Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of the Year

And Welcome 2009!

Tonight I am thankful for:

A full year of being able to visit my parents whenever.

Almost a whole year of Miss Harley being in my life.

Another year of Jim and I facing the world together.

A "child" who still stays in touch very, very often.

The continuing recovery of my Mother-In-Law.

A full year of being a member of the IU family.

Making a new life out here in The Ville.

Friends from back east who don't let geography mean anything.

My "online family" who have been there for so many years now that they mean as much to me as the people I spend time with outside the computer.

The opportunity to make 2009 an even better year than 2008!

Much love to all and I hope everyone in my heart has a safe and happy new year.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Drugs and Insurance

I am thankful that we have the drugs necessary to make us well- but I am also VERY thankful for medical insurance.

The latest drugs we are considering for my treatment are VERY expensive.

Humira comes in at 20,000 a year
Enbrel comes in at 17,000 a year
Remicade comes in at 22,000 a year

There is no way we could even consider these without insurance. Instead of these insane prices- it will cost me $480.00 a year. That is not including my Methotrexate (120.00 a year w-insurance) my tramadol, (72.00 a year w-insurance)and my folic acid (48.00 a year w-insurance) or the B-12 injections that we may be starting next. On top of that is the appointments with my rheumatologist every 6 weeks and labs at every appointment. The physical therapy I underwent this year- the AF water program they want me to do next year. The baseline x-rays for my hands, feet, hips, back and lungs. I dont' know how anyone with RA could manage without insurance.

I also find it amazing that with such a debilitating and chronic condition- the SSA takes up to three years to approve a disablity claim. I am so thankful that I am not at that stage yet. But courtesy of the www- I can research and be ready when it does get to that point.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I kept saying that the only thing that would make today even better- because it was a wonderful, wonderful day- would be seeing Josh. Guess what- I got to! Not in person, but this is better than nothing, right?

If you can't see that video- it is linked here:

I have had a wonderful vacation so far- and I have almost finished (just a few little details left) my dad's website. If you want to check it out- and feel free to give me feedback- the link to the site is:

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours- I am thankful for you all- and am better off for knowing you.

All my love,


Friday, November 21, 2008


I need it, I am so glad that it is finally here. I am off work until December 1st. Today I have to finish this blog, finish packing, decorate my tree, wrap some presents and then relax till I head to my parents for a lovely, lovely week.

I am thankful for this time to get my head together. Time to destress. Time to spend with my parents. My only wish is that Jim had the whole week off as well- but work calls and that is the priority.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh- vacation. Life should be one big vacation!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanks for my lucky stars

I know, I know. The saying is "thank my lucky stars." Not for me tonight though. I was out walking Harley and it has been a gray, overcast day all day. So this evening when we were walking I kept looking up- trying to see the stars through the clouds. I saw a couple of planes- that was a disappointment. Just as we were heading home, I looked up and the clouds parted and there they were. Beautiful, bright, shining stars. I honestly think I grinned ear to ear. It just made my heart feel lighter. So tonight I am thankful for my lucky stars. <3

And if you haven't seen it- you need to check this out. Only someone with a heart of stone could resist these adorable shiba inu puppies on this puppy cam:

I can spend literally hours watching them play. I will be so sad when they start going to their forever homes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's a beautiful Sunday morning

And despite the fact that it is flurrying (yuk!) outside this morning, there is much to be thankful for.

I had a very quiet day yesterday. We all need those days occasionally where we can do, or not do, whatever we want. I watched everything on my dvr, got my laundry caught up, the dining room is ready to become Christmas central and I relaxed- a LOT. It was lovely. I accomplished a lot- at my own pace.

My RA is still mostly undercontrol. A little swelling and stiffness is something I can live with- but there is a decided difference between this Sunday morning and last when I was on the dose pack of prednisone. I am just grateful to be out of the flare. It was SO not fun.

I only have four days till vacation! Next week at this time I will be firmly ensconced at Mom and Dads. I only hope that Jim gets the weekend off so that we don't have to rush back after Thanksgiving dinner.

This week I am focusing my thoughts and energy on my mother-in-law's upcoming surgery. Next Friday she undergoes a difficult surgery to remove a tumor in her throat/neck. It will change her life forever. I know that she has the strength to deal with the road that she faces- I only hope that she knows it. My prayers will be with her this week and in the months to come for her recovery. I am just thankful that she finally decided to go ahead with treatment.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Perscription drugs are my friend

I had a wonderful weekend with Mom and Dad, Jim and Harley but it was made even better by my new friends; Prednisone and Tramadol.

Since I got back from Boston (a whole nother gratitude post) I have been heading straight into a flare-up of my RA. Walking like a weeble, mass amounts of pain etc. It has not been a healthy week. Fortunately I had an appointment with my LPN on Friday who took one look at me, upped my methotrexate dosage, added the Tramodol for pain (permanently) and a dose pack of Predinsone for the inflammation. I have been sleeping a lot this weekend with really vivid dreams (thank you prednisone, at least it didn't mess up my sleep patterns) but I feel wonderful today. I feel better after this combo than I have in probably 2 years. It is amazing. Let's all hope that it pushes me toward remission because if remission feels this good, I can live with the slight deformities of my joints and the nodules if it means being somewhat pain free.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Almost a week away

I am working for two hours tomorrow then I am off for a week. Tuesday morning I am on a flight to New York and beyond and I won't be back to work until November 4th. I need this time off. I need to get away and clear my head. I need to be away from the store and prioritize. I am so grateful for this opportunity even if it means missing my honey and my Harley.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


It's been a couple of weeks since I blogged this- but I have been practicing my gratitude in small ways. Every morning when we walk, I think about what I am grateful for. When I am driving and stop at stop signs or in traffic- I find something to be thankful for. When I stand outside- looking up at the sky and marveling at the beauty of the moon and the stars- I am thankful.

I woke up this morning feeling like "blah- I don't feel like working on a Saturday" but I turned it around to being thankful to have a job to go to.

It has been a struggle some days- but I am finding that when I am in a gratitude state of mind, I just feel lighter. And I like that feeling. I like it enough to keep it going. <3

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Small things to be thankful for

First- I am very thankful that I was not involved in the auto accident that I witnessed tonight. It scared the crap out of us it was so loud and so close. And I am thankful that noone was injured because it could have been really, really bad.

Now for the little things- I am thankful that:

  • Harley doesn't bark like the dog across the way
  • Harley doesn't try to "escape" all of the time like a couple of people I know's dogs.
  • My hands don't look like the photos I saw at the Arthritis Expo.
  • We at least checked out Harvest Homecoming even though it was too crowded for us to stay for long.
  • Josh calls almost every day even if it is just to say Hi
  • The people you least expect keep in the most contact
  • some silly movies can make you feel so good no matter how many times you watch them
  • the Pats are national tomorrow night so I won't have to watch the Colts instead
  • That so many of my friends are online. <3

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Freedom of Choice

No- this is not a post about abortion. I am not even going there. This post is about all of the millions of choices we make in our life. Our choices are both big and small but all affect us in a myriad of ways. We can choose something as minute as to go left or right, we can choose which shoes we want to wear, what clothes to put on, what to eat for breakfast.

We can choose to have a good day or a bad. We choose to see the good in people or the bad. We choose who we see as role models and who we choose not to emulate. We choose how we treat our bodies, how we treat ourselves, how we treat other people. We choose how we would have other people treat us.

I try to do my best to keep in the back of my head a simple phrase- "Make better choices." I am just grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Knifty Knitter

I am thankful today for the Knifty Knitter. I have a nephew and an honorary neice being born between now and 15 December. For all of the kids in my family who have been born I have made them a blanket when they were born but hand work is becoming increasingly more difficult and time consuming. Heck- it took me 5 months to make a scarf for Josh (my son) last year for Christmas. I found this tool over the weekend and it took me about 4 hours to get comfortable with it. I *should* have both blankets finished by the end of the month so that I can hand deliver them when I go back to Massachusetts.

It is hard coming to grips with what you "can't" do anymore. Finding something like this that makes it possible to keep on doing things you love can mean so much.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Geography and good decisions

Today I am thankful for proximity. We are going to my parent's house today and it is so lovely after so long (over 20 years) to be able to just get in the car and do that. When we made the decision to move out here- we hadn't lived in the same state except for a couple of months since 1986. I was a little apprehensive because I am their non-traditional child and I didn't know how we would handle the differences. I need not have worried. I had forgotten how much we really enjoy one another. It has been 17 months and we still think it has been the best thing we have done for all around.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Today I am thankful for October. I love October.

October brings us cool crisp mornings and beautiful afternoons. We get the MLB playoffs and football season (GO SOX AND PATS!). We get Halloween- my favorite holiday of the year! School is fully in session, rush is over which means time to relax a little and catch up at work. This year it means a surprise trip back to Massachusetts and I miss my baby so it is more than welcome. It gives us fairs and festivals to enjoy, new seasons of television and time to gear up for Thanksgiving.

As the commercials say- "There's only one Ahch-tobah!"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Television shows- old and new

I know it is silly to be grateful for TV shows- but they are such an escape. While I am at that- I will add my DVR.

I am hooked on a lot of the crime shows- all three CSI's, Criminal Minds, Numb3rs. I love Ghost Whisperers and I LOVE the new 90210 and Raising the Bar. I love some reality shows too- Extreme Makeover Home Edition- makes me grateful for my life every time I watch it. Survivor- makes me grateful that I don't have to act like that. Project Runway, Top Chef,- make me wish that I had the passion that these folks do, and Ghosthunters- Oh man I wanna do that!

Anyway- I was just looking at my DVR and it seems that TVland is rerunning a lot of eps of EMHE this week. My dvr is going to fill up- but when I sit and watch them- I will have SO MUCH to be grateful for.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Today I am grateful for music. I was lucky enough to grow up with a lot of music in my life. My father and son are both very talented musicians. I guess it skips a generation.

I was walking Miss Harley this morning and I realized that every morning I start the morning singing to her. Though it is a good thing she can't tell me how awful I sound she doesn't seem to mind and it gets my morning off to a good start.

Music is life. From BB King to Metallica to Rascal Flatts. From the Marsallaes to Harry Connick Jr to Enya. There is a peice of music for every feeling, for every moment in life. My Ipod currently has about 500 peices of music and before the crash, my computer had an additional 2000. There is something for every memory for every emotion.

I am grateful that I had the widely varied exposure to musical stylings that I have had and that we have artists willing to pour their blood, sweat and tears into making it for us.

So it's Monday

So I last posted on Thursday. It has been a long weekend but I have tried to keep myself in a grateful place all weekend.

Friday- I was VERY grateful that Jim went with me to my doctor's appointment. He kept me distracted and laughing when I was nervous and encouraged me when I needed it. <3

Saturday- I was VERY thankful that the "side effects" were OVER!

Sunday I was grateful for a day to just relax and for the ability to go and enjoy a grocery shopping trip. I read a blog this weekend that really made me think and be thankful for what we DO have. If you are interested it is:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On seeing how the universe delivers

Yes- I believe in "The Secret" or "The Law of Attraction"

Yes- part of my gratitude journey is to see how the universe has already delivered for me.

A few examples from the last two years-

I needed to be closer to my parents- and the job at Hanover opened up.

I needed to let Josh spread his wings- so when he chose to stay behind- I didn't fall apart, I was able to let him do it.

I felt isolated in Madison- so the transfer to IU came about.

Jim and I needed to reconnect- so he found a day job and we have our evenings together.

I needed to have someone to love and take care of- we found Harley.

When all of this was going on, though occasionally I felt scared- for the most part, each step has felt "right". No second guessing, no regrets, just a feeling of calm knowing that this is what I needed along the way.

We are so much better off now than we have been in the last twenty years. Mentally, emotionally and physically we are better people for sitting back and taking this journey. I feel so blessed by everything that has happened to us since we put our faith out there and took a leap.

I know that we can know what we need and the way will be shown to us. For that I can be eternally grateful!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


It was another lovely morning today, but if I do the same topic every day even I will get bored with my posts.

Today's salute is to technology. I am a bit of a techno-geek. I have my PC, my laptop, my dvr, my gps ( one for the car, one for geocaching and on my phone- THANK YOU VERIZON!), my Wii, my palm pilot, etc etc. I don't know how we lived without them!

Seriously- I would have lost contact a long time ago without my cell, email and IM. I also would never get to watch tv without my dvr. I would never get any exercise outside of Harley and I's walks without my wii.

Technology has made our lives so much easier. Thank the heavens for technology!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Small things

Today it is a beautiful morning and I am grateful for some small things-

Clear crisp mornings where the stars are shining bright

Afternooons that live up to their late summer potential

Walks that loosen my joints

Miss Harley to go with me

Time to relax afterwards

Lots of coffee

Four day work weeks

Friends who IM before sunrise.

Husbands who say they love you and mean it

Sweet kisses goodbye.

These things make me smile. :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008


Today I am grateful for my opportunities. I have been given the green light to go on a business trip to NY. At the end of the trip, I will be taking a hop to Boston, spending the weekend with the family, and then the company will fly me home from there. It is just such a wonderful chance to do- and it will be the last one since the boss is planning on coming back asap.

Thank you BNCB for your generosity!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My mom

My mom is wonderful. I have an appointment on Friday to learn how to give myself injections for my RA. Mom called tonight to see if I wanted her to go with me. <3. That she would drive 100 miles to make a 7am appointment with me shows just the kind of mom she is.

Today I am most thankful for her.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Medical Advancements

I can't say that I am grateful for being "blessed" with Rheumatoid Arthritis- but I can say that I am very grateful for the realm of different medicines that I have available to try and control this disease. I have been through three DMARDS so far- we are going for the fourth starting next weekend. I am a little nervous about giving myself injections- but I can do this if it means some relief. I am also grateful that if this medication does not work for me- there are still options. It is also good to know that there is a valid reason for my constant exhaustion- my labs came back and the proof is in the numbers.

As I missed yesterday (thanks to doctor's appointments etc) I want to toss out another thing in here. Jim has decided that he wants to be a trucker. He is really kind of excited about it. I am SO eternally grateful that he has finally found something that gives him focus and direction. He is so smart and such a good guy and I knew that he would find that one thing that he wants to do.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A beautiful fall morning

I woke up this morning (after a night of really weird dreams!) in a terrific mood. I was actually singing "Good morning to you" to Miss Harley as I scratched her belly before we went for our walk this morning. We stepped outside to a crisp 55 degree, clear morning. The moon was shining brightly, the stars were just gorgeous and the ground was not too wet.

As we walked along I was thinking of a ton of little things that I could be thankful for today. Here's a short list:

1. We both have jobs to go to this morning.
2. Our power was restored yesterday afternoon.
3. We didn't lose any of the food that we have stored in our fridge and freezer- except maybe the milk- I haven't applied the sniff test yet.
4. Josh finally has a job and has made it through the training.
5. We have another low key weekend planned. Mom and dad are going away to Eden, so we are staying home hoping to maybe hit the fleas and possibly go to Bark in the Park- if we feel like it.

SO this morning starts with a smile. :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008


SO much to be thankful for. No damage to our house, none to Mom and Dad's, managable to Aunt Karen's. Everyone is safe and sound. Thanks, thanks, thanks to Mother Nature for sparing us and for keeping us safe and sound.

I did learn something today. I really need to work on maintaining the gratitude attitude and letting go of the aggravation. I had a tough, tough day with that. I am not even going to type it because I know that if I do, I will get aggravated again and I would rather just let it go.

I am truely a work in progress.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dogs in general, mine in particular

I love my dog. I admit it, I am head over heels for her.

Harley is one of the best things in my life. She is always there just waiting for me to come home. She is very low key and mellow, but when I wake up in the morning and come down the stairs, or when I come home after a long day at work, there she is; tail wagging, bringing me toys or treats or whatever is handy to greet me. Her sheer joy is infectious and lifts whatever exhaustion or stress that I have off my shoulders and bringing a smile to my face. When I join her and drop everything to get down on the floor for some loves, she knows that I am there for HER and her alone. She has a personality that just won't quit and I just can't help but smile just thinking of her.

Another side benefit- walking. Only for her would I drag my butt out of bed every morning at 5 and hit the pavement. Most days it is only for 20 minutes (with another 20 just before bed) but on weekends at home we sometimes double up. Now- it is not super strenuous but it is more movement than I would get left to my own devices-lol. We walk, I talk and before I know it I have gotten some exercise.

She also forces me to stop and enjoy the little things. She is a dog and dogs stop and sniff. While she is doing that I actually look around. No more of the "keep your head down and keep moving" thing. I am so much more aware of my surroundings when she is by my side.

Let's hear it for our dogs!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why Gratitude? Why now?

It's very easy to get caught up in what is "wrong" in your life. Focusing on the bad things not only allows us to wallow in our own misery but it also invites everyone we come in contact with to a giant pity party. Physically, it drags us down as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders. It causes tension headaches, TMJ disorders, ulcers, and various other physical manifestations.

Have you ever spent a fair amount of time around someone who is always down? It is not a pleasant experience. You either spend all of your time taking in their stuff until you are down with them- or you expend all of your energy trying to raise their spirits. They are energy vampires and you are their prey! I don't want to BE that vampire! I want to learn to let things go more quickly and to focus on the positive. I want to radiate inner peace. To do that- I need to focus on what is great in my life, not take the little things and blow them up into all consuming issues.

And so- my gratitude journal. It is a journey- I know that. Even if I focus on the famous 5 (health, home, family, work, play) for a while, it is all about teaching myself to look inward for the great things.

Inner peace- here we come.

Today I am grateful for Lazy Saturdays. Be they here at home, or hanging out with Mom and Dad it is wonderful to be able to just stop for a few minutes and get off the merry-go-round. To sit and sip a cup of piping hot coffee and savor the mix of the bitterness of the bean and the smoothness of the half and half is a joy to the senses. You hear the coffee perk, smell the aroma, feel the heat and then taste the combination. It just brings a smile to a sleepy morning. Lazy Saturdays also allow for hanging in the PJs (and who doesn't love jammie time- honestly!) and catching up on the dvr. It means snuggling up with Harley watching a movie and munching on some home cooked popcorn. It means wandering outside to feel the grass between my toes. It means curling up with a good book- or even a bad book (lol)- and escaping to another place. It means forgoing the "musts" and only doing those things you really feel like doing.

Celebrate Lazy Saturdays! They just don't come often enough and should be recognized and savored when they do.

Thank You for my Lazy Saturday!