, and the deafening roar of 3 motorcycles riding around in a giant round gerbil cage and just next door to that, others jumping off a ramp to do stunts in the air. Lordy! It was exhausting. But we followed Al around and talked about different things, when we could hear each other over the din, and watched Al sit a on a few bikes, trying on boots and helmets—he had such a good time. And the leather! There was lots of leather. Al found a leather thong for me, but I nixed that idea. I would wear the tank top with the flames on it, but a leather thong? That’s just not right.

After walking the whole show, we finally found tables and chairs, so Newt and I sat and chatted while Al went around again. Did I mention he had a good time? And he was having a terrible allergy attack, so it must have been fun; otherwise he wouldn’t have gone around again.

Did I mention that Newt is wonderful? And what a good time I had? And how cool it was to go up to a place I’ve never been, meet someone new, and just feel so good that your instinct were right on this time. I’m the kind of person who makes plans for things, then dreads it and stresses out, hoping I don’t end up saying or doing something really stupid, then when I get back, going over the whole event, trying to decide if I was OK. Did I babble to much? Was I boring? I’ll tell ya, with all those colors and lights of the show, and all the leather, and Newt’s natural bubbliness, I was feeling pretty plain vanilla. But I know that’s just me, so I didn’t let it bother me. Too much.

But I wasn’t stressed about this trip and I wasn’t dreading it; I was excited about it. And it turned out great. And I told her she should come down to Omaha, it’s an easy drive. And my hubby did the sweetest thing, he said, “Yeah, y’all come down any time. You’re welcome any time.” I just gave him a big hug before we got back on the bus because he’s usually so quite and reserve and doesn’t “warm up” very quickly. And he has no idea whose blogs I read because he doesn’t read any of them. Even mine!

So, all too soon it was time to head home. The bus was warm and movies were on. We watched Long Way Round, which is Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s trip around the world on BMW motorcycles. That’s a great documentary, by the way. They had some amazing adventures.

We’re back home, being heathens and sleeping in late, drinking coffee, and Al is blowing his nose, poor dear, because he’s still having allergy problems. And we’re talking about going back to Minnesota because we’d really like to see more of it from the outside of a bus. And there are a lot of bookstores, coffee shops, and yarn shops in Minneapolis/St. Paul. There's still a lot of fun to be had.

Oh, BTW. Have ya noticed that the steroids have kicked in? Yeah. Little hyper :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Little Bits

The editorial page has lost its sense of humor; Molly Ivins has passed away. Ivins was unapologetic about being a liberal,
"Even I felt sorry for Richard Nixon when he left; there's nothing you can do about being born liberal -- fish gotta swim and hearts gotta bleed,"

No one escaped her right-on wit. She was a force for free speech and free thinking and she'll be missed.

NPR has a good page on Ivins, with some of her editorials and interviews.


The last *sniff* Harry Potter book will be out July 21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will answer all those questions we've wanted answered for these last, what has it been, almost 10 years? Of course it won't answer the most pressing question I have, "How the hell can all that creativity be in one person and why didn't I think of it?" The next movie (Order of the Phoenix) comes out July 13. It's going to be a summer of Potter. Cool!

Speaking of Potter, the publicity photos of Daniel Radcliffe for Equus have been released, and he's nekked! Granted, considering the play, this makes sense, but it's still a little odd. Boy, has he grown. You can see pics just about every where, but has some good quality photos, including this one, this one, and this one


I have until June 17 to fly to NY and go to the "Radical lace & Subversive Knitting" exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design. You can read a review here--a review written by a knitter, not an art columnist. There's an exhibit on knitting done for charities that has a table with instructions and some projects already started for people to sit and knit. One of the ladies there was Naomi Dagen Bloom, who has a blog, is a well known knitter and brought a pamphlet about HIV in women over 60 and instructions for knitting a condum amulet. How cool is she?

Well, off to run errands before we head out to the Home and Garden Show. Guess it'll be another $4 hot dog for dinner again.