Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Carrying on the Easter tradition

What would holidays be without grandma or mom to carry on the tradition? In the last few days, we rearranged our schedules so that we could go visit my mom to celebrate Easter. And, boy are we ever in for a treat.

As I am finalizing hot work projects so that I can celebrate without thinking about work, I sent a quick email to mom to ask her a very important question! Allow me to share with you what I asked, "Mom, Will you have stuffed cabbage rolls? Would you like me to bring any “food” or edibles?" Hey, you see that link there for stuffed cabbage rolls? That's my Squidoo lens on my favorite comfort food. You see, I am half expecting mom to have these; I'll let you know after Easter, OK?

So, mom gets back to me today to give us a hint of the feast she is preparing. Here, let me have mom tell you in her own words:

Julie, now that you asked ... We'll be having roast leg of lamb with pierogies/mushrooms/onions, salad (name your dressing choice) mint jelly, etc. on Saturday.

Sunday a.m. has dry cereals w/milk, orange juice, fruit, and bakery.

Sunday features a honey-baked ham with cheese, potato casserole, stewed apples, asparagus, hard-boiled eggs, etc.

I have all the fixings in the fridge ... in fact, the ham is delicious as I've been snacking for 2 days already and find it so.

Drive carefully and come hungry!!!

So, mom is carrying on the Easter tradition in our family very nicely with a relative smorgasbord of goodies. Definitely got to have that honey-baked ham! Still hoping she is sneaking in those stuffed cabbage rolls.

OK, so don't tell mom, but I went shopping today at our local HomeGoods store to assemble a customized Easter basket. I was going for a yellow Sunflower theme with the fabric basket. In fact, it would go great with this item, Sunflowers, c.1888 Art Print by Vincent van Gogh. I love that art! It is so bright and sunshiny. And, perfect for Easter.

Happy Easter Hugs everyone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

When success may be doubtful

It was 6:40am on a Friday morning, this particular Friday morning. I was in my car driving myself somewhere ... I'll tell you about where a little later as it relates to this story. Well, on the radio I hear an OnStar commercial which rings a bell with me as I recall seeing a TV commercial with their feature in operation. It's their "Stolen Vehicle Slowdown." Heard about it?

Googling "OnStar," I arrived at their website and quickly located SVS. I was scanning the page for something I heard on the radio as a tagline to their commercial. What it says about SVS:

Using GPS technology OnStar can pinpoint the location of stolen vehicles and then work directly with police to facilitate recovery, using exclusive technologies like Stolen Vehicle Slowdown® and NEW Remote Ignition Block.

Well, I didn't find the tagline, but I did find something similar, "Ability to locate stolen vehicles varies with conditions."

The tagline I was looking for went something like this, "success is dependent upon conditions." Huh? Isn't that true in life and in really ALL circumstances; i.e., that whether or not YOU will be successful at something is pretty much going to depend upon all the conditions or circumstances that come into play?

So, where am I going with my story? Well, I asked hubby to take me, but he said today was a banner-busy day for him. I ventured out early by myself, hoping to be the first in line where I was going. When I arrived at 7am, I noticed the facility was dark, but that the Curves next door was hopping. The sign on the window said 7:30am. Drat, I thought ... let's see what's happening with the women in Curves. I opened the door and was immediately greeted by a friendly attendant who thought I was her 7:30am appointment arriving early. It sure was interesting watching all the women on their stations, going round and round in that circle, and changing stations every time the recorded voice said, "change your stations." Every 30 seconds!

7:30am arrived, and sadly I had to leave Curves. Stepping into Quest Diagnostics, I let one woman go ahead of me and then I signed in as #7. When they called me to the window, after all the formalities, I said, "I am a hard stick." I felt that I had done my due diligence and that THAT meant something. I sat down and a few minutes later another lady called me to the window and said that I now had the pleasure of meeting my patient responsibility there at their facility and would I like to make my patient co-pay payment. "Sure," I said, "I like being responsible." I handed over my HSA card, but the system didn't like it. I was thinking ... er, "when success may be doubtful." I'll look for that bill in the mail.

I sat back down and probably 5 minutes later they called me back. "Sit in chair #1" the girl said. Oh, good, I was thinking. I've sat in that very chair a few years ago and I had success. Jason, a young man with the longest hair, pulled back in a ponytail, that he had been growing for some 11 years, stepped up to bat. "Well, hi there ... you sure do have long hair." I guess I was looking to make a connection with this fine young man who was going to try and draw my blood ... first. "Hello ... I am a hard stick ... you'll want to use the butterfly ... yada yada."

Jason applied the tourniquet to my upper left arm and began to explore his opportunities for success in the crook of my arm. Well, what seemed like ages whilst I was looking at the ceiling, taking deep breaths and trying to think of pleasant things. Well, before you knew it, Jason walked to another station. He conferred with one of the women ... and next thing I knew, the first lady was up to bat. She selected my left hand and went for the tiny vein which was conveniently marked with a bruise from the previous week's adventure at another Quest Diagnostics facility.

"Yes," I said when asked if I was hydrating myself with water. "A couple of bottles; more than usual." I'm thinking because I have the tendency to be dehydrated, that surely contributes to my not having success with my tiny, blood-drawing resistant veins.

"Oweee" and a few tears ... good grief that hurt as she maneuvered the needle seeking that tiny vein. "Did you get it?" I asked. "No," she replied. Good grief, "when success may be doubtful." It was about this time that I "think" I started to work at controlling an escalation of drama on my part. A few tears, some lightheadedness, and perhaps another oweee and some light wimpering. Not quite a drama queen though.

Hello, lady #2 up to bat. By this time, a warmer had been placed on my hand by lady #1 I think and I really thought the needle was still in my hand working on filling up that tube. Nope! The warmer was transferred to the crook of my arm and lady #2 took her shot at it. Holy moly batman, I don't think she got the message that I was a hard stick and used the butterfly. She tried a real needle in my forearm. OWEEE! Boy did that hurt. Two more tries and then finally success!

Only one hour in this facility opposed to the 2 hours of the previous week, but the previous week, it was 5 tubes vs. today's 1 tube.

So ... isn't this crazy that I am devoting my blog post today to something that should be a non-event? I'm asking YOU! Don't they train the techs who draw blood to deal with people who have tiny veins which roll and which are resistant to drawing blood. When the lady at Curves told me I might want to stand in line to be the first in, I told her not to worry ... that I wanted to have the techs warmed up before they took their crack(s) at me.

Ah, what did I tell you when you started this journey with me today? Remember? "When success may be doubtful ... when it is time for a lab tech to draw my blood." Gosh, I'm thinking of OnStar and their commercial this morning. Too bad there isn't GPS technology that can be used to locate the best veins from which to draw blood!

I'm wondering this, how many of my readers consider having blood drawn as an EVENT? Am I the only blogger out there that considers this an event? I'm seriously thinking "success may be doubtful" might be the mantra I am stuck with when it comes time for lab work. Gosh, I sure wish I could change this.

I forgot to mention why I was having my blood drawn today. It has to do with cholesterol ... which makes me think, I will seriously NEED to secure a "low-cholesterol cookbook" for myself to learn some new low-cholesterol recipes.

My doctor ordered the VAP® (Vertical Auto Profile) Test and I'm thankful that it only needed one tube of my blood this morning. Googling VAP, I found that this test is indicated when the patient might be exhibiting risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. I found Atherotech's website and learned that the VAP test ...

is the most accurate and comprehensive cholesterol test available today, reporting 15 separate components of blood cholesterol as opposed to four in a standard test ... it is the only cholesterol test to identify markers for Metabolic Syndrome, a precursor for diabetes.

TGIF you all. Hope everyone has a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Getting hooked on a good thing

It was more than one month ago that I had a conversation with Todd, my neuromuscular massage therapist. "I wonder if there is a treatment center for getting hooked on massage?" We laughed about that thought and how it would be like "getting hooked on a good thing" yes a good thing massage can be! I first started enjoying massage in early February 2010 as prescribed treatment for my hand injury of December 9, 2009.

So, today it is March 21, 2010! I have well passed two dozen neuromuscular massages, rather back-to-back, along with 3 memorable acupunctures. I've not yet achieved the aura that acupuncture is a "good thing," although I do believe it is ... I'm still working on that thought.

What about March 21, 2010? Yes, I've already chatted about that in the SquidU Forum in this memorable post: Thank you Squidoo for my 4-year anniversary milestone today!

From the forum, I ventured onto Twitter to say: "Thank you BzzAgent for introducing me to Squidoo. Celebrating my 4 year anniversary milestone. My first lens of 3/21/06."

Then, it was off to populate the Topicability blog with this post, A Milestone on Squidoo!

Another milestone for me is each day that I hear my mom tell me to write that book. In a sense, I have been writing that book each day over the past 4 years of my milestone anniversary on Squidoo. Mom just called me the past week to present me with a new challenge! You see, she has been conscientiously reading and commenting on my lenses. And, now she says I simply MUST take all my great content and put it into a book to share with others trying to find their way on the internet. Thanks mom! ;)

As a lensmaster on Squidoo, my profile states that I have "rated 7,147 lenses, favorited 537, and have created 637 lenses from scratch, and that I have 1,775 fans." What it doesn't say is how much Squidoo has been a part of my life and daily journey over the past 4 years. It doesn't tell you about THAT journey.

There have been definite HIGHS and LOWS. I refuse to dwell on any of those negative moments to detract from the wondrous POSITIVES of Squidoo. The power of Squidoo has allowed me to express myself; to be the very best that I can be. It has allowed me to be hugely unique with my most creatively niche-like niches! I've purposely written about what interests me and sometimes those topics have been definite non-mainstream topics. But, I am happy for staying true to my course.

the cat attitude of jaguar julieBefore I go and enjoy this rainy day, may I share with you a parting thought that has been my online mantra for over a decade? That would be to "be the best that YOU can be! Be authentic, original and unique." And, yada yada!!!

So, today I am commemorating my huge milestone of 4 years on Squidoo. Isn't that about 36 years in a cat's life??? Yes, indeed my friends! "Getting hooked on a good thing ... can be a good thing!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting the point 17 times, ah Acupuncture!

You know I think I'm beginning to sound like a broken record in that I wanted to blog more frequently and actually had that as a personal goal for 2010 ... BUT I see that it's been over a month since I last penned a blog post on my primary blog. Well, chalk it up to the life-changing, trunk-slamming incident of December 9, 2009. That trunk-slamming surely changed a lot of "things" in my life.

Thinking back on the sequence of events, it was a full month that I waited before I sought follow-up care for my hand, wrist and forearm. That's normal protocol for me; no knee-jerk reaction, but a wait and see approach that hopes for the best. I was hoping that the pain would just go away.

I've now completed some 8 weeks of neuromuscular therapy which has been renewed; however, now "we" have added acupuncture to the weekly routine! You know, I don't have an officially penned "bucket list" like a goodly bunch of my cool friends have, but surely acupuncture would be on that BL. So, let's put a red checkmark next to acupuncture on that list.

Last Friday was my indoctrination into getting the point 17 times! I had no idea what to expect; and I was nervously chatting away with my doctor when BAM! the first needle went in ... what a surprise, in it went into my forehead somewhere between my eyes. I was laughing to myself, "be careful what you ask for!" A while back I was talking about getting scheduled for a lobotomy. OK, perhaps I'm being a tad bit dramatic, but golly gee, no one told me I'd get that very first acupuncture needle smack dab THERE!

Here's what I find super interesting! I was doing a cursory search on Amazon [a favorite place of mine] and look what the heck I found there! I did not know that anyone could buy acupuncture needles on Amazon! Acupuncture Needles by Seirin - Sterile #3 Gauge 30 mm Blue J-Type by AME. It says that the SEIRIN disposable acupuncture needles have a new technology which "allows for smooth painless insertion using less pressure."

Take it from the horse's mouth, not all insertions of acupuncture needles are PAINLESS. In particular, two additional insertion points [in addition to that lobotomy positioned first needle] were pretty owie! The left side of my right hand/wrist was high on the list, quickly followed up by the scapular area of my left shoulder.

But, like a good trooper, I've been scheduled for two acupuncture treatments this week and now KNOW what to expect. I think it will be interesting to see whether or not those same spots feel the same type of pressure ... er pain.

Have YOU too had acupuncture or planning on trying it? I personally come from a storytelling background of participatory journalism. That means, that I was voted most likely to try alternative approaches, especially in the treatment of pain. I want to be greener and more holistic in my approach. No more spinal nerve blocks for me; oh no!

Well, if you are thinking about acupuncture, here are a couple of books to acquaint you with that approach. If you're thinking about it, let me know! I'd surely love to chat with you and pick your brain. Have you ALREADY tried it? Hey, how was it? How many treatments did you have? Did you LOVE it?