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Archive for January, 2011

More Snow? No!!!

After having a brief reprieve for a couple of days of above-freezing temperatures, thus enabling some of the snow to melt, they’re calling for another onslaught today and tomorrow.  Of course they are!  It’s winter, and the midwest must be punished!  And the icing on the cake is that my appointment for a tooth extraction and oral surgery is Tuesday morning and I have no idea whether or not I’ll be able to make it up the driveway to get there, what with the freezing sleet and all.   But hey!  I don’t want to sink into a snow funk.

No, I thought I’d focus instead, on the “lighter” side of snow by sharing some funny snow shots sent to me by my friend Francie.

For example, here’s a guy making the best of a cold situation.  Pretty cute!

And, there ARE good uses for snow…

Personally, I really like the creativity of this next one.  It’s cool how just two pairs of sunglasses gave this snow personality.

Snow or not, the weekly poker game must go on.

And of course, drinking too much of that beer can only lead to one thing…

So see?  Snow isn’t always a bad thing!   Of course, I might need you to come back and remind me of that tomorrow if I end up shoveling! I have a feeling it won’t be nearly so charming and funny then!

And hey!  Be careful out there!

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My Weather Moods

As I’m writing this, I can just feel a bad “weather mood” trying to sneak up on me.  I don’t even have to go outside to know.  There is blinding sunlight illuminating my entire  living room, to the point where I almost need sunglasses inside.  If one didn’t know better, one would assume that it’s like Miami Beach outside.  But it isn’t.  It’s 20 frigid degrees! And the reason things are so bright is that the sun is being reflected off all the snow covering the ground.  I hate days like this.  It’s as if the sun is mocking me.  When it’s this cold, I want the sky to match. Give me some clouds.  Give me some overcast.  Don’t try to blind me with your fake “summer lighting.”  It’s just not right.

I don’t know if weather affects everyone like this or not.  But I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t weather-sensitive.  I don’t mean I get crazy or lose my mind or anything, but I AM always affected by conditions outside, whatever they may be.

It’s like a few weeks ago when I was doing a long list of errands.  I was walking through the parking lot on my way into the grocery store and the temperature was in the teens.  It was dark and gloomy and a light sleet was coming down.  Now if that were all, I would have said, “Okay, it’s winter.  What do you expect?”  But right then, to add insult to injury, gale-force winds began to blow, making my hair stand on end and slapping that sleet right into my face!  I recall yelling something like, “Oh, come ON!” as I rushed into the store.  Weather is like that, you know.  It can can get nasty…on purpose.

But it’s not just a case of whether or it’s sunny or raining or snowing.  It’s the whole atmosphere that’s created that can get under my skin or conversely, make my day.  Give me a day when it’s warm and balmy, with hardly a breeze and a big blue sky with giant puffy white clouds and I’m in heaven.  Days like that give me such a sense of well-being.  On the other hand, days like today, with that glaring sun beating down on the snow, well, they just piss me off.

I have a close friend, Rose, who loves gloomy days when the skies are overcast and it’s raining or at least threatening to rain.  She says they make her want to hide away and cuddle up with a book and a warm drink.  I can totally understand that.  I like moody days like that, too, especially in the Fall with the sound of geese honking overhead.

Weather provides the backdrop to our lives and, as such, should know its place.  The sun should learn how to share the sky with the clouds and stop being such a show-off.  The wind should be kept on a very short leash and learn to curb its destructive tendencies.  Snow should learn just when to quit. (After awhile, Snow, you stop being pretty and just start looking cheap and dirty!) And rain, although welcome, should never overstay its visit.

It would be so nice if the elements would cooperate with me, but alas, I know it’s not to be.  They’ll just continue to mold me to their will.  I’m the one who will always have to yield.  And with that said, you’ll have to excuse me.  I’m going to go close the damned blinds before I get sunburned!

 

 

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This year of 2011 already seems to be shaping up to be very similar to 2010 in terms of me living a normal happy life.  And that’s certainly not a good thing.

In 2010 I was struck with the dreaded double vision which I mistakenly thought could be cured with a simple visit to the ophthalmologist.  Oh how naive I was!

From July to the end of the year, I was batted around like a ping-pong ball from ophthalmologist to internist to endocrinologist and finally occuloplastic surgeon.  I was drained of tons of blood, had to ingest radioactive gunk for tests, and had two MRIs in a row and underwent a course of steroids, which put my body through hell.  I was treated for Graves’ Disease, which is now under control.  But the double vision?  Still there.  It seems that Graves’ Eye disease has its own agenda.  The surgeon says he can cure it with surgery but only after the disease has run its course. So, what does this mean?  It means I have to suck it up, live with it and WAIT…

Then this year my Big Mama molar loses its filling and has to go.  But because it is part of a bridge with other teeth, it will not be simple.  Of course not!  This is ME, Fate’s soccer ball.  First the dentist recommends two dental implants and a permanent bridge, to the tune of $9,000.

Then last week the periodontist, who would do the implants, doesn’t think there’s enough bone in the right place and suggests a mini-implant and an upper partial (not to be confused with dentures.)

The next day the dentist calls again and says she thinks between the two of them they’ve figured out a way to do the implants with one in a different spot. (Suddenly I’m getting the ping-pong ball feeling again.) So what’s the bottom line?  I have to WAIT until the periodontist pulls the tooth and removes the old bridge and at that moment she’ll decide which way to go.

Of course first I have to WAIT for my appointment, which is next Tuesday.  Then, if they go ahead with the two implants I’ll have to WAIT three months after they’re inserted before teeth can be permanently attached.  Good grief, we’re talking May here!  Are you seeing a pattern?

My whole life seems to be in Limbo.  I’m a person who likes to get things done, make things happen.  And here I am stuck in this wasteland, helpless to do anything to help myself.  I hate it so much!  I just want to be normal again and it appears that’s not going to happen for a long, long time. When I’m out among people, I never quite feel like my old self.  I’m too busy compensating for my vision.  And when I’m home, I sometimes I feel so very alone.  Who cares that everything in my world is double?  I mean, really!  Who cares except me?

I know the teeth thing is a procedure lots of people go through and waiting is a part of it.  And I know I can survive it even though my mouth won’t exactly be comfortable and I have no idea how it will affect chewing.

But then, there’s still my vision problem.  Just how long will it take for the disease to “run its course?” Six months?  Six years?  The doctor can’t tell me.  Funny, he doesn’t seem too upset by it.  But then he wouldn’t be, would he?  He can see fine.

The thing about living in Limbo is…we never get a day off.

 

 

 

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There’s just something about a small child who sings with gusto that touches my heart.  And in the past week, I’ve come across two examples that are particularly cute.  This first one is a toddler boy with his mom and dad singing “God Will Take Care of You.”  He starts out a bit shyly, but toward the middle he picks up steam and is absolutely adorable.  See what you think.

The second video is of a single father, Jorge Narvaez  and his six-year-old daughter, Alexa whom I saw last week on the “Ellen” show.   They’ve had over 3.5 million hits on You-Tube.  Not only are they good, but it’s also a sweet song.

Did they bring a smile to your face?  Which is your favorite?  I really can’t pick.  I just wanted to share them with you.

Till next time,

 

 

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According to the U.K. Telegraph, a Japanese scientist, Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University, claims he has a reasonable chance of cloning the woolly mammoth, a species that became extinct more than 5,000 years ago.

He intends on using a technique from 2008, in which a mouse was cloned from mouse cells which had been frozen for sixteen years.  He expects to use mammoth tissue remnants found in Siberia’s permafrost.  If he can find a working sample of at least three square centimeters, he’ll insert the nuclei of the frozen mammoth cells into the eggs cells of an African elephant.  Then, following a 600 day gestation period, bingo!  He’ll have a woolly mammoth!

Of course, what he’ll do with it then, is anybody’s guess, since it will be 13.1 feet tall and weigh nearly 8 tons.  I know some people have trouble with the idea of cloning, but I’ve always found the concept fascinating.  If Dr. Iritani is successful, he’ll be giving us a real live glimpse of a piece of history we could have never hoped to see with our own eyes.  If a mammoth is possible, could dinosaurs be far behind?  Jurassic Park, anyone?  Woo-hoo!

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On Monday, a paper out of St. Louis reported that mail was found scattered along 65 miles of St. Louis area interstate highways after falling out of a contractor’s truck on its way to Tennessee.  Once the driver realized that his rear door was open, he contacted the Missouri Highway Patrol, which reported that all mail and boxes were retrieved by late morning.  Now I don’t know about you, but stories like this make me feel very uneasy.  To me, the mail is sacred, for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which is privacy.  And let’s face it.  The odds that the Highway Patrol retrieved every single piece of mail are pretty slim.  Think of how far 65 miles is.  Now imagine envelopes blowing out all the way.  Surely not all of them stayed by the roadside.  And what if people behind the truck saw this and stopped to pick some up?  It would be a great way for criminals to gather credit card numbers.  And what about the boxes?  Do you want something you ordered bouncing down the road?  No, I don’t like it.  And if I mailed something out of St. Louis or that I thought went through St. Louis, I’d be pretty nervous.

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Also on Monday there was another story about a chimp that bit off the fingers of a zookeeper in Nebraska.  This came right after we had an incident here in Kansas City where a pet ferret ate all the fingers except part of a pinky and the two thumbs of a four-month old baby.  It also reminds me of that story last year in which a pet chimp ripped a woman’s face off, leaving her with no eyes, eyelids, mouth or nose.  You know, when I was a little girl I used to think it would be so neat to have a chimp as a pet.  Not now!  Could this be why I have no pets?

On  the court shows I can’t tell you the number of cases where a pit bull just suddenly “snapped” and harmed a child or a neighbor.  And the owners always say the same thing, “He’s such a loving, gentle pet that I let my toddler play with him.”  To which Judge Judy always replies, “Then you’re an IDIOT!”  Seriously though, I’m hearing more and  more stories of animals turning against their masters.  I mean, they ARE animals first, pets second.

It’s sort of like a movie-of-the-week where, little by little, all of the animals in the world start turning against humans and before you know it, they have an army and it becomes Us versus Them.  I can see it now.  Tom Selleck will play the scientist who will develop a sound wave which only the animals can hear which will kill them and make the world safe once again for humanity. (And then everyone will have to have bugs as pets.)

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And finally, did you see the dress that January Jones wore to the Golden Globes award ceremony?

Come on!  Seriously?  I really don’t know why she bothered to wear clothes at all, since she left so little to the imagination!  Whoever said that she wore “two red Band-Aids over her hoo-haws” came pretty close to summing it up.  I’m really not a prude.  I just think I’d choose the classy route rather than go for the stripper look.  But then, that’s just me.   Meow!

Meanwhile, have a good day (and keep your clothes on, at least when you’re on national television!)

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My Share Of Snow

This is what greeted me when I opened my front door Thursday morning!  To give you some perspective, those solar lights usually hang on stakes which are a little over a foot high.  Also, they’ve never before had cone heads! I was fascinated by the image.

Many mornings when I need to make my way through snow to get the paper, I use a broom to kind of “sweep” the snow to one side.  Not yesterday.  Oh, I tried, but it was so deep and heavy that it didn’t budge a bit.  Fortunately, for the first time this entire year, my paper man actually must have thrown the paper with some spirit because it had skittered down my hill and was only a few steps away.  Nonetheless, just wading out to get it felt like sloshing through deep water.

Actually, not long ago I spoke about how lucky we’ve been compared to the East coast, snow-wise.  This was only our second big snowfall, but it was a doozy!  Naturally all the schools closed, as they have been more often than not since Christmas. I felt lucky that I didn’t have to go out.

I ate a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and toast, anticipating the shoveling ordeal to come. After reading the paper, I put on my boots, mittens, EarPops and parka and, looking a bit like the Michelin Man, tramped down the basement stairs to head out to the garage.  And that’s when a miracle occurred.  When the garage door rose, I was astonished to see that my driveway had been plowed! OMG!  Usually our maintenance people plow the big main driveway but not our individual drives which feed into it.  Well, that good deed along with the paper man making an effort was almost more than my poor old heart could take!  What next?  Tom Selleck in my bed?

Anyway, now that we’ve had our token “big snow” I’m totally ready to move on into Spring.  Unfortunately, they’re talking about more Sunday and Monday.  The snow’s a hassle.  The ice is downright scary.  And this year it seems it has been colder than usual, so I’m already sick of winter.  And I have the perfect picture to illustrate it, courtesy of Michelle who, knowing my propensity for collecting snowmen, posted one in her blog yesterday just for me.

Doesn’t this really sum up how winter makes us feel?  Or is it just me?

 

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I finally finished all but one of those ten movies I bought at Christmastime.  I’ve already reviewed five of them, but have three more I’d like to mention with mini reviews.

I was alone in the Blockbuster Video store, except for one female employee, when I was picking these out.  We got to talking and when she saw that I had picked out “Paranormal Activity,” she told me that, if I liked to be scared, I would be much happier with “The Fourth Kind.”  Since she had seen both, I took her advice.  Just so you know…

The Fourth Kind – For those of you not into aliens like I am, the fourth kind of alien encounter is abduction.  Anyway, the deal on this movie, or the shtick, I can’t figure out which, is that it is based on true case studies of psychologist Dr. Abigail Tyler.  She investigated the phenomenon of people who have been vanishing from Alaska since the 1960’s.  To add to the authenticity, the movie often features actual archival footage taken by Dr. Tyler alongside of dramatic re-enactments.

The Blockbuster girl told me the movie scared her to death.  It didn’t me.  It just kind of creeped me out and not in a good way.  There’s not much story, but there’s a lot of screaming.  A body did levitate in the “real” footage and the re-enactment, but that wasn’t worth the price of admission.  I wish now I had stuck to my guns and gotten “Paranormal Activity.”

Crazy Heart – This is the movie for which Jeff Bridges won the Best Actor Academy Award this past year.  He plays Bad Blake, a boozy faded country western singer reduced to playing bowling alleys and bars.  He meets a journalist, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who causes him to re-evaluate his life and starts him down the road to redemption.

Story-wise, I just told it.  It could fit into a teaspoon.  Acting-wise, Bridges was brilliant.  After watching this movie, I felt like I had known this man my whole life.  The little nuances he brought to the role were masterful and touching.  And he definitely deserved the award, no doubt about it.  This is a movie certainly worth seeing, both for the acting and the music.

District 9 – Okay, I’ll be straight up with you on this one.  I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this movie!  The premise is that aliens appeared twenty-some years ago in a ship that hovered over Johannesburg, South Africa.  The aliens, who come to be referred to as “Prawns,” due to their insect/fish-like appearance, were exiled to a slum on the fringe of the city by a government agency.  After the newness wore off, they were victimized and exploited by humans.  Their presence causes so much civil unrest that, as the movie begins, they are being evicted from their shanty homes to be relocated further out from the city.

One government official is accidentally exposed to a strange alien chemical which changes his life and makes him the object of a manhunt by his own species.  Thus he has to rely on the kindness of the only two Prawns he knows.

This movie starts out as if it were a documentary and somewhere toward the middle transitions into cinematography to show the action sequences.  This movie has everything – action, tension, humor and moments of pathos.

My best recommendation is that, about three-quarters of the way into the movie, I discovered that I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat, and had been for quite some time.  This movie so held my interest that I had no concept of time passing.  It was that good.  It is so creative and original that I’m sure you haven’t seen anything quite like it.  I’m going to try to watch it again this week.

So, that’s it for now, people.  Two I’d recommend and one I wouldn’t.  If you’ve seen any of these and want to leave your opinions, feel free.  I’d be interested.

Meanwhile, try to be good.

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