Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category


Let’s Have a Great 2008!

December 29, 2007

926629_2008_with_balloons_2.jpgAnother year is starting and I can only hope that things start getting better.

Not that things have been terrible, but they have been far from great or even good. They have been ‘okay.’

We started 2007 with both my husband, Chris, and my cat, Audrey, being diagnosed with cancer. Both of them had surgery to remove the tumor. Chris’s surgery was successful. Audrey’s was not.

After Chris had his surgery he had a very painful and long recovery period. In fact, his incision still hurts to this day.

During all of this, the Audrey’s tumors began to reappear, even worse than before. We had decided not to put her through surgery again and on June 28th we had to put her to sleep. She had been my pet for 15 years – almost half of my life – and I still cry if I think about her too much (like right now, for instance.)


Then we found out that Chris has severe sleep apnea – so severe that his bi-pap machine has been designated a ‘life support system.’ The diagnosis was actually a good thing as getting the machine has helped take care of a few problems such as his high blood pressure and constant sleepiness. However, it’s just one more thing we have to deal with and will have to deal with for the rest of our lives.

853448_piggy_bank_3.jpgMoney has been even tighter because of all of the new bills and we didn’t have enough before. Chris is in even worse shape now due to the surgery, the sciatica he developed while recovering from the surgery and his ever-mystifying ‘IBS’ problems – which is not IBS but the doctors can not identify what it actually is. Therefore, a regular day job is just not feasible for him.

927052_usb_cable.jpgOn the plus side, I am still in the IT department at my workplace after a year. I still feel rather ignorant but no one has suggested kicking me out of the department (to my knowledge, anyways.) Our medical insurance is pretty good and I did just get a raise.

As for 2008, I’ll still be at my job and Chris has several things being published. A few comic book series, a couple of graphic novels and probably more prose anthologies.

I’m hoping to finish one of the two of my novels that are almost done and submit them for publication. If they’re not ‘bought’ I’ll publish them myself and see if I can sell them on my own.

renee-oconnor-01.jpgChris and I are both determined to get in better shape this year meaning that we have to both excercise and eat better. We’re turning our game room into a mini-gym with an excercise bike and a Nordic Track. I would say I hope we stick with it, but I’m not going to. I’m going to say that we are going to stick with it, period. I may never look like Renee O’Connor over there to your left, but I’d like to get as close as possible.

chinafall.jpgzoepeek.jpgWe have already made some changes in the pet’s diets. We adopted a new kitty in August – Zoe. Both she and China (the dog) have been put on higher quality foods and the difference in China has been very evident. She’s trimmed down to her perfect weight, she has more energy and she seems to be in better spirits overall. All of you out there who think ‘pet food is pet food’ take it from me – pet food is just like human food – some of it is great but most of it is crap. For more information on pet food, go HERE.

I decided to make resolutions this year. I usually do but I never really take it seriously. After the past few years I’ve decided to change that and try to make some major changes in our lives. I don’t expect it to be an overnight success but something has to change. I’m tired of being tired and the depression is starting to really sink in. So, here they are:

  • Get in Shape
  • Help Chris get in shape
  • Take better care of our car
  • Eat better
  • Be less wasteful – compost everything possible, recycle, etc.
  • Work on getting out of debt
  • Stick to a budget
  • Help Chris stick to the budget
  • Finish at least one novel and submit it for publication
  • Update my websites on a more regular basis, including my fan site, personal site, and pet blog
  • Help Chris keep his websites up to date
  • Re-join the community band and stick with it
  • Practice my clarinet at least twice a week
  • Watch less television
  • Make a cleaning schedule and stick to it so that I’m not spending all weekend cleaning the house
  • Go to bed at 10:00 every work night
  • Be a better gardener – weeds, bugs, pruning, etc.
  • Finish household projects such as painting the garage trim, adding more smoke detectors, etc.

So, you think that’s enough? I might have time to take a breath on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. Hee hee hee.

And hey, even if 2008 isn’t as great as I would like it to be, at least Bush will be (should be) leaving office and taking Cheney with him. Rock on!


Made me smile…

June 28, 2007

Today has been a very, very bad day. (See HERE for details. I can’t write it out again)

But this actually made me smile.



No Sir, I don’t like it

June 25, 2007

I don’t like this. My husband just left for his sleep study and I’m suddenly feeling very lonely. I haven’t spent a night without him at least in the house for three years and I already miss him. I don’t think he believes that – maybe he thinks I’m having a party with the cat and dog – but I do.

Thinking about it, this is the first time I’ve slept without another human in the house in seven years. Yikes. It used to not bother me at all. I used to like living on my own. I don’t think I would anymore.


100 Books

May 27, 2007

Books I’ve read are in bold. Got this list from Doug.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) listened to
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)high school assignment
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

I can’t believe I’ve never read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ It’s been on my ‘to read’ list for years and I still haven’t done it.


Headaches suck

May 22, 2007

Had a really bad day today. I thought I had figured out what was causing my headaches. I hadn’t had one in over two weeks which was getting pretty good for me.

Guess I was wrong. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. this morning with a really bad one. And my dreams before I woke up were full of me fighting a migraine, so who knows how long I actually had it. Come to think of it, I had a ‘normal’ headache when I went to sleep last night.

I took the migraine medication that worked so well last time. At 6:45 it was even worse so I had to call in sick. I hate calling in sick because of a migraine. For one thing, I’m always paranoid my co-workers will think I’m lying just to get a lie-in and while I admit I would rather be sick than go to work sometimes, it hasn’t been the case for a while. Glad I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Maybe she can give me something else to try.


Long silence

April 11, 2007

I’ve been quiet for a while. For anyone reading this…sorry about that.

The past 6 months have been rather rough. Around Thanksgiving we found out that Chris had a growth on his right kidney. In December they realized it was a tumor and on New Year’s Eve we were told it was cancer.

Happy New Year!

So, at the beginning of February, Chris had his kidney removed. The surgery went very well and the doctor said that the cancer was localized to the kidney, had not spread and the surgery had removed it completely.


But the hospital stay almost killed him. (Yes, I’m being a little dramatic, but not by all that much.) Pain killers have never had much effect on Chris so most of the hospital staff thought he was just being a pain in the ass. He can be – believe me – but that’s not what he was doing that week he was there. 8 out of 10 nurses were utter bitches and very unwilling to him him whatsoever. I ended up doing some of their work for them.

Once we finally got home, recovery time was still slow. They couldn’t do the surgery laproscopically, meaning he had a foot long cut on his side.

When that finally started to feel better, he developed sciatica. He could barely move for two weeks. He’s much better now, but he’s still not back to normal – whatever that is. It’s been so long I think we’ve both forgotten.

So, you can see why I haven’t had much time or inclination to blog. It’s been a very dreary winter and I think that is the biggest reason I’m so eager for Spring to get here. And of course, this is the year that winter is hanging on and on and on. It’s April 11 and we still have snow out there and more on it’s way tomorrow.

And no – this is not proof that Global Warming is a myth. The term ‘Global Warming’ is the wrong term for what’s going on and I think everyone knows that by now – anyone with half a brain, anyway. The better term is ‘climate change.’ It took forever for winter to get to Maine – now it’s just taking its sweet time getting the hell out.


Halloween, Thanksgiving and more

November 19, 2006

Well, Halloween has come and gone. For our anniversary we went up to the in-laws camp and stayed there for four days. We didn’t see another living soul, we watched movies, read books, kept a nice fire going and despite the terrible weather, we didn’t lose power once. It was a nice vacation – something we’ve had trouble having. The only thing that marred the long weekend was the fact that China got so homesick. We can’t figure out what she was missing, but she wanted to go home from day one.

Thanksgiving is this week and despite the fact that I have to work half a day on Friday (why in the world does a lumber company think it has to be open the day after Thanksgiving? If I remember correctly from last year, it’s not exactly the first place people stop at for their Christmas shopping) it’ll be nice to have the long weekend. I’m making the turkey for Thanksgiving and I’m going to try to make a pumpkin pie from scratch – yes, using a real pumpkin (assuming there are any pie pumpkins left at the supermarket tomorrow night). I’m going to buy canned pumpkin as well, in case I screw it up, but I want to try it.

Healthwise, things are so so. I’ve gone two weeks without missing any work, so that’s a good thing. I’m still having headaches, but that could just be from the dry air.

My spirits have been uplifted somewhat by the election results. I don’t really have any more faith in the american public than I did before, but there’s only so much screwing over that people will take. I’m sure that in two years, the right-wing nutjobs of the general public will be back out in force and the Presidential race is going to be nasty and possibly rigged – again. Hopefully, the new electees will do a good enough job so that those out there who want a theocracy will be somewhat ignored.

I can only hope.


What a lousy week

October 14, 2006

Last Monday afternoon, I got a stomach ache. I couldn’t really fathom why, I had had a relatively healthy lunch. But I’m not exactly a bastion of health so I didn’t think much about it. An hour later, I was telling my supervisor I needed to go home.

Thirty minutes later I was in the emergency room, crying from the pain in my lower right abdomen. I was convinced my appendix had burst.

It turned out to be another damn kidney stone (my husband and I apparently have matching sets – more on that later) but for the 20 minute ride to the emergency room in Augusta, I was honestly afraid I was dying. I was afraid I had waited too long to have Chris take me to the hospital. I was fighting not to pass out because I was afraid I would never wake up again.

I’ve never been the most cheerful person around and I was glad to find that when I believed I might be dying (yes, a gross over-reaction, but I believed it at the time) I found that I honestly did not want to die. My first thought was that I did not want to leave Chris alone. My second thought was that I wanted to be there to see what happened next, no matter how mundane it might be.

It took 2 hours for the doctor to see me at the ER. I chose a bad day to have a kidney stone – it was Columbus Day AND it was a full moon. I had a cat scan done and lo and behold, another freakin’ kidney stone. Just hope the insurance covers the cat scan – it might be one of those procedures I’m supposed to call and ‘ask permission’ about. Insurance – they seem more and more like protection rackets every day.

After seeing my doctor on Friday I found out that the kidney stone wasn’t alone. I have a tiny one in my right kidney and another one in my left kidney. Just waiting. Assholes. (Chris also has one in one of his kidneys just waiting. Jerk.)

Oh, and bonus! I have an ovarian cyst and another condition I don’t feel like airing to the world, but that normally only inflicts women in their 50’s or 60’s. Bugger!

The worst thing, though, was that the kidney stone that started all the trouble last Monday took 4 days to get through my system. I went in to work on Thursday morning, but by noon I was in pain yet again so I had to go back home and zonk out on percocet. That stuff works great!

So, more changes are needed. I’ve been cutting back on caffeine but I’m cutting back even more. No more soda except on D&D days and only one. I’ll still drink coffee, but not everyday. I’m already drinking a lot more water and I find the more I drink it, the more I crave it so that’s a big help. I’m also trying to eat more vegetables, more fiber and less nuts and popcorn.

Giving up popcorn is never going to happen but even cutting back is going to be painful. *pout*

At least no one has told me I can never eat cheese again. If they ever tell me that I’ll just stick my fingers in my ears and start yelling ‘I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!’

On the upside of everything, Autumn peaked in this area these past two week and I got some good pictures. I wanted to go to Camden for some peak pictures but never made it there. Oh well. There’s always next year.

I’ll leave you with a few samples of the views in Maine this past month (click to enlarge):

100_2448.JPG 100_2504.JPG 100_25762.JPG 100_2543.JPG


Night on the town…

September 30, 2006

Last night we went to Portland just to get away for a bit. It’s only an hour away, but it feels like a different world. There are things to do and places to go in Portland. Here in Belgrade, you have to make your own entertainment.

Sometimes, I miss living in a more metropolitan area, but not often. I had fun last night, but after a few hours I began to get nervous. Too  many people, bad driving, badly laid out streets. (The downtown area is beautiful, but not always logical in it’s layout.) I was glad to get home and relax.

Don’t get me wrong, Portland is a great place to visit. I look forward to finally being able to take a long walk around the downtown area. Several factors keep us from doing this right now, mainly health issues but we’re working on that. Also, the few times we’ve gone to Portland just to walk around, it has always started raining.

In many ways, Maine lives up to its motto ‘a great place to live.’ It’s a place where you can be seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, but after only an hour’s drive be in a heavy populated place with plenty of activities and excitement.




September 4, 2006

kevin_sorbo-hercules_008.jpgThe camping trip didn’t happen.

Before I made reservations for the campsite, I did some research. You see, the only requirement that I have of a campsite is privacy.

I read several websites that said the Peaks-Kenny campgrounds were quiet, private, peaceful.


I suppose if you normally go to those campgrounds that have no trees and are basically a driveway with a small stretch of grass, sure, Peaks-Kenny is private, but it is not private in my book. The sites were nearly on top of each other, sometimes with no tress between them and ours was right next to the bathroom area. The path to the bathroom area was right behind our site and there were absolutely no trees between it and us, just a small ditch of mud.

I tried to give it a chance but five minutes after we were there, a kid walked right through our site without asking so he could play on the big rocks behind us. He was part of a group of 50 kids across the way. Okay, there weren’t 50, but there were 5 in one group and they were all screaming.

Down the way, someone had brought a frickin’ baby camping. A baby! Taking kids camping is one thing – if done right it can teach them that life isn’t all video games and television – but bringing a baby camping serves no purpose but to annoy those around them when they start screaming – and they always do.

China was excited by what was going on, but when China’s excited she becomes anxious and starts whining incessantly, which is what she did.

So, 10 minutes after we pulled in, we pulled out.

It was hard not to cry because we’ve been planning for this trip for two months, putting all our camping equipment in the corner of the kitchen so as to make us even more excited for the trip when it came. We haven’t even unpacked yet because it depressed us so badly, especially me.

Work has been better, in general, but lately I’ve been feeling very stressed by it. I don’t have the assertiveness to deal with the people who use the machines I’m working on and it’s making me dread going to work everyday again. I don’t like that and it’s making me very tired and sad. I don’t want to go back to scanning documents, but I don’t know if I can keep doing this, either.

The trip was supposed to help me decompress. The last time we went camping, it relaxed me a great deal. I didn’t get that this weekend – the phone ringing, the normal stuff you have to do when at home, etc. I don’t really feel like I’ve been relaxed at all this weekend. And here it is, Monday, and tomorrow I have to go back to work and I have that terrible knot in my throat again.

Hopefully it’ll get better. If not, hopefully I’ll gather the gumption to go talk to my supervisor to see what can be done about my problem areas because after all this time, I don’t think it’s going to get any better. I’m 34 years old and I’m frankly tired of people telling me to ‘get over’ my shyness and ‘just be myself.’ People, it doesn’t work and I don’t want to have to take drugs all of my life to deal with it either. There has got to be something I can do to earn a living that doesn’t require me to deal with strangers everyday. Every once in a while, I can handle, but everyday – it just wears me down.

Eh, I hate making negative posts. Too bad I’m so good at it. 😉

If you’re wondering about the picture that’s posted above, you obviously didn’t watch Hercules: The Legendary Journies. Don’t worry, it’s relevant to the post but you don’t need to know why to enjoy the picture. 🙂