Thursday, May 29, 2008

On the road again...

Well, life has been a little hectic again between work and personal time. If you go to LaDawn's site you know she recently went to India. I've also been getting around and thought I'd share how life has been lately.

April 18 - 21st - We had some good friends come over for the weekends, including a good friend of mine named Kevin. He's a former Marine (I know there is no such thing as former Marine, but humor me). We hung out in Milwaukee, had a few beers and ran a half Marathon together on April 20th. I only have video of the race, he took the digital pics, so I'll post them when I get time. I ran a 1:48 and he ran a 1:52. We stuck together for the first eight miles.

April 21st - Had a business trip to Beijing. My flight was a 2. Monday morning, woke up and finished packing. Had a meeting I took from home and then joined Kevin, Missy and Heather and little joe for a late breakfast before heading to the airport. It was a 14 hour direct flight from Chicago to Beijing. Got a lot of work done in Beijing. Stayed at the China World Hotel. Worked alot but had some fun. Visited the Great Wall, Tieneman Square and the forbidden city. Drank a lot of local beer and whiskey. Bought a ton of stuff at a distribution warehouse. Imagine Wal-Mart, Bestbuy, Toys-R-Us and all your other favorite stores under one roof and everything is 60% off. That's shopping in China! Great wall is amazing and surprisingly steep.

Sunday April 27th - Flew to singapore. Was only there for 2 days. Slept, went to work. Ate a skinned boiled baby duck for lunch (never do that again) and had dinner at the HardRock Cafe. Singapore is a cross of Miami (the heat and cleanliness) and New York (Prices and people). Its the largest concentration of European and American Xpats in the world all sent by a company. There are also hookers all over the place (No, don't even think what you r thinking - it didn't happen). My flight back to Chicago was @ 6 in the morning on the 29th, so Idecided to stay up all night. I left tuesday 6 am local time and arrived home @ 2pm the same day despite flying for 24 hours. I had a 3 hr lay over in Hong Kong.

Saturday May 3: Despite traveling for 10 days, we had a vacation planned. We went to colorado. Hung out with Leah, Adrian and Max (my god son). Leah and Max used to have a blog named CasaHerrera. The blog has since died if in activity. Leah is an environmental person, we disagree on everything politically (as I do with LaDawn) but get along great. Of course I had to be myself and send a little message the entire week. Any guesses what I rented? You guessed correctly, I drove a hummer the entire week. Which is a great car. It was especially fun driving it into Boulder. Probably one of the most left wing, tree hugging hippy towns in the US. We came back May 10th. While there we we went to the Denver Zoo, Adrian and I went to a rockies game and we also hung out at Estes Park.
Thursday May 29th - Heading to London for 3 weeks, plan to see Ladawn this weekend. I am taking Heather and little joe for the first leg of the trip. We arrive friday (30th) and leave for cleveland on June 7th. On June 8th, I am back on a flight returning to london for another 10 days.

Pic 1 - Dad and little joe on the hummer in Colorado (Poet and don't know it).

Video 1 - Brief video @ great wall. Yes we walked this.

Pic 2 - The guards at the Great Wall are not as young as they used to be.

Video 2 - Me, at the Great Wall
Pic 3 - The family at the Estes Park.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thanks for all the visits and comments, everyone!

You may have guessed by now that I'm offline again with my chronic computer troubles. Looks like it's going to be gone over the weekend as well.

On the other hand, I went to visit Lucy at the trainer's last Sat and I am so proud of her I could BURST! I have pictures to post as soon as I can do this somewhere other than the public library. My time here is limited.

For Memorial Day:
A few years ago, when I was working for a newspaper, I sat across a table at our County Courthouse from a pair of Veterans who had survived the Battle of the Bulge together. I was getting details from them on a local WW II Memorial that was in the planning stages at the time. We were sharing a box of donuts and a pot of coffee. As we visited, I observed that what was left of the hair on their heads was grey and thin and arthritis had left their hands and arms swollen, stiff and gnarly. One of them had been partially disabled by a recent stroke, but both of them spoke with great pride in their fallen comrades and in the difficult task they had undertaken together and achieved over half a century ago. Their friendship and devotion to each other was exemplified in one small gesture: the man who had suffered a stroke suddenly choked lightly on a sip of coffee and a piece of donut, which began to dribble down his chin. His friend, without hesitation, reached over with his own napkin and quietly cleaned off his chin for him, without even interuppting our conversation.

God bless our Troops, past and present!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The mammogram question. At my last visit to the Dr. – and I didn’t even get to see the Dr., it was the P.A. – she said she had to prescribe a mammogram for me. It was required by law or the FDA or AMA or somebody and it was her sworn duty to prescribe it. She ended by saying it was certainly my choice to get one or not. I’m sure the intent of the whole conversation was to avoid a future lawsuit on my part, which I wouldn’t do anyway. I politely declined, pointing out that I have no risk factors and that my family history leaves me more concerned with monitoring my heart health. Additionally, it’s not what I want to spend my money on right now.

The PA left me and the attending nurses came in and proceeded to get on the phone to schedule me for a mammogram. I said, “You can make the appointment if you want to, but I won’t be going in for it.”

They both looked at me as if my hair was on fire. “Why not?!” one of them said. I repeated that I had no risk factors and was more concerned with avoiding heart disease than cancer. They can test my cardiac health any way they want to, but leave my boobs alone. She made the appointment anyway and I asked for the telephone number I would need in order to cancel it. She handed it over grudgingly.

Another conversation of a similar nature took place with the receptionist.

Now I’m well aware of the choice I am making when I choose to forego the mammogram. I’ve heard the phrase “every woman over forty should get a mammogram” at least a million times.

Let me point out a few other things they said “every woman” should have:

Back in the 50s, it was thought “Every pregnant woman should be on thalidomide for depression and morning sickness.” Several months later, women started giving birth to hideously deformed children. Many of these children were abandoned and gave rise to “Thalidomide orphanages” and then it was, “Oops! Sorry, ladies. Thalidomide wasn’t such a good idea after all.”

And then there was the miracle drug Sibesterol (sp?) thought to prevent miscarriage. The only problem was that when daughters born to women who had taken Sebesterol grew up, a huge percentage of them developed cervical cancer. “Oops! Sorry, ladies.”

In the 60s, they thought “It should become routine to monitor fetal development and every pregnant woman should have an X-ray.” The consequences of this were nearly as devastating as the thalidomide debacle. “OOPS! Sorry, ladies.”

Then in the 70s, it was said, “Every young woman should be on birth control pills, not only to prevent pregnancy, but to maintain regular menstrual cycles.” Several years later, young women (by young, I mean age 30 or less) started having debilitating strokes and wound up partially paralyzed. “Oops! Sorry, ladies. Maybe not every woman should be on the Pill.”

In the 80s and 90s, “Every woman should be on Estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the form of Premarin.” Okay, do you know what Premarin is made from? It stands for PREgnant MARe unrINe. I’ve seen pregnant mare urine. I don’t want to ingest it. (And don't even get me started on the mare urine farms.) And then women on this HRT started developing tumors, cancers and heart disease. “Oops! Sorry, ladies, maybe not every woman should be on Premarin.”

And now we have the mammogram. I know of at least three women who had regular mammograms and died of breast cancer anyway. What are we? Lab rats?

And what is going to happen to my personal choice in this matter if we socialize health care?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Front line story

A thin little lady came to me to check out her groceries yesterday. She made a point of telling me, “Don’t put too many cans in one bag. I can’t lift heavy things.”

I packed three cans of veggies and one box of cereal into the first bag and slid it down the counter. She hefted it and declared, “No. That’s too heavy,” and removed the box of cereal. I tried to be careful about how many cans went into the bags I packed, but she proceeded to rearrange and repack everything to her own satisfaction. All the while explaining how she was unable to lift hardly anything at all anymore because one of her arms was weaker than the other due to some surgery or an injury or something.

At the end of the checking and all the packing and repacking, she had about six plastic bags sitting at her end of the checkout counter. I noticed my line was getting a little longer, but we all watched and waited patiently while she gave each one a final inspection - and then swooped them all together and hefted them in one heap into her grocery cart.

I tried not to laugh and turned my head away from her. The next lady in line caught my eye and we both spent the next few minutes suppressing giggles while the poor little weakling wrote out her check and hurried away. Then the next lady told me, “I used to work in a grocery store, too. I know exactly what you’re thinking.”

And we shared a laugh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm a mess.

Just came from the Dr. with drug samples: cymbalta for depression & pain and lunesta to sleep. Have to be at work in a little while.

More later.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy birthday today to my son, Jack. He's 26.

How did I get old enough to have a 26 year old son?!?!?

Friday, May 09, 2008


How do you like my new hard drive? It was really expensive.

I hope it doesn't make my butt look big.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go bloghopping and see what all my pals have been up to.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Economy shows resilience; jobless rate falls as dollar rises - Bad News for Democrat Party..
Interesting Headline? I think so! I obviously added the last piece to this AP Story. I never really believed all the hyped negativity out there, and this is now proof that it was hype. Am I saying everything is perfect... NO!
But if you read these stories, it would have you believe the stock market crashed, unemployment is at 25%, half of America is in a soupline and that the dollar is worthless. What's good for America is bad for the democratic party (Quoting El-Rushbo on that one).

Another link below.

Have a great weekend everyone, assuming you don't spend it in a soupline and have to make a choice between medicine and eating dogfood.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hello friends.
Computer problems again GRRRRR!!!
More stories & stuff when I get back online.
Joe is keeping things lively for us in the meantime!