Thursday, December 24, 2009


About a week ago, while trying to put the car in the garage after arriving home from work, I slightly miscalculated, and got a smidge too close to the right side of the garage, and this was the result.

Tore off the whole frame on the right, and bent the weather stripping.

I drive a pretty wide SUV, and I even have to fold in the side mirrors to have any hope of getting the car in the garage in the first place, but have never actually miscalculated.

I was fine until the right rear wheel entered - it seems that the fender over the right rear wheel well sticks out about 2 inches more than the rest of the car (does that make sense? - I'm saying the car is about 4 inches wider over the rear wheels - 2 inches on each side) - and when the rear wheel well fender hit the garage wall, I quickly stopped, and backed up, and re-centered the car, and pulled on in.

It was dark at the time, and I couldn't really inspect the car for damage, but since the garage door wouldn't close, I had to go over and fiddle with the structural damage to the garage so that I could get the damn door to close.

I had to break off a small piece of wood, and manipulate the weather stripping, and then the door went up and down without any problem - fortunately, the garage door track was not involved in the little "incident".

And the next day, I inspected the car, and other than a paint scrape over the wheel well, there isn't even a scratch on the car.

So I called a repair company, and explained what had happened, and told the guy that Monday was my only day off, and asked for an appointment the following Monday (Dec 21) - and the guy refused to give me an appointment. He said, "Just call me first thing Monday morning, and I'll come on by and take care of it".

I had no prior dealings with this "company", but this IS the South after all, and things tend to be pretty laid back, so I agreed.

And I called him first thing Monday morning, and got his voice mail, and left a message.

And 2 hours later, I gave up, and called HouseDoctors, simply based on their ad in the Yellow Pages. The owner's wife said that the owner was on a job at the time, but could come by the house around 3:30 to "take a look".

And he arrived at exactly 3:30, and gave me a professional, written estimate, but naturally couldn't do the job right then, because he didn't have the materials, and it would be dark soon anyway. I told him that Mondays are my only available day, but that I would be out of town for the holidays the following Monday - and then I sort of jokingly asked if he'd consider doing the job on Christmas Eve, since I would be off work that day.

And he said, "No problem - I have a guy who can do it that day."

So we set 11 AM as the time, and the guy showed up at 10:50 AM this morning, and by 12:30 PM the job was done and I was back in my jammies, chillin' with some cappuccino and watching TV.

So I am really, really thrilled with HouseDoctors - and thanks, Scott! Great Job!

Bailey and I are going to just generally laze around the house for a couple of days, and then on Saturday we are driving up to the mountains to stay with Kathy and her pups (oh yeah, and her husband, too - Hi, John!) - and we are really hoping to find some snow when we get there.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Oh yeah - some of you have asked: my little injection was somewhat successful last week - it relieved all of my arm pain, and reduced my neck pain by maybe 40%. The pain management doctor called me yesterday for an update, and wanted me to come in this Monday for a second shot, but since I'll be out of town, we have to put it off until the following Monday. I'm still having a good bit of neck pain - and he says we'll see how the next injection does, but we may be looking at some surgery in the new year...

Monday, December 14, 2009

I just need little a cheering up today

About 14 months ago I had an ACF - an Anterior Cervical Fusion. Left me with a nice 4 inch long scar on the front of my neck, and a plate in my neck.

I had fallen about 3 months before that - I was trying to relocate some beads from my bedroom, which was getting far too crowded and cluttered, to my actual, designated, fully furnished 900 square foot beading studio - which is just down a long hall from the bedroom, in the bonus room over my garage, and required me to step down 2 whole stairs, carpeted stairs, to get to the room. I just preferred to do all my beading in the bedroom, curled up in my comfy bed, with my TV, and all my remotes, and room for Bailey to sit on the bed and pout while I ignored him.

But I just had too much crap in the bedroom, so I decided to move some beads into the bead studio. And on my first trip, my socked-foot hit the top of the carpeted stair wrong, and my feet flew out from under me, and my ass hit that top step at about 900 miles an hour, and about 9000 pounds per square inch.

And since I was carrying about 8 gorgeous lampwork beads in my left hand, my only thought at the time was "Save the Beads!!!!" - so I threw down my right arm to catch myself, and felt my entire right arm jam up into my neck.

And I was sore for a few days.

And then the neck pain, and the numbness and tingling in my left arm set in.

I waited about 4-5 months, and finally saw my doctor, and had the MRI, which showed the massive disc herniation at C5/6. He told me I could have surgery, or opt for some epidural steroid injections, but I should realize (which I already did, since I have a medical background) that if the epidural steroid injections worked, they were just a short term fix, and meant that surgery was really the only way to fix the issue.

So I had a couple of the injections, they worked, and everyone conferred and told me I had to have the surgery.

Surgery is really no big deal to me (other than paying for it on a struggling beader's "salary"), and the surgeon reassured me with statistics such as "95% of my patients wake up from the surgery symptom- and pain-free, and remain that way."

So I had the surgery in October 2008.

Most folks miss 4 to 8 weeks of work following this procedure - I missed 3 days (4, if you include the day of the surgery). Because I had just bought the bead store, and had (and still have) no employees - so if I wasn't there, the store wasn't open, and that really has a negative effect on getting the bills paid...

And of course, I was one of the other 5% - the tingling and numbness in my arm resolved, but the neck pain, while it kind of changed, and was maybe a little more tolerable, never went away.

When I went for my 6 week post-op visit, I was still having significant pain (and was supposed to be in that 95% having zero pain) - and the surgeon told me that if I was still having pain in 6 weeks, I would need to start Physical Therapy.

And so I became what is known in medical parlance as "lost to follow-op" - meaning I just quit going back. I had suffered from chronic neck pain for at least 17 years by this point, and had been through at least 3 full courses of physical therapy for it, with absolutely NO improvement, and I just didn't feel like ponying up the cash, on my meager beading income, for what I felt like would be a lost cause.
And so my neck pain remained constant, and unchanged - Not as bad as it had been pre-op, but still a pain in the neck, quite literally.

Then about 12 weeks ago I developed what appeared to be a simple case of tendonitis in my right elbow. Tendonitis is usually a repetitive motion injury, and that didn't apply, but all the symptoms fit, so I returned to Orthopedist #1, and he agreed with my diagnosis, and gave me a cortisone injection into my elbow, and instead of making it better, it got worse. And worse.

So I went back to him 8 weeks later, and confessed about the lingering neck pain, and how it was actually quite a lot worse now, to the point where I get frequent headaches, and often can't even turn my head left, right, up, or down, and he ordered an MRI. (of my neck - not my elbow)

He called me today, and told me I have disc herniation at C6/7, with significant impingement on the nerve root, and need to see the neck surgeon again. (Ortho #1 does all ortho surgeries except the neck and back).

I asked him if we could try the epidural steroid injections again instead, and he said sure - and evidently the anesthesiologist who does them was standing there next to him, because they said if I could come to the office in an hour, they would go ahead a give me one.

So I show up, and the anesthesiologist (the pain management specialist) does a full exam, strongly feels that my elbow pain is still your basic garden variety tendonitis and completely unrelated to my herniated disc, but agrees that I need neck surgery - but he'll go ahead and do the epidural steroid injection, both on a therapeutic basis (meaning I'll hopefully get some relief) and on a diagnostic basis (meaning that if my neck pain and/or elbow pain resolve, then he knows they are coming from the disc herniation).

I get the shot, and within 30 minutes the elbow pain is gone.

But my neck pain is now 100% worse. But this is to be expected, from all the manipulating he did in there -

And, on an unrelated note, my best friend died last week from complication of a stroke she suffered 8 months ago.

So I'm sitting here on some pain medication, and having a little pity party - no balloons, but I am eating chocolate cookies (and diet coke!) for dinner, and posting 3 pictures that make me feel better.

Thanks for listening. Enjoy my pictures!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Note to SYTYCD

The judges of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) are always talking about whether the contestants can take notes (direction) from their choreographers and from the judges.

So I have a little note to give the producers:

No More Bollywood.


The only way I want to ever see Bollywood on my TV again is if Maks Chmerkovskiy is dancing it, alone, and NAKED. Well, he can wear those little finger cymbal things, if necessary.

So, hurray for my TIVO and the fast forward - I can roll right past all that Bollywood nonsense, and hurray for my TIVO and its slow-mo and pause buttons, 'cause those will definitely come in handy when Maks does TNB (Totaly Naked Bollywood).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Loving the Cold Connections!

I have become addicted to Cold Connections - it is the process of creating metal jewelry using basically any methods except soldering. You rivet, grommet, weave, etch with acid, hammer, saw - lots of fun!
This piece is my latest, and in my opinion, my best - it took days of planning and work, and is 3 dimensional. I used copper, sterling silver, stainless steel, and brass, plus a few seed beads, and I just love its asymmetry.
I ended up opting for a simple chain to hang it, because I didn't want to take anything away from the pendant.
This is one of a pair of Cold Connections earrings that I made recently, and heavily embellished with Swarovski crystals, Swarovski pearls, freshwater pearls, and seed beads - embellishing is one of my favorite things to do in ALL of my pieces, but cold connections really allows me to go wild with it.

The earrings were designed to match this pendant - where I actually set a cabochon into the copper sheet without any soldering or weaving - really cool! And, of course, lots of embellishing (or "crapping it up") as one of my friends calls it...

This set is actually available in my Etsy shop - but I just can't part with my 3-D masterpiece!

Cold connections will probably never be my favorite medium - my heart really belongs to Chainmaille, but cold connections is a close second.
If only it were portable, like chainmaille projects....
And on a non-related note - I am currently reading "Open" by Andre Agassi, and I just have to say that this is one of the best books I have read in a long time - I hate to put it down!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Can anyone explain this ad to me?

It pops up over on the right whenever I log into my Yahoo e-mail account, but I've never seen this particular picture attached to the ad:

I know it's not Obama; but is it somebody's Mom?

I know it's scary.

Does it make you want to click on it?

Me either.