Tag Archives: friendship

Boxes, Bins and Flowers

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One week from today I’ll be living in another city.  I’m up to the task of moving and the adventure that comes along with it.

The Moving Tower of St Louis

The Moving Tower of St. Louis

This week I had a semi-surprise goodbye party hosted by The Ten-Thirty Singers, a church music group I’ve been singing with for over 25 years.  Today I enjoyed a goodbye lunch with some great gal-pals … the PMS Girls (which stands for Peggy, Pam, Mary Anne and Sue).  Nothing like a 3 hour lunch on a Saturday to motivate you to take an afternoon nap.  I’ve been toasted, gifted, regaled with flowers and hugged to the max!

Next week I am hosting several packing parties at my place.  Amazing the things some people will do for a free lunch.

Boxes and bins are my new best friends.  I’ve acquired quite the selection of plastic bins with locking handles.  I even went so far as to delegate colors for certain rooms.  The pink ones are storage, blue for my bedroom, green handles for dining room, and purple handles for linens.  They stack and won’t fall apart.  They will never end up in a landfill because I like them too much, so in a way, I’m “going green” … or pink or blue.  I never thought I’d be one of those people who color coded anything.  I used to laugh at them.  Now I’ve become one of them.

At first I was strolling down memory lane while sorting all my worldly goods.   I was getting nothing accomplished.  Now I am ruthless about what stays or goes.  Goodwill has been happy to see me recently.  What I don’t keep is going to charity.  I have no patience for selling stuff on Craig’s List.

Surviving a move when you have lupus or any chronic illness is a tricky little game to master.  So to keep sane I work in small increments of time, sandwiched with a bit of  rest, like writing this post.    I try not to do more than 5 hours of work a day.  Hopefully, my joints will not protest and my vascular problems will remain quiet.   You won’t seem me outside much on Moving Day.  It will be hotter than hell and I will have the assistance of my son and a couple of his strong high school buddies doing all the lifting and shoving.  Having physical limitations can come with some benefits, such as help from others and I have no problems letting people move heavy stuff.

I did have a bit of a situation while cleaning last week.  I kept smelling something yucky in the living room.  At first I thought it was food or cat barf but the smell wasn’t constant.  Then I thought that maybe it was ME, as I was sweating up a storm and was possibly stinking up the house.  Finally, I decided to move the furniture around to look for the source of the by now, rancid smell.  So under the couch I found the source of the problem.  A dead bird.

Natural born killers?  Not so much.

Natural born killers? Not so much.

I immediately grabbed some paper towels, threw it out, and fumigated my house. Then I started wondering just where in the hell did it come from?  I mean really, how did it get inside my house?  Did the cats kill it?  If they did, why didn’t they eat the damn thing?  That’s what cats are supposed to do.

My only concern with the cats at this point is the 2 hour drive to another city.  They are not fans of cat carriers and car rides.  I’m expecting them to howl and shed all the way to Cape.  Who knows what will happen when we arrive at our new home.  Stay tuned.

I’ve moved a total of nine times in my life, most of them as a single mom.  By my standards, that’s a lot of moving, but I know people who have moved a lot more than that.  Moving sucks, but on the other hand, if I lived in one place all these years I would have accumulated too much stuff.  At least moving forces me to clean up and throw out. And by now, I’ve learned a thing or two.

One, get yourself some bins and forget the boxes.

Two, if you must use boxes, go for the paper boxes with lids. 

Three, don’t pack everything too soon, or you’ll be digging through your kitchen stuff to make dinner, like I’m doing tonight. 

Four, hang on to wrapping paper … my friend MaryAnne gave me 5 enormous bags of white paper left over from her move a couple years ago.  What a lifesaver! 

Five, and this is the most important, let people help you.

When the dust settles, I’ll start blogging again and fill you in on the details of my great adventure.

The Farmville Life

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I’ve been busy building a plantation in Farmville.  It’s a Facebook application that I told myself I wouldn’t get involved with because I’m a very, very busy person who has absolutely no time for such nonsense.  That was two weeks ago.

I am now the owner of  TWO houses, a collection of animals, trees, crops, a barn, farming equipment, a lake, flowers, a groundhog, a dairy, a golden troll, various topiaries, and heaven only knows what else.  And I’m just a BEGINNER.  The object of this game (at least I think there’s an object here somewhere) is to grow crops, fertilize your neighbor’s farms, give them presents, and earn money to grow more crops, buy buildings and animals, and expand your farm.  You can win ribbons and magic eggs!  It’s a never-ending cycle.

In order to play Farmville, you  need neighbors.  Lots of neighbors.  I have friends who were already playing this game, so I started off with a few.  But if you want to get anywhere, you find more Farmville friends.  So you go hunting for neighbors.  It’s like a dating referral service … sort of.  Now I have neighbors from all over the world.  But I can always use more.

Honestly, I don’t know how I was swept up into this virtual universe, but here I am.  Checking to see when I can harvest my tomatoes or pumpkins.  Collecting  eggs in the chicken coop.

Before you go dissing this insipid pastime, think about this.  Over the weekend, my sister was snowed in with 10 inches of the white stuff.  Her city was hit hard and nobody was plowing, shoveling or digging.  My sister’s kids, neighbors, and friends were not available to shovel her driveway, clean off her car, etc.  She was stuck.  And she had plans to go out of town to celebrate our brother’s 50th birthday.  Obviously, she couldn’t go anywhere.  HOWEVER …. I have a friend on Farmville, who is also a real-life friend and lives a couple miles from my sister.  We were chatting on-line about our farms Saturday morning when she mentioned that her driveway just got plowed.  I told her about my sister’s unfortunate situation and the next thing I know, My FARMVILLE NEIGHBOR sends her snowplow guys over to my sister’s house!  See how wonderful Farmville is?  Sort of?

If nothing else, it’s an eternity away from dealing with lupus and medication.  For me, that’s a good thing.

So far, I’m keeping up with household chores, paying bills, and running errands.  I haven’t totally lost my mind in Farmville … yet.

And if you want to be my neighbor, let me know.

Perpetuate the Happy

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The other day I received this nice award from S. Le at I Feel Unusual.  Many thanks, sweetie for the award and your great blog that is so much fun to read!

So, in order to perpetuate the happy, I’m following the rules attached to receiving this award.  The rules are …

1.     List 5 things that make you happy.

2.    Try to do at least one thing on the list today.

3.    List 5 bloggers who brighten your day.  Pass it on to five friends.  (Let them know they received the award by a comment or email.)

4.    Those of you to whom I give this award are to link back to my blog and perpetuate the happy with your own list and recipients and whatnot.

Okey dokey?

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Five things that make me happy:

1.    Singing when my voice cooperates

2.    Gardening

3.    Charlie and Tigger, my  BFFs  (best furry friends)

4.    Family and friends dear to my heart

5.    Photography.  Most of the photos on this blog are pics I’ve taken

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Five blogs I really enjoy that perhaps other people haven’t discovered yet … in no particular order:

1.    The Letter T

2.    Functional Shmunctional

3.    On The Curb

4.    The Singing Patient

5.   Smoke and Mirrors

Thanks to all who take the time to read and write!

Julian Lennon’s “Lucy” and lupus

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Julian Lennon's "Lucy in the sky with diamonds"

Julian Lennon and Lucy Vodden were childhood friends.  Contrary to the myth that John Lennon’s song, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, was all about drugs and LSD, it was actually based on a watercolor painting by his young son.  Julian had given the painting to his father, and told him it was a picture of his friend Lucy, who was in the sky with diamonds.

On December 15, Julian Lennon will release a single inspired by Lucy Vodden, his childhood friend, who recently passed away after a long battle with lupus.  He had reconnected with her about two years ago and this song pays tribute to her life and their friendship.  Proceeds from purchases of the single entitled “Lucy” will be available at iTunes from December 15 to January 1, and equally shared by the St. Thomas’ Lupus Trust and the Lupus Foundation of America.

Julian was 4 years old when he made the now famous picture for his father.  He recently remarked that Lucy will “always be a diamond in my sky.”  Lucy always said that the least important thing about her was the connection to the Beatles song but never missed the opportunity to use it if she thought could gain publicity for this fantastic charity which supported her.

Well done, Julian.  Thank you for your artistry, your insight and your generosity.

The December Rush

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I hate Christmas shopping. Don’t get me wrong. I honestly like the Christmas season and look forward to spending time with family and friends. However, being in a crowded store with maniac shoppers is enough to throw me into a crazy lupus flare. And yet, somehow I found myself in one of the big box stores the day after Thanksgiving, with my son, looking at flat screen televisions. And the stupid thing about that was knowing he wasn’t going to buy anything. However, the other nine million people in the store were going nuts with their credit cards. I hope their retail therapy experience made them happy, bless their hearts.

Nothing is worth standing in line outside, in the dark.

Yeah, let's all stand in line outside and wait for the store to open!

The December Rush is upon us.

Black Friday.

Cyber Monday.

Panic shopping at the last minute for gifts we weren’t going to buy but now feel we must.

Some of us (not me) are compelled to bake enough cookies to feed a small country.

Are you suffering from the symptoms of The December Rush? If so keep reading, because during this time of the year, I’m all about slapping some common sense into your head in BEFORE you get carried away.

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#1 Do you really want to stand in line to buy stuff? Of course you don’t! Standing in line only makes you more tired. Pay somebody 5 bucks to shop for you. It’s worth it. Better yet, shop on line.

#2 Does old Aunt Myrtle really need your homemade peanut brittle? Not if she wants to keep her teeth. Buy her something soft … like warm, fuzzy socks … from the drug store, where the checkout lines are short.

#3 Don’t be afraid to give people The Gift of Disappointment. It’s free and they will get over it.

#4 You know what else is free? Driving around and looking at Christmas lights. It’s fun and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that YOUR electric bill won’t be as high as the guy whose house looks like it’s on fire.

#5 Wash your hands. Sleep 8 hours a night. Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to get sick when you’re stressed out and heaven knows you don’t have time to be sick in December.

#6 Try to not get sucked into the vortex of buying a Lexus with a big bow on it. Or a puppy with a big bow on it. Who does that? Really?

#7 Wine is a good thing. Not to be confused with whine, which is terribly overrated.

#8 Sing Christmas songs. And if you can’t sing well, sing anyway. Singing lowers your blood pressure.

#9 Remember that you are not perfect, the world is not perfect, your family and friends are not perfect, and there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.

10. If you think you’re going to lose your mind over the holiday pressure, go right ahead. Everybody is entitled to a meltdown now and then.

#11 December lasts only 31 days. Eventually spring will come, which is what I really look forward to enjoying.

happy birthday to me

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LupusRanting Turns 1 This Month

LupusRanting Turns 1 This Month

A year ago this month LupusRanting was born into the blogosphere.  It’s been a wonderful first year.

Like many people who have blogs, I love to write.  Next to singing, it’s one of my top passions in life.  I was completely flabergasted when folks began to stop by and comment on my posts.  Thank you for taking the time to read and write me.  You make my day!   For those of you who have added me to your blogroll … it has been an honor!

If I knew how to make badges, I’d present them to a number of my fellow bloggers who have always taken the time to be supportive and write words of encouragement and just crazy nice stuff.  Here’s to (in no particular order) Teeni, Pamajama, Speedcat, TGFTG, Joan,  Allison and Trisha … just to name a few. You never fail to make me laugh!

To all the spammers who never get through Askimet, just give it up.  You are so locked out!

To my family and friends … notably Lisa and Judy … you are the peanut butter to my jelly.  Thanks for always being there, in the real world and in my blog world too!

For all of my fellow lupies who stop by and visit this site, know that your stories and courage inspire me to keep writing about how to cope and live well with autoimmune disease.  Stay strong and keep fighting!

Enough said.
Where’s the cake???

The Spoon Theory

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I need service for 18-20

I need service for 18-20

If you have not read Christine Miserandino’s story, The Spoon Theory, you’re missing out on a wonderful analogy about what it’s like to live with sickness or disability.  Take a minute and click on the link above to read.  I guarantee that even if you don’t personally relate to this story, you probably know someone who does.  It’s worth passing on.

As the story goes, a young woman with lupus has lunch with a good friend who asks what it feels like, not physically, but to live with lupus?   To answer as best she can, the author grabs 12 spoons to illustrate how the limitations of her illness force her to make difficult and challenging choices every day.  You see, healthy people don’t necessarily need to consciously make decisions about daily minutiae.  However, sick people do. The friend with lupus uses the spoons as tangible examples of the daily limit of choices she’s stuck with.

Now for the reality check.

If I use 12 spoons a day  as the author does, I’m totally screwed.  I tried to break down my own personal spoon usage and this is what I came up with for a typical day in the life of Me – Little Miss LupusRanting.  Each number represents one spoon, except for work (work gets 2 spoons).

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1.     Get up out of bed, (assuming I had the recommended 8-10 hours sleep which should be mandatory for anyone that has lupus) and take medicine on the nightstand.  (If I get less than 8 hours sleep, deduct 1 spoon.)

2.     Take a shower.

3.     Get dressed (including shoes).

4.     Dry hair and put on makeup.

5.     Breakfast.

6.     Feed the cats.

7.     Drive to work.

8.     Work an 8 hour day (at least).

9.      Drive home.

10.   Fix dinner.

11.    Feed cats (again).

12.    Clean up dinner mess.

13.    Kitty Litter cleanup.

14.    Take trash (including kitty litter) to dumpster outside.

Notice that I’m not even close to accomplishing the stuff listed below and I’m already over the 12-spoon limit.  I’m in deep doo-doo with Spoon-Theory Noncompliance.

What do you mean, I've run out of Spoons???

What??? No more Spoons???

15.     Gather one basket of laundry (clothes, sheets, towels, whites, darks, etc) and schlep downstairs to wash.

16.     Relax (read a book, watch tv, play on computer).  One spoon each.

17.     Go downstairs and move laundry load to dryer.

woman carrying clothes

18.     Unload laundry, take upstairs, sort and put away.

19.     Get ready for bed (wash face, brush teeth).

20.     Before bedtime, make a grocery list and “to do” list for the week.

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This list barely covers the basics.  There’s much more to be done, perhaps not in a single day, but necessary, such as:

21.     Grocery shopping.

22.     Bi-monthly pilgrimages to the pharmacy.

23.     Doctor appointments.

24.     Writing (blogging).

Ya'll think 3-4 spoons for this one?

Ya'll think 3-4 spoons for this one?

25.     Facebook(ing)

26.      Exercising (including just walking)

27.     Vacuuming.

28.      Shopping, like at Target or Lowes.

29.      Gardening, weather permitting.

30.      Singing (2 spoons if playing guitar).

31.       Painting (acrylics).

Dude ... Where's my spoons??

Dude ... Where's my spoons??

32.      Paying bills.

33.      Manicure/pedicure.

34.      Hair appointment.

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Okay, the 12 Spoon A Day Analogy doesn’t necessarily mean a person can have only 12 a day.  How about increasing the magic number to 18?

I got a fever.  And the only prescription is MORE SPOONS!

I got a fever. And the only prescription is MORE SPOONS!

I need more.   Yeah,  I’m so totally screwed.  But I can adapt.  Actually, anybody that lives with a chronic illness gets pretty good at adjusting and adapting.

If you’ve been kind enough to read my posts, you’ll notice a range of topics.  Sometimes silly, sometimes scary, I enjoy writing about whatever is uppermost on my mind.  Of course, lupus is at the center of it all.  And living with a limited number of spoons is my daily challenge.

Sometimes I think that if I can just hang in there until the weekend … until Saturday morning and Sunday morning, I’ll have time to gather the strength for the next week.  I can sleep in, reclaim those mornings at my leisure and indulge in something, anything, that isn’t taxing or difficult.  Now, more than ever, it’s important to  relax not only my body but my mind.   If I take on household chores on Saturday, followed by a trip to the grocery store and dinner with a friend followed by a movie, I know with absolute certainty that I’ll have a devil of a time trying to get out of bed on Sunday morning.  I’ll not be able to walk without pain.  I’ll not have access to spoons until later in the afternoon.  If I work on Monday from 7:30 am until 6:00 pm, there will be no spoons left to go to the grocery store on my way home.  I can safely enjoy one or two nights a week with friends or family (even better if they come to my house), but inevitably, the laundry won’t get done or the floors will not get cleaned.  Newton’s third law of motion said it best.  “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Aside from being brilliant, I wonder if he too had lupus?  🙂  Nah.  Probably not.

In the Spoon Theory story, the author always sets one spoon aside.  I try to hold on to one or two, just in case.  So if you get one of mine, consider yourself very, very lucky.  And if you feel guilty about getting my last spoon of the day, help yourself to the bath towels that need to be folded and put away.  Take out the trash.  It’s all good!     🙂