Friday, June 24, 2011


Seems like Medicaid has granted us an extension until the end of September.  Not only does this buy us more time with current treatments, but it will give me a while to make new arrangements with my job. 

I just had my last OT (for now) for my trigger finger:  6 in all.  I see the hand doctor again a week from today, and then I'll see if I need more OT.  I like my OT guy a lot; he's very sweet and very straightforward.  Caring, too.  I like the new psychiatrist.  After I get my bloodwork done, and if my main doctor OKs it, I'm going back to the GYN to see if I can get that hormone replacement therapy.  My hair is getting thin and my skin is beginning to wrinkle...not to the point where anyone but me notices, but I'd like to keep it that way.  No mas.

Of course, the biggest Medicaid benefit is that Barry is going to get dentures.  His teeth have always been bad, and he's lost and broken quite a few since we met.  The dentist has now pulled all that he needs to pull, and is waiting on approval to start measuring for the dentures.  I'm getting a couple of cavities filled, and have had x-rays and a cleaning, but Medicaid won't cover a bridge or a cap.  at least the missing tooth isn't in front.

I've been helping out with the admissions committee at work -- I help all the committees, but I've worked very closely with admissions.  So they gave me a nice card and a box of Godiva chocolate.  I won't eat it all, but I will eat a few.  I've been excellent about sugar and carbs...and besides, this is work-related .

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

old lady shoes

One of my summer staples has always been a pair of old lady shoes.  I've probably been wearing them for 20 years.  Some sort of white sandals with a small heel or wedge, open toed, no velcro, and a comfy brand.  I used to wear a brand called Penaljo which I think no longer exists (bought them from an old guy with a dusty old shop in the East Village, which almost certainly no longer exists).  Lately, I am very loyal to Propet.  Most of what they make is stuff I would never wear (old man velcro sneakers, for instance), but their old lady sandals are excellent.  They are a comfy brand, meaning well-made and wide, and consistent enough that I can order online and always get a perfect fit.

This is a shoe a mite dressier that my flat sandals, and since my every-day summer wardrobe is a shirt and top, or a dress, and sandals, it's nice to have a pair that's a click nicer.

So there's a shoe store near where I work that is promoting -- "granny sandals"!  They're displaying some German comfy brand I'm not familiar with.  But I guess my old lady sandals are finally in style.

This summer's other sandals:  last year's flat All Rounders (the cheaper line of Mephisto), and a new pair of Birkis (the cheaper line of Birkinstocks), which are lime green with a blue fan print.  The Birkis were a bit of overkill, but they were only $26 and they were so damn cute.

Shoes I never understood:  Dr. Scholl's sandals.  They looked cool, but felt miserable.  The contoured wooden sole was a good idea, but maybe not in wood.  The upper was so stiff that I got painful blisters each and every time I wore them. They never did "break in."  Plus I've never been comfortable wearing backless shoes.

Other shoes I didn't get:  Candee's.  Candees makes a lot of different stuff now, but in the late 70s, Candees meant one thing:  a shoe with a wooden sole and high heel, and a stiff upper.  No back.  Essentially, a Dr. Scholl's on painfully high heels, made worse by the wood and the stiff uppers.  I could not understand how anyone could walk in them.  I bought some and maybe attempted them a couple of times, because they looked really sexy.  But no more.

I guess what I can't understand is why anyone would wear shoes that were really uncomfortable.  There are plenty of other pieces of clothing that look good and are uncomfortable, but shoes are working clothing.  They actually have to do something.  You have to walk on them. and if they hurt, tough, because there's a good chance that you'll have to keep walking on them for an hour, two, more.  Even before I got diabetes and had to be very careful of my feet, I tended to have a small wardrobe of very good shoes, comfortable, usually something European and not cheap.  And some good sneakers.  I like to walk.  I walked for a good 45 minutes on Monday in one of my sandals, I can't remember which, and my feet were fine that day and the next.

This is not to say that I didn't try wearing a lot of fashionable shoes when I was younger.  The main problem is that most women's shoes that don't come in widths are a B, and I'm a D.  (Mmm...two days of reading about things I don't fit into, lucky you!)  I had a pair of the most adorable blue suede short boots that maybe I wore twice because they hurt too much.  Many cute shoes that were unwearable.

The good news is that most good European shoe brands are kind enough to make wider widths, and shoes you can walk in comfortably.  The best brands (Mephisto for sure) are insanely expensive; I'm not sure if they make that lesser line any more.  I've only bought their regular sandals on closeout.  I've always liked Birkinstocks most most of them don't have backstraps.  There used to be a lot more styles with them.  Basically, the cheaper lines have the same footbed and sole, but less fancy uppers.  The All-Rounders do have velcro on the uppers, but you really can't see it.  The difference with the Birkis is that the uppers are artificial, not leather, but they have a lot more styles with backstraps, plus some really wild colors and prints.  Mine are lime green with a pattern of blue fan. 

But the best thing about the good Euro lines is that a size 38 always fits me perfectly.  Their sizes are pretty uniform.  American sizes tend to be difficult; sometimes a 7-1/2 wide fits well, sometimes not.

Am I really writing shit about shoes and lipstick?  How the fuck did I get so girly at 52?


Honestly, I can't make heads nor tales of the "stats" I can access here in Blogger. Are people in Iran actually reading this, or does someone's e-mail account somehow route through there.  Germany?  hello?  Well, I'm glad someone's interested and someone's reading, no matter where you are.  You're welcome to read, welcome to make comments, and welcome to tell your friends.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

big & fashionable, loud and bluesy

I found this to be fairly interesting.  Although my weight fluctuates, I've been a size16 or 18 for some years now.  And I hate the fact that I mostly have to shop online; and absolutely do believe that retailers like The Gap only sell plus-sizes online because they don't want plus-sized women in their stores.  I hate the fact that larger sizes tend to vanish first from places like Old Navy.  I hate looking at catalogues or online, being pleased that they carry "XL," only to find that their idea of "XL" is sizes 2-14.  I am pissed that some companies charge more for sizes over 16 than for the same item in a smaller size.  And I was heartbroken when Liz Claiborne did away with their "Elizabeth" line.  (I believe that Claiborne also did away with a line called First Issue, which included all sizes.)

But here's what else I hate:  the assumption that all plus-sized women are built the same way.  If I see plus-sized women described as "curvy" one more time, I'll barf.  The intimation seems to be that the trade-off for being a larger size is that you have big breasts, and that all plus-sized women have an hourglass shape, only wider.  Uh-uh.  Different women carry their weight differently. 

This is why I've started wearing all of this very loose and forgiving (not to mention artsy), Tienda Ho and Mission Canyon stuff.  It's one-size-fits-all, and although the proportions are occasionally now quite right (plus I did have to get one pair of pants hemmed), it all basically works. 

Barry and I went last night to the jam he likes, a blues jam run by Big Ed Sullivan at the Grisly Pear.  (I may have mentioned developing a short-lived crush on a guy I saw there.)  It's interesting, because he started going maybe a year ago and met a bunch of people that I've known for eons, way longer than I've known Barry.  (And not to put too fine a point on it, there were three of my ex-boyfriends/lovers in attendance last night.)  I do enjoy the music, the new people I'm meeting, and reconnecting with some old friends.  I've particularly enjoyed spending some time with a guy I dated 30 years ago (!), who is very sweet and very sentimental, albeit a touch manic.  It's a good thing Barry likes him, because this guy is very physical, and does a lot of hugging.  Well, actually, he hugs everyone a lot, but I think I'm getting a little extra because it's been quite a while since we spent any time together.  Also, Barry's excellent bud, Felix Cabrera, turned up -- he's not around as much now that he lives on Long Island.  Felix is a real sweetheart, funny as hell, and great onstage (harp and vocals) -- he led the band that Barry had playing at my 50th birthday. 

I don't think Barry ever reads this blog -- I'm not secretive about it, he just doesn't like to read that much.  If I tell you all what I'm planning for his 60th birthday in November, do you promise not to tell him?  I have to think about this a little more, because I don't want to ruin the surprise.

bad shit, Walmart plus Supreme Court version

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I despise Walmart.  Wouldn't spend a dime in one to save my life.  I'm not a huge activist of any kind. but these guys are seriously terrible to their workforce, plus they ruin anywhere they set up shop:  put mom-and-pops out of business, increase the state's Medicaid roles because Walmart's health insurance is way too expensive and their employees are paid too little, and they're notorious for causing environmental damage when they build new stores.  Oh yes, and they underpay women even less then they underpay men.  The Supreme Court seems to think this is OK.  

I know people who shop at Walmart, and when I seem horrified about this, they always cite the big bargains they get.  But Walmart exacts a toll in other ways, but no one wants to hear about it, because they can buy 70 rolls of toilet paper for $1.50.  I wish those people could be a little more responsible.  Everyone seems to know that Sadaam Hussein was a bad guy and Osama Bin Laden was a bad guy, but Walmart is a home-grown bad guy, and its customers seem to turn a blind eye.  I haven't been to a demonstration in years, but if there's one coming up to keep Walmart out of NYC (and those bastards have their eye on Brooklyn), I'm there.

Monday, June 20, 2011


The good news is that the psychiatrist had pretty much the same idea I had, and doubled my dosages of lamotrigine and lorazepam.  The bad news is that the increased dose of lamotrigine is making me dizzy.  This is apparently a normal and not harmful side effect -- I just have to avoid operating heavy machinery.  So I guess I won't be able to drive a huge truck alongside the ice road truckers.  I'll just have to watch them on TV.

We're sort of racing the clock on doctors' appointments -- we recently had to fill out and return a form with our current income for a reassessment of our healthcare benefits.  It was due June 10, so I think we'll be losing Medicaid pretty soon. My boss has promised (in writing) to provide healthcare once I lose Medicaid, but who knows if I'll end up with such an inclusive plan.

I'm still reading the Ruth Reichl book, but coming to the end.  I'm thinking about another non-fiction book afterward, one I haven't read.  I recently download a book about the history of Chinese restaurants and Americanized "Chinese" food in the U.S., so that might be the one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

unwritten theses & well-read books

Why can I only see the "Amazon Associates" widget from my work computer but not my home one?  (Also, all of the annoying ads which will probably never earn me a cent.)  Anyway, I'm adding the most recent book I read.  It's one of the worst-kept secrets in publishing that Joe Hill is Stephen King's son.  And damned if he doesn't have some of the old man's chops!  I don't make any secret of the fact that I adore Stephen King.  His characters are likable if not complex, and his plots are very good, spooky or not. But mostly what I admire about his work is that it chronicles the present-day so beautifully.  He really captures the current culture, in a way that it blends seamlessly into the story.  He doesn't clobber you over the head by saying things like "Susan's favorite show was 'The Real Housewives of Orange County' and she never missed it."  He's a lot more subtle.  (See the thesis I'll never write, "Chronicling Their Times:  Theodor Dreiser and Stephen King."  File that next to the other thesis I'll never write, "One Story, Two Eras:  The Wizard of Oz and The Odyssey.")

Which reminds me: one of my brother's friends had a thesis he was never to write, about how Larry of the Three Stooges was always the one who set up the plot.  The three of them would be walking down the street, and Larry would say, "We need jobs!"  (It was much better with the spot-on imitation of Larry.)

I'm zipping through books like crazy these days, between having the Kindle and two hours of subway reading five days a week.  I have about a thousand books on the Kindle now (don't tell the Amazon folks, but they're largely bootlegged), and another 300 or so saved on my hard drive.  I've been trying to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, and every six books or so I throw in a reread of something I really love.  (Last reread was Geek Love by Katherine Dunn; I'm currently in a reread of Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone.)  Please buy these books.  Granted, Geek Love is kind of weird -- about a family of carnival freaks.  But Tender at the Bone is one of the best foodie books ever, easily as good as Kitchen Confidential. 

Had two dreadful sick days this week: Wednesday, I was getting over a terrible panic attack from Tuesday night -- got lost on buses on the way back from OT, dark, deserted, rainy, no bus shelters, etc.  Kept crying for an hour after I got home.  Thursday morning, my stomach fairly exploded; after something like five unpleasant bathroom visits, I fell back into bed and slept for hours.  Finally managed to eat some cottage cheese around 4, and Barry made tofu and rice for dinner.

In trigger finger news:  during my third session of OT, the therapist told me that the doctor had not simply given me an injection of cortisone -- he had done something called a "percutaneous trigger finger release," which means he basically busted up the part of the sheath that the swollen tendon couldn't fit through.  He basically did the same thing he would have done if I'd had surgery, only he did it through my skin.  That's why I had so damn much pain.  So why did I have to learn this from the OT?  I'm going back to the doctor after I'm done with OT, and I will not be wearing my Happy Hat.  The finger is still achy and bent and swollen.  The OT is lovely and exercises my finger, plus I have daily exercises to do on my own.  Love the OT.  Hate the doctor.  Also hate the bus ride home from the OT (two buses).

We are seeing as many doctors as we can before our Medicaid is cut off.  We'll be getting other insurance, but Medicaid has no co-pays for anything they cover.  We're both seeing a new psychiatrist tomorrow, since our old one takes no insurance, charges $135 per visit, and won't renew our prescriptions unless we see him again.  I think I need a slightly larger dose of lamotrigine (antidepressant) -- I still have big dips for a couple of days every month or two.  I think I also need a bigger dose of lorazepam (anxiety -- more a rescue than a preventative), since bus mix-ups make me weep for hours.

your wish is my command

I received a comment from an anonymous reader who said that s/he enjoyed the blog but found the white-on-black difficult to read.  So it's black-on-white now.  I guess I'm something of a reader-whore.  If I haven't said lately how much I appreciate you all, I really truly do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

lipstick vogue

When the weather got warm, I started wearing fuchsia lipstick.  I bought two shades, one a little darker.  I usually wear something very subtle, a mauve or light wine or something almost natural.  But there was a time when fuchsia was very popular, maybe in the early 80s, when I wore it, and it looked good on me.  It's a lot more extreme than anything I ever wear, but it actually suits me.  Anyway, I like it.

Even though it was a four-day week, it was a bear.  There was a lot to do and to keep under control, and the days went by fast, and the stress level (that I put on myself) was kind of high.  Like I said, they appreciate and respect me a lot there, and I want to make sure I continue to deserve that.

I slept badly last night.  I woke up around 2:20 to pee, and then I couldn't get back to sleep.  I was actually thinking about the novel I'm kinda sorta writing.  It was originally around a woman and two men, one of whom had made three kids' record which she adored as a child, and the other one his peculiar brother.  She meets them and has intense but very different involvements which each in turn.  I kind of have the three personalities down, and I know that the odd brother shows up from the midwest and moves in with his brother.  The original idea was that she gets she gets involved with the kids-records guy and he dies, then she gets involved with the peculiar brother.

But last night, I came up with some details about her involvement with music, movies and books that could end up being more of the focus of the book (the one I'm not sure I'm writing), with the brothers as characters but not central.

What I've written so far, what I thought was the beginning, was a description of the brothers, then a flashback to the woman as a little girl, getting her first record player.  The kids' records are called something like "Weird Records for Weird Little Kids," "More Weird Records for Weird Little Kids," and "Strange Songs for Young'uns."  The idea was that they were kind of hip, mildly subversive albums, kind of a kid version of Tom Lehrer or Lenny Bruce, and that mostly they were given to smart, cool kids of smart parents.  One part that's been there since almost the beginning are her kid names for the three albums:  "The Red Album, The Blue Album, and the Striped-Shirt Album."  So that section would be, or would have been, her attachment to that musician as a kid, and rediscovering him (presumably now playing adult music) twenty years or so later.

It's a shame that I'm thinking about totally changing the format.  This is why I've written a lot of beginnings of novels but not too many middles or ends.  Anyway, I'd hate to throw out what I wrote, because it's pretty good, and I even have a title that I'd have to change if I took the focus off the musicians (who are actually both weird and peculiar).

Of course, another reason that I've never finished a novel is that I tend to write about writing it rather than just writing it.  But even though I've written very little so far, the idea has been rolling around in my head for a while, and keeps growing in ways that surprised me.

I recently reconnected with an old friend after about ten years; we had worked together in the 90s, when I was around my mid-thirties and she was around her early twenties.  I told her that I remembered when her girlfriend broke up with her and she was terribly upset, and came into my office crying, explaining that the "roommate" she always talked about was actually her girlfriend and that they'd just broken up and she was very upset and should she tell Winnie (her other supervisor, besides me, though she did mostly work for Winnie).  She was surprised that I remembered.  How could I have forgotten?  I felt so terrible for her and so moved that she came out to me...and more than a little amused that maybe she thought I hadn't figured it out like two minutes after I met her.  Lipstick, she's not.  But she's smart and funny and talented.  She did invite me to several of her birthday parties, but I felt a mite self-conscious, being both older and straight.  But hey.  Like all of the assumptions and hierarchies in high school, it just kind of slips away when you get older.

The reason I felt moved to get in touch just now is that there a Lucille Roberts (gym) in the building that I work, and her "roommate" used to teach aerobics there.  She was also surprised that I remembered that.  My short-term memory is starting to suck, but my long-term memory is still freakishly good.  I only know that because people are always shocked by what and how much I remember.

School year over means I'll get to see Lily again soon.  She had a terribly difficult and painful semester.  We e-mail pretty often, but I do miss seeing her.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

pleased but busy

Well, the only thing I'm really not pleased about is my trigger finger.  I guess I kind of thought the cortisone shot would just be a little pinprick in my finger (like a flu shot), and everything would be dandy.  But the shot was a big damn shot, the kind that required a shot of lidocaine before the cortisone, and my whole hand was sore for three or four days.  After a few more days, I went to see the doctor again, because I thought the pain was lingering too long.  But apparently that's normal.  He gave me a finger splint which I'm supposed to wear for five minutes every hour (the finger is now somewhat bent), and I have to have four sessions of OT (occupational therapy).  I can finally use the finger without too much pain; I hadn't been able to grasp or pull anything, couldn't really write with a pen, and couldn't use it to type.  But now I can't really close it, and straightening it out hurts.  Trigger finger sucks.

I did recently have a bit of a depressed dip, which happens maybe every couple of months, for a couple of days.  Depression doesn't really get cured, or banished 100%.  It slides a bit.  The meds I'm on now are quite good, except for these occasional breakthroughs -- which I admit are pretty bad.  I'm seeing a new doctor this month, and may see if he thinks the dosage should be upped.

Work is busy; it's just a time of year when fundraising, admissions, end of classes, and registration all get busy.  Teachers and supervisors have to be paid after their evaluations are turned in and recorded; admissions materials have to be copied and checked off and forwarded; contributions have to be logged in (mailing out the fundraising letters was also a huge production); and I have to figure out really fast about the online registration program and how that's going to work with requiring advisors to approve courses.  It's just a lot of stuff, although my bosses don't pressure me and the work environment is still comfortable.  But June and probably July will be busy, though I hope August will be quiet (due to its being the traditional therapists' month off).

We had a fairly fantastic weekend at Jannah's over Memorial Day.  Loved the local parade, as always; Barry had never seen it before.  I'm crazy about the antique fire trucks (one was a Studebaker!).  As always, there were  a lot of people visiting and a large amount of food.  It was so hot I even went in the pool.  And what's better than hanging out with Jannah for a weekend?  I never get that kind of time with any of my other friends.

I love my Kindle make the subway ride work.